It’s the start of Strictly season! Read our Footcare Advice for dancers and party goers

The nights are drawing in, children are heading back to school, festive tubs of sweets are creeping onto supermarket shelves, which can only mean one thing… a new series of Strictly Come Dancing is on its way! While we will cover advice for walkers and runners in other blogs, what foot care advice can we give to dancers? 

Probably the most important piece of advice is to make sure you have strong feet to start with, particularly, strong arches. This simple exercise stretches and strengthens the arch to ensure your feet provide a stable base for the rest of your body (useful for everyone, not just dancers).

Argentine TangoThe next thing to think about is footwear – comfort AND style are not always easy to find in a pair of dancing shoes, particularly for ladies. Key things to look for a heel that is not too high or narrow, a sole that is not too thin, and an insole that provides some cushioning, particularly under the ball of the foot. Extra cushioning can be provided by the wearing of gel pads. See the Simply Feet website for a good selection of GelX products (a selection of which we keep in stock at the clinic), or Technogel pads which are self-adhesive and stick directly to the foot. These can be used over and over again – the adhesive is regenerated by washing in mild soapy water and allowing to air dry. These are also available from the clinic, or from Footcaresupplies

After you have fox trotted, salsa’d or boogied the night away, how do you revive your tired, aching trotters?

A soothing footbath, preferably with a handful of Epsom salts (the magnesium is great for aching muscles) will make your feet feel happier. Then whilst seated, try rolling a tennis ball, or even better, one of our spiky Physioworx balls, under each foot. Backwards and forwards, round and round, under the arch will give them a great massage. Ask us for more details when you are next in the Clinic.

So as the late, great Brucie used to say “Keeeeep dancing!”

Arch Strengthening Exercises for Dancing Feet!

 

Why Do This Exercise?

To strengthen the muscles in the bottom of your feet. A strong arch will support your body better and help improve your gait. This exercise is particularly good for those suffering from heel pain as it will help to relieve your symptoms more quickly than just stretching alone.

How to do this exercise

Arch Strengthening

1. Stand with your feet hip width apart, on a step with toes elevated.

2. Slowly raise both heels as high as you can manage (min. 3 seconds).

3. Hold at the top for 2 seconds.

4. Slowly lower both heels as far as possible (take min. 3 seconds to lower).

 

How Often?

Repeat 5 times once a day to start with, building up to 10 times. When this feels easier, progress to performing the exercise standing on one foot (as shown in the photos) which will really intensify the exercise.

NOTE:  Keep safe by using a chair or bench to hold on to.

Our August Newsletter is out!

Summary of our August 2017 news:

  • Find out what Kate’s Kitten Boo has been up to this month!
  • Susan tells you how to look after your feet if you have been diagnosed with diabetes
  • Leigh reiterates the importance of wearing correct footwear
  • Check out our August Product Offer

Read more

New School Shoes – the most important piece of uniform to get right!

Ok, so the kids might only have just broken up from school, but the shops all have their ‘Back to School’ promotions up and running! Later this month you will probably be faced with the dreaded new school shoes purchase.

Although it is a headache, school shoes are probably the most important piece of uniform to get right. The bones in the feet of children don’t fully develop until the age of 18. At birth, the foot contains 22 partially developed bones. By age 5, these will have divided into 45 bones. By the age of about 18, many of these will have fused together and the adult foot contains 26 fully ossified bones.

As children wear their school shoes for 8-9 hours a day, 5 days a week, it is important to get shoes that fit well, provide adequate support and have sufficient growing room to prevent toes becoming cramped. Factor in the child’s desire to have fashionable shoes, shoes with toys in the soles, the same pair that their friend has etc. etc. – it can be a minefield!

For more information about growing feet and a directory of shoe shops who have highly qualified shoe fitters visit Fit Kid Shoes

Our July Newsletter is out…

A summary of July’s News

  • The latest antics from Kate’s kitten, Boo.
  • Leigh tells you his top tips on finding the right shoes for your feet
  • Susan explains how you can prevent and treat cracked heels
  • Save yourself 10% on selected footcare products when you use our VOUCHER CODE

Read more here

Dry Heels – What’s the craic?

Now that Summer’s here it can be lovely to don sandals and expose our feet. But this is not always the case especially with cracked or dry heels, also known as heel fissures. Fissures are splits in the epidermis resulting from a loss of elasticity in the skin or a change in its texture and strength due to changes in hydration. They are commonly found on the outer edge of the heel which often appear hard, dry and flaky, sometimes causing deep fissures that can be painful and bleed.

