Wednesday October 30, 2013
A study published in Rheumatology has shown again that problems with foot function are associated with low back pain. The study was part of the large 2002-2005 Framingham study and involved 1,930 study participants. Participants were identified as having either low arches (flat feet), high arches, or normal arches. Their foot function was studied while in motion, identifying them as pronators (tendency of the foot to excessively roll-in and flatten while while walking), supinators (opposite of pronators), or normal-functioning feet. This was done using pressure sensor technology on their feet as they walked, providing insight as to how well the feet are functioning while walking.
What they concluded from the study was that female participants who pronated excessively during walking also had a greater incidence of low back pain. It wasn't exactly clear why the connection between back pain and foot function was more prevalent in women in this study.
Back pain is a complex symptom which has a variety of possible causes. Some back pain sufferers may find relief from identifying and addressing foot problems, especially flat feet. A podiatrist or foot specialist can help identify any problems with foot function, such as excess pronation. The next step is addressing these problems, which will most often involve orthotics or arch supports.
Orthotics are shoe inserts that support the foot's arch and can help decrease excess pronation while reducing stress on the feet. Some arch supports or orthotics can be found in stores or online. They range from flimsy, offering very little support to better quality brands that offer good support and last longer than a few weeks. Custom-made orthotics from a podiatrist's office generally offer the best support, can be customized to address specific foot problems, and last many years.
Source: Foot posture, foot function and low back pain: the Framingham Foot Study
Monday October 21, 2013
Chances are if you've been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, also known as heel pain syndrome, your doctor may have recommended stretching of the foot and ankle. Tightness of the calf muscles and plantar fascia (long ligament-like band that spans the bottom of the foot) can contribute to plantar fasciitis and other problems such as Achilles tendonitis...Read more
Thursday October 17, 2013
Last week I was asked by Meghan Blalock from the fashion and beauty site, Style Caster, about my advice on how women can increase their comfort when wearing high heels. See the article on Style Caster.com: How To Wear High Heels Without Pain: 8 Expert Tips That Work.
For more on health in heels: Common Problems with High Heels: A Guide for Choosing a More Comfortable Pain of Heels.
Monday October 14, 2013
This week a skin infection that occurred after wading in the Gulf of Mexico made headlines, not only because it had an unusual cause but also that it quickly turned deadly. The wife of the Palm Coast, FL man who died from the infection said that her husband had what looked like a small spider bite on his ankle which began to spread, prompting a trip to the hospital. In just a few days the infection had spread systemically, causing his death.
The cause of the infection was a common type of bacteria found in warm salt water, called Vibrio vulnificus. These are the bacteria behind the warnings to avoid eating raw shellfish, to decrease your chances of contracting a nasty and potentially fatal gastroenteritis. V. vulnificus can in some cases cause serious skin infections, although this is very rare--to date only 31 cases of V. vulnificus infection have been reported in Florida.
The ankles and feet are common sites for small, unnoticed abrasions or tiny wounds, making them susceptible to any type of infection. Other factors can increase the chance of infection, such as health conditions that compromise the immune system or poor leg circulation. It's also common for infection symptoms to look like small insect bites.
More about how bacterial infections can appear on the foot and ankle: Bacterial Infections of the Feet.
Source: 31 in Florida infected by bacteria in salt water. Fox News.com. Accessed 10/13/13.