Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Finding the Right Back-to-School Shoes

Preparing for a new school year means back-to-school shopping for the usual supplies, clothes and shoes. Shoes should be one of the most important items on any back-to-school shopping list. While many youngsters many want to find the latest and greatest or coolest shoes, parents should consider some important factors on shopping for the right shoes. The American Podiatric Medical Association put together these tips on shoe shopping. 
  1. Children’s feet change with age. Shoe and sock sizes may change every few months as a child’s feet grow.
  2. Shoes that don’t fit properly can aggravate the feet. Always measure a child’s feet before buying shoes, and watch for signs of irritation.
  3. Never hand down footwear. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably doesn’t mean it will fit another the same way. Also, sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete’s foot and nail fungus.
  4. Examine the heels. Children may wear through the heels of shoes quicker than outgrowing shoes themselves. Uneven heel wear can indicate a foot problem that should be checked by a podiatrist.
  5. Take your child shoe shopping. Every shoe fits differently. Letting a child have a say in the shoe buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road.
  6. Always buy for the larger foot. Feet are seldom precisely the same size.
  7. Buy shoes that do not need a “break-in” period. Shoes should be comfortable immediately. Also make sure to have your child try on shoes with socks or tights, if that’s how they’ll be worn.
Not only is finding the right shoe size important, the overall structure of a shoe is critical. A good shoe should have a stiff heel that cannot be easily squeezed or bent. The toe box of the shoe should bend flexibly when your child walks. And the shoe should have a solid midsole that should never twist in the middle. 

Properly fitting and structured shoes can help children avoid years of pain and future ailments. Click here for a list of children’s shoes that have been awarded APMA’s Seal of Acceptance

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dry Skin In feet

While dry skin is viewed as mostly bothersome and unattractive, chronic dry skin can lead to fissures and painful infections. Dry skin is caused by a variety of factors However, simple changes in lifestyle can solve most dry skin problems. 

Reason behind dry skin:

The water content in the epidermal layer, natural oils, and fatty substance are the major factors that determine dry skin or xerosis. The epidermal layer holds large amounts of water, which is key to keeping moisture in the skin. The skin also has a thin layer of natural oils and fatty substances that aid in skin hydration and protection from external drying forces. The absences of these factors lead to the common problems and symptoms of dry skin: scaling, redness, itchiness, and chapping.

Most common causes of dry skin:
  1. Genetics: Some people are genetically predisposed to dry skin for some reason or another.
  2. Soaps: The use of harsh soaps tends to strip away the protective oily fatty layer causing dry skin. Such as antibacterial and deodorant soaps.
  3. Frequent, long, hot showers: Extend exposure to hot water strips the skin's protective layer and showers do not give skin an opportunity to re-hydrate.
  4. Improper application of moisturizers: Moisturizers need to be applied when the skin is damp and not completely dry.
  5. Medication and Drugs: Diuretics for high blood pressure and antihistamines for allergies can cause dry skin
  6. Underlining medical conditions: Eczema, psoriasis, fungal infections, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and malnutrition can all lead to dry skin.  

Treatment of most dry skin is relatively simple. Small changes in a person’s daily habits and routines is all that is required to conquer dry skin.
  • Do not shower excessively and take short showers in lukewarm water
  • Occasionally take a bath in lukewarm water no longer than five minutes to re-hydrate the skin Use mild and fragrance free soaps
  •  Use thick and greasy moisturizers. Stay away from oil based moisturizers and apply moisturizer when skin is still damp.
Dry skin can be prevented and is often easy to treat. However, people with chronic dry skin should consult a doctor.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fungal nail infection

Many people suffer from discolored and distorted toenails. While all too common, there are many causes behind the changes to toenails; fungal or chronic bacteria infections, eczema, psoriasis, and even trauma to the toenail cause distortion of the nail.

Fungal infections are the most common cause of yellowed, thickened and/or deformed toenails and can affect one to all toenails, but cannot spread in the body via the blood stream. Fungal nail infections are slow developing infections that normally go unnoticed, but over time the infection can cause the nail to become distorted, thickened, and brittle in appearance. 

Fungal infections are the result of walking barefoot in public areas and showers with a moist environment that allows fungus to thrive. Sweaty and moist shoes that do not dry out can cause a person to contract an infection. Dermatophytes, the same organisms responsible for athlete’s foot, are can also infect toenails and skin. However, people with diabetes and immunocompromised individuals are more likely to contract these types of infections. 

Fungal infections are easy to diagnose, but can be difficult to treat. Early detection is key to lessening the length of treatment and can increase the chances of having a normal looking nail. Acute infections can be treated with over the counter medication; however, chronic infections can almost always be treated with prescription medications. Laser treatment is also an option in both types of infections. But, chronic infections normally allow little chance for a normal looking nail again even after clearing infection. If you noticed changes in your nail appearance see a podiatrist.

Tips on preventing fungal nail infections:
1.    Change socks frequently if your feet sweat a lot
2.    Bleach socks when washing
3.    Be cautious when walking barefoot, especially in public setting