Dry cracked heelsThe body moisturises the skin naturally by producing natural oils that keeps the skin supple. When the feet become dry, callouses—dry, thickened skin cells—build up which are prone to cracking and splitting. Heel fissures can affect anyone. Young people can develop fissures from consistently walking barefoot and wearing sandals or open-backed shoes while medical conditions, such as psoriasis, diabetes, kidney and thyroid disease can cause a loss of moisture in the feet. Because skin loses its elasticity with age, the chances that callouses will crack and become fissures is more prevalent in the elderly.  Excess weight places additional pressure on the feet and can increase tensile stress.

If heel fissures go untreated on weight bearing, they can widen, bleed and become infected. This poses an increased risk for people with diabetes or compromised immune systems. Moisturizing the heels daily with a cream (rather than a lotion or oil) can prevent heel fissures. However, in the early stages using a pumice stone weekly can help to gently remove the hard, dry, flaky skin. Shoes with strong shock absorption can also help to improve the condition. With painful, bleeding fissures the thickened edged will need to be reduced professionally by your Podiatrist and the edges taped together until they heal. Creams containing urea, such as Simply Feet Heel Balm, Flexitol Moisturising Foam (both available from the clinic) or Dr. Ceuticals Cracked Heel Repair, to name but a few, are invaluable in managing heel problems in conjunction with debridement of the heels.

We wish you a comfortable Summer with heels that you can be proud of.

Your Feet & the perils of flipflops

Now that the weather has warmed up, we are able to shed a few layers and that goes for our feet as well as our bodies. Almost overnight, our feet lose the protection of socks or tights and are thrust into flimsy sandals and flipflops.

Only a few years ago, flipflops were purely for wearing on the beach or at the pool. Now they are an everyday item of footwear, loved by men and women alike. Unfortunately, they do our feet no favours. The basic flipflop might offer a bit of cushioning from the rubber sole, but there is no support under the arch and very little to hold it to the foot. Toes end up clawing in an attempt to keep the shoe on, which can lead to the joints becoming fixed in this position, and also puts huge strain on the arch. Heels slap down on the sole with every step which can cause heel pain, cracked skin and a breakdown of the fatty-fibrous padding which should cushion the heel bone.

Supportive FlipflopsLuckily, a range of shoe manufacturers have addressed this problem, and it is now possible to buy flipflops and sandals that offer a more substantial sole, a moulded footbed to support the arch and straps that hold the shoe more securely to the foot. The Simply Foot catalogue (available from the clinic, or online has a great range of stylish flipflops and sandals for men and women that offer all the support your feet need.  Courtyard Footcare clients can receive a 10% discount by using the code XQ9B3290.

Keeping your Toe Nails Healthy

As the time comes to put our boots into hibernation and bring out the sandals, it becomes more of an incentive to make sure your feet are fit to be seen by the rest of the world. Often for ladies (but not exclusively!) that means painting your toe nails.

Painted toenailsApplying nail polish isn’t in itself bad for nails, the problems tend to occur because varnish on toe is often left on for much longer than fingers. Standard nail polish will generally only last a few days on finger nails as our hands are in and out of water and are much more vulnerable to knocks and scrapes. We therefore generally change our finger nail polish much more regularly. Our nails get a breather, and any problems would be soon spotted. Toe nail polish on the other hand, can last for much longer, and I regularly see toe nails where the varnish is growing out, many weeks after application, rather than being removed.

Most polishes contain quite harsh, drying ingredients such as Formaldehyde, Toluene and Parabens, and its not unusual to see little white patches on the nail’s surface once the polish is removed. To help prevent this there are a few things you can do:

1)      Make sure your nails are in good condition to start with. Use a nourishing oil massaged in and around the nail daily for a week before you start applying polish. We stock Nourish Your Nails because of its added anti-fungal benefits.

2)      Use a base coat. This helps prevent staining and good quality ones will contain nourishing ingredients to help protect the nail.

3)      Remove nail polish weekly and give your nails a break for a day or two, using the nail oil to help replenish lost oils stripped by the polish remover.

The good news is that there are now ranges of nail polish available that have reduced the harsh chemicals and contain more skin-friendly ingredients. The first of these were the Dr’s Remedy range which was developed by an American podiatrist to help prevent his clients’ from developing discoloured weakened nails. Those of you that have used the Simply Feet website, by have seen the Danipro range. Now, even some of the ranges found in chemists have cottoned on to caring for nails and included kinder ingredients.

Although we don’t have space in clinic to stock a whole range of nail polish colours, we do keep a supply of Danipro Base Coat, but if you wish to purchase from their range of colours, use the code XQ9B3290 to receive 10% off anything from the Simply Feet website

Shoes are the only item of clothing that can seriously impact your health!

