Red Toes

Having our toes suddenly turn red can be alarming – especially when we can’t pinpoint a specific cause. Alongside the redness, you may also experience some pain, swelling, and wearing your regular work shoes or joggers may now feel uncomfortable. As the cause of the redness can range from problems with our skin and blood vessels to problems with our muscles and bones, our podiatry team has shared the top five causes of red toes that we see and treat here at My FootDr. 

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Pins and needles in feet

We all know and have experienced that uncomfortable prickling, tingling, numbing sensation that we call pins and needles countless times – but why do we get pins and needles? And what can we do to help make the feeling go away so we can get on with our day?

Today, the My FootDr team are sharing the causes, considerations and treatments for pins and needles in the feet, which we medically refer to as paraesthesia – and there may be a lot more to it than you think!

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Flat Feet

