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11 tips to avoid toenail fungus: Easy to catch, hard to kill
It's sandal weather, the pool and beach beckon — and that means naked, exposed toes. That thought fills millions of Americans with dread, because they are host to an organism that's ruining the appearance of their nails.
Foot Care Tips to Keep You Moving While on Vacation
February 28th, 2013 | The Tolucan Times
(BPT) – Decongestant, check. Sunscreen, check. Antacids, check. So you’re going on vacation and your bag is well-stocked with remedies for every illness that could possibly derail your good time – from sunburn to an upset stomach. While you’re taking steps to preserve your good health on vacation, don’t overlook the body part that will carry you through all that fun: your feet.
“Foot health is especially important for travelers,” says Dr. Joseph Caporusso, a podiatrist and president of the American Podiatric Medical Association. “If your feet hurt or you sustain an ankle injury, your whole vacation can be ruined. Plus, poor foot health can have a long-term detrimental effect on your overall well-being.”
The approach of warm weather means more Americans will be planning their spring and summer getaways. Before you step out on vacation, APMA offers a few foot health tips for travelers:
On the way
Whether you’re flying or driving to your destination, proper footwear is important. Knowing you’ll have to remove your shoes to pass through airport security screening may tempt you to travel in flip-flops or other footwear that’s easy to slip off. But travelers should not forego safety and support for convenience.
“Flip-flops are never a great walking shoe, and if you have to walk long distances from gate to gate or from your gate to ground transportation, or if you have to hurry, flip-flops could lead to problems,” Caporusso says.
What’s more, flip-flops mean you’ll be barefoot when you step through security – and that can leave your feet exposed to injury from sharp edges, uneven surfaces and germs. If shoes with laces will be too inconvenient for security lines, choose comfortable slip-ons that provide a thick, stable sole. And always wear socks through security.
Drivers also need to be aware of proper footwear on the road. Choose comfortable footwear that minimizes the risk of your foot slipping off a pedal. Never kick off your shoes while driving either; a shoe lodged under the brake pedal could interfere with your ability to stop quickly in an emergency.
On the beach
For many Americans, spring and summer vacations mean time spent on the beach. Whether you’re relaxing in a lounge chair, walking on hot sand or frolicking in the surf, it’s important to protect your feet from the singular risks of beach time.
Since most people wear flip-flops or sandals on the beach, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your feet. Be sure to cover the tops of your feet, the front of your ankles, and even the soles. Limit the amount of walking you do in bare feet; walking in no shoes at all increases your exposure to sunburn, plantar warts, athlete’s foot, ringworm, other infections and even injury. Never walk barefoot in pool areas or locker rooms.
Always pack an extra pair of sneakers or water shoes so that if your shoes get wet you can have a dry pair. Wearing wet shoes for prolonged periods may lead to bacteria or fungal growth.
On the move
Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, injuries happen. Wherever your vacation takes you, it pays to pack a foot care bag so that you’ll be prepared to treat minor problems that can quickly evolve into major vacation setbacks. Your bag should include:
- Sterile bandages for covering minor cuts and scrapes.
- Antibiotic cream to treat minor skin injuries.
- Emollient-enriched moisturizer to keep feet hydrated.
- Blister pads or moleskins to prevent blisters and protect sore feet if blisters do form.
- An anti-inflammatory pain reliever like Motrin or Advil to ease tired, swollen feet.
- Nail clippers.
- Emery board in case of broken nails or rough edges.
- Sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
- Aloe vera or a similar cream to relieve sunburn.
In case of a serious problem, seek the aid of a podiatrist – doctors who are specially trained to diagnose and treat ailments of the feet and lower extremities. You can find a podiatrist in your area by visiting APMA’s website, www.apma.org.
“No one wants to spend their vacation with sore feet – or worse yet, at the doctor’s office,” Caporusso says. “Taking care of your feet while traveling can help ensure your vacation stays on track and the only things you bring home are great memories and souvenirs.”
One of the most imprtant things to remember is that diabetes affects many parts of your body. Foot care is paramount in preventing diabetic complications.
Diabetes & your feet
Diabetes can cause nerve damage (also known as diabetes peripheral neuropathy - DPN) and poor blood flow or circulation to the legs and feet (also known as peripheral arterial disease - PAD). As a result, people with diabetes are less likely to feel a foot injury, such as a blister or cut. Diabetes can make these injuries more difficult to heal. Unnoticed and untreated, even small foot injuries can quickly become infected, potentially leading to serious complications.
Daily foot care
As always, prevention is the best medicine. A good daily foot care routine will help keep your feet healthy.
Start by assembling a foot care kit containing nail clippers, nail file, lotion, and a non-breakable hand mirror. Having everything you need in one place makes it easier to follow this foot care routine every day:
- Wash your feet in warm (not hot) water, using a mild soap. Don’t soak your feet, as this can dry your skin.
- Dry your feet carefully, especially between your toes.
- Thoroughly check your feet and between your toes to make sure there are no cuts, cracks, ingrown toenails, blisters, etc. Use a hand mirror to see the bottom of your feet, or ask someone else to check them for you.