#LoveYourFeetAs shoes are the only item of clothing that can seriously impact your health, it is important to get well fitting shoes that will provide you with the necessary support and cushioning.

An interesting exercise is to stand on a piece of paper and ask someone to draw around both feet. Cut them out and compare the two. Obviously, feet are 3D structures, but your outlines can show you the differences in length and width. It is also interesting to hold your foot template against the soles of your shoes, or to try inserting them into your shoes. Does your little toe overhang? Does the outline of your shoe match your foot shape? It’s surprising how many shoes aren’t foot shaped, or not YOUR foot shape, anyway.

Most people have an idea of what their shoe size is, but did you know, there is no standardisation of shoe sizes in the UK? Foot measuring gauges vary between makes and manufacturers, and the fit of a shoe will depend on the materials used, the lasts used, heel height, etc. Coupled with the fact that no pair of feet are an exact match, sometimes varying in as much as 2 sizes between left and right, then the whole shoe-buying business is a minefield!

It goes without saying, that shoes should always be tried on before buying, but a few steps taken around a shop floor can be misleading. Unfortunately, no shops seem keen to let you test drive your new shoes for any reasonable distance away from the shop (!) so always ask the advice of the shop assistant, who will hopefully have had training in fitting shoes. As well as the obvious pinching, it also good to check for gaping, or creasing across the upper when the toes are bent. Just as you ask children when buying their new shoes, do your toes have room to wiggle? Is the toe box deep enough?

The Society of Shoe Fitters aims to raise standards in shoe fitting and runs training courses to that end. To find a shoe shop that has fitters that are members of the Society, having passed their stringent entrance criteria, they have an online directory.  You will find Lisa from ShoeMed on the register..  If you missed her article last month, see it here.

GUEST BLOG – Problem Feet? Introducing ShoeMed and Finnamic Rocker Sole Shoes

Shoemed LogoIf you have problem feet, then we have some fantastic news! We are ShoeMed, and we are the UK’s leading specialists in footwear for people with difficult or hard-to-fit feet. We offer personalised customer service that involves one-on-one consultations and fittings, including measuring your feet, which is all but guaranteed to make you feel young again. Our staff are highly trained to give every customer the best advice for keeping their feet healthy, comfortable and supported, as we want you to walk out of our shop with less pain than when you came in. We work closely with podiatrists, chiropodists and chiropractors, particularly the good people of Courtyard Footcare, to ensure that our customers get the best possible footwear for their comfort and medical needs. As footwear specialists, we carry a wide range of stylish and comfortable shoes, inserts and socks from companies such as DB Shoes, Waldläufer, Semler, Legero, Sockwell and many others, including one of our top brands, Finn Comfort, which offers a series of rocker sole shoes called Finnamic.

Finnamic rockersHere at ShoeMed, the Finnamic series of rocker sole shoes are our best-selling shoes, offering both style and the very best in comfort and support. If you suffer from osteoarthritis of the foot or ankle, bunions, flat feet, Morton’s Neuroma, plantar fasciitis, or have fused toes or ankles, Finn Comfort’s Finnamic rockers are right for you. Unlike MBTs, which were highly unstable rockers, Finnamic’s rocker soles are stable and firm, providing a gentle rock to aid the natural motion of the foot. They do this by taking the pressure off the feet and other joints, such as hips, knees and ankles, by doing the heel-to-toe movement for you.

Leatherlined cork footbeds from ShoemedLike every Finn Comfort shoe, the Finnamics are made with leather-lined, cork footbeds that are anatomical to the foot and built with metatarsal domes and arch supports to keep your metatarsals and arches supported in right places. The leather lining and cork composition allows the foot to breathe, unlike other footbeds and innersoles. The anatomical design allows the shoes to feel like they are part of your feet, giving you the best possible support. The footbeds are also removable, so you can replace them with your own prescribed orthotics.

The Finnamic rockers are handmade in Germany. Finn Comfort is a company that boasts 50 years of making Finnamic rockers bluehigh-quality, attractive footwear suitable for problem feet. Twice a year, ShoeMed founders Lisa and Karl choose exciting special colours and leathers for the uppers of the shoes, so if you, like so many others, fall in love with the Finnamics, you are sure to find a new pair or two to add to your wardrobe every season.

Time and time again, when our customers put on a pair of Finnamic rocker soles, they are amazed to feel almost immediate pain relief and to find how much better they walk due to the support these shoes offer. To try these amazing shoes and experience our unparalleled customer service, you can visit ShoeMed in Stratford-upon-Avon and in Clitheroe, Lancashire.