Hammertoes! What are They and What Should You Do About Them?

Posted by on Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

There are so many injuries and deformities that can happen to your feet (after all, feet: you wear them every day). Some of them you may know about, some may be less familiar. In this blog, I hope to try to cover as many as possible so you’ll be able to recognize and understand what’s going on with your feet.

And that brings us to today’s topic: Hammertoes! (The exclamation point is there because you have to have an exclamation point when the word “hammer” is involved.)

Whenever I hear the word hammertoe, I always find myself thinking, “Isn’t that a type of shark?” But no–it is a deformity where a person’s toes curl under, giving them the appearance of a claw hammer.

Can Smelly Feet Save Lives?

Posted by on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Whether you’re traveling to a tropical area for business, pleasure, or to do some good, one of the things you’re bound to be warned about before you leave is malaria. There’s a good reason for that–malaria is one of the plagues of the developing world. The disease is transmitted by a type of mosquito that thrives in tropical climates. The seriousness of a bout of malaria ranges from a few days of debilitating sickness (think chills, vomiting, diarrhea) to death. Even the lightest, non-fatal strains of malaria can be devastating for those who are already weakened from malnutrition or who are not able to get the kind of medical care that can help them manage related problems such as dehydration.Over 200 million people contract malaria each year, and 780,000 die from the disease. Most of those who die from malaria are young, African children.

For centuries, people have tried to find a way to deal with malaria cheaply and easily. Recent research has uncovered a potential savior in the unlikeliest of places: your feet!

What’s That Smell? Fixing Foot Odor

Posted by on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Has this ever happened to you?

You: I’m just going to kick off my shoes and relax.

Family Member 1: I just remembered, I have to check on something in the oven…at Grandma’s house. In Uruguay.

Friend: Oops, did I mention that I’m going on a trip to the South Pole? Now?

Co-worker: Oh wow, I have to go wash my pens. See you later!

Yes, maybe your feet smell a little. Or a lot. Or smell like a garbage truck. First, don’t worry, it happens to everyone at some time or another. Second, really don’t worry, because there are some very simple things you can do to cut down on foot smell.

Oh, My Sweaty Feet

Posted by on Monday, February 20th, 2012

Each foot has about 250,000 sweat glands. That means your feet are likely to sweat at any given opportunity. Now they’re not doing this to embarrass you or make you uncomfortable, no, your feet sweat because that’s how your body cools itself down. That’s what your body does. It’s a fact of life.

Nevertheless, it’s an unpleasant fact, and sweaty feet can be embarrassing and will make you uncomfortable. Even worse, wet, sweaty feet, shoes, and socks can help athlete’s foot and other toe nail fungal infections thrive. So here are some tips to keep your feet dry and healthy.

Open, Sesamoid!

Posted by on Friday, February 17th, 2012

If you were rating bones by the melodiousness of their names, the sesamoid bone would rate very highly. Quick, come up with a challenger. Okay, I guess phalanges (toe and finger bones) is pretty good, but we’re not here to talk about hands, we’re here to talk about feet!! And the sesamoid bones are part of your feet–a small part, but when something goes wrong with them, wow, do they hurt.

DIY: Home Remedies For Athlete’s Foot

Posted by on Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Athlete’s foot. Yuck. It’s a fungus that grows on your feet and makes them hot, itchy, and miserable. The fungus thrives in warm, moist places–that’s how it gets its name, from locker rooms where the atmosphere is warm, sweaty, and wet, with damp shoes, damp feet, and damp towels everywhere you turn. It’s an eager little fungus, too. Step in a spot where someone with athlete’s foot just stepped and it will glom onto your feet, too. So let’s give this topic another yuck. No, make that a double.

You can prevent athlete’s foot by keeping your feet dry and by wearing shower shoes in places like locker rooms. Always dry your feet thoroughly after you take a bath or shower. Pay special attention to the area between your toes–that’s the favorite hangout for athlete’s foot. Make sure your shoes and socks are clean and dry.

If you do get athlete’s foot, though (and don’t feel bad, it is very common), there are plenty of over the counter remedies you can buy. However, if you are the type who feels embarrassed about checking out anti-fungal cream (“Price check for Your Feet Are Disgusting Ointment! Can I get a price check on this large tube of Your Feet Are Disgusting Ointment for this young man? Yeah, this one right here!”) or if you just prefer doing it yourself, here are some home remedies for athlete’s foot:

Don’t Be a Heel: Prevent Achilles Tendon Injuries

Posted by on Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

The descriptions always start the same way: “Suddenly I heard a loud popping noise…”

That’s usually followed by extreme pain and an inability to use the lower half of the leg in any useful way. Yup, it’s a ruptured Achilles tendon, an injury that’s annoying and painful for anyone, but completely debilitating if you run or play any kind of sport. The good news, though, is that you can do a number of things to try to prevent these injuries. One is to make some adjustments in your shoes.

First some Achilles Tendon 101. The Achilles tendon is the thickest, strongest tendon in the human body. It connects your heel to your calf muscles. Any time you run, walk, dance, jump, or just stand on your toes to reach a high shelf, you’re using your Achilles tendon. Rupture your Achilles and almost any normal activity becomes impossible for a pretty long time; sports fans know that when they hear an athlete has ruptured his Achilles, his season is over. It’s not just devastating news for pro athletes, but for anyone who’s active, even just someone who enjoys working out at home on their own.

Men, Get a Pedicure

Posted by on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

It’s Valentine’s Day, and while chocolate, flowers, and a candlelight dinner are nice, here’s something you guys can do for the loves in your life that’s good for you, too: get a pedicure.

Yes, that’s right, I said a pedicure, as in walk into a nail salon, possibly named something like “Blossom’s Nails,” where there is a rack of nail polish on the wall, fashion magazines on a table, and women everywhere, getting things like stars and flowers painted on their nails.  I know, you’re thinking, “Can’t I just buy tickets to ‘The Vow?’ I can sleep during that.” But here’s why a pedicure is a win-win for you…and everyone else in your life.

Fun Facts About Feet!

Posted by on Monday, February 13th, 2012

Feet. You wear them everyday. But here are some crazy things you may not know about them:

  • 25% of the bones found in the human body are in the feet. Yup, that’s right–there are 206 bones in your body, and 26 are in each foot (the hand takes first place for most bones in a body part with 26 bones. Stupid, show-offy hands, always trying to one-up the foot). There also are 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles or tendons. That’s a lot of moving parts in a body part that’s often moving.

Striking the Right Note: Foot Form and Running Injuries

Posted by on Friday, February 10th, 2012

If you’re someone who runs regularly, then you’re gaining a lot of health benefits–improved heart function, lower blood pressure, stronger muscles. You’re also probably injured.

My acupuncturist once estimated to me that about 70% of the people out running every day in the park are dealing with some kind of injury, however large or small (I know, if they’re injured, why are they running? Because runners keep running until they literally can’t move. It’s a special form of idiocy.). Most people shrug, assume it comes with the territory, and just try their best to keep reasonably healthy, whether through stretching, trying out a parade of different shoes, or varying the terrain they run on. However, a recent New York Times article described a study that showed that the amount of injuries a runner suffers is related to the way they use their feet when they run.