- Clean cuts or scratches with mild soap and water, and cover with a dry dressing suitable for sensitive skin.
- Trim your toenails straight across and file any sharp edges. Don’t cut the nails too short.
- Apply a good lotion to your heels and soles. Wipe off excess lotion that is not absorbed. Don’t put lotion between your toes, as the excessive moisture can promote infection.
- Wear fresh clean socks and well-fitting shoes every day. Whenever possible, wear white socks – if you have a cut or sore, the drainage will be easy to see.
- Wear well-fitting shoes. They should be supportive, have low heels (less than five centimetres high) and should not rub or pinch. Shop at a reputable store with knowledgeable staff who can professionally fit your shoes.
- Buy shoes in the late afternoon (since your feet swell slightly by then).
- Wear socks at night if your feet get cold.
- Elevate your feet when you are sitting.
- Wiggle your toes and move your ankles around for a few minutes several times a day to improve blood flow in your feet and legs.
- Exercise regularly to improve circulation.
- Inspect your feet daily and in particular, feel for skin temperature differences between your feet.
- Use over-the-counter medications to treat corns and warts. They are dangerous for people with diabetes.
- Wear anything tight around your legs, such as tight socks or knee-highs.
- Ever go barefoot, even indoors. Consider buying a pair of well-fitting shoes that are just for indoors.
- Put hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet.
- Sit or cross your legs for long periods of time.
- Smoke. Smoking decreases circulation and healing, and significantly increases the risks of amputation.
- Wear over-the-counter insoles - they can cause blisters if they are not right for your feet.
Your health-care team
Make the most out of your visit with your health-care professional by asking these three questions:
- What is my main problem?
- What do I need to do?
- Why is it important for me to do this?
Members of your foot care team can include:
- Chiropodists or Podiatrists: Specialize in treating foot diseases, disorders and dysfunctions
- Diabetes Educators: Provide education on diabetes, including foot care
- Doctors: Assist in diabetes management, and some have specialized training in foot care
- Nurses: Some have specialized training in foot care
- Orthotists/Prosthetists: Specialize in orthotic and prosthetic devices
- Pedorthists: Specialize in orthotics, footwear and footwear modifications
Doctors warn that the swelling and fluid accumilation in the feet and legs are possible signs of heart problems. Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart is no longer able to effectively pump the fuid volume out of the heart and into the reat of the body.
Cardiologists warn that if you are witnessing swelling in your feet, ankles and leg you need to watch out, it might be the beginning of your heart problem.
Swelling of the legs and ankles is caused by fluid accumulation in the body, which can be a sign of heart problem. Heart failure happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood effectively out of the heart to other parts of the body. It is when the heart fails to meet the body's requirement. This can be caused by a number of reasons which includes weak cardiac muscles, narrowed heart valve, heart-valve leakage, or both. The body needs more blood and the heart cannot supply enough, such as in people with anaemia or those in shock.
Speaking to dna, Dr Yogesh Kothari, senior consultant, interventional cardiology and electro physiology, Apollo Hospitals said, "Swelling of feet is one of the main symptoms of heart failure and this would be accompanied by difficulty in walking and breathing problem. It is more commonly seen among elderly people, those above 65-years-old. Around 30% of elderly people and 5% of young people face this problem. It is also noted that these kind of cases have been slightly increasing. Everyday I am seeing about two-three patients coming with complaints of swelling of legs and ankles and on examination they are diagnosed to have cardiac problem."
"It is important to understand the cause. Most of it will be due to poor blood pressure control, diabetes, genetic, untreated heart disease, lifestyle change and poor dietary habits. Once you observe the symptoms of swelling feet and ankles it is advisable to undergo the tests and go for preventive measures, followed by prescribed medication", he added.
Yet another city based cardiologist, Dr Rajpal Singh, interventional cardiologist, Fortis Hospital further stressed on saying that swelling in your feet, ankles and legs should not be ignored. Once it comes to your notice, it should be checked immediately. He said: "The legs and ankles swells up when the heart cannot pump enough blood effectively out of the heart to other parts of your body. When this gradually progresses it leads to difficulty in walking and breathing problem."
If the symptoms persists, one needs to check the salt intake and the fluid content in your body. To be on safer side it is advisable to undergo cardiac MRI, ECG and follow up with medication immediately, Dr Rajpal added.
Diabetics with foot ulcers need to be more aware if the increased risk of premature death from vascular and nonvascular complications according to a recently published study.
Researchers obtained data for patients who attended a secondary care diabetic foot clinic or a general diabetes clinic between 2009 and 2010. The control group consisted of a clinic cohort of patients with diabetes and no history of diabetic foot ulceration (DFU). Researchers recorded cause-specific mortality during a median follow-up of 3.6 years. They evaluated the association between DFU and all-cause mortality by Cox regression, while the association between DFU and cardiovascular mortality was determined by competing risk modeling.
Overall, researchers recorded 145 events of all-cause mortality and 27 events of cardiovascular mortality among 869 patients with diabetes. Study results showed DFU was associated with cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality after adjustment for potential confounders. Researchers found similarities in the proportion of deaths attributable to cardiovascular disease between the groups.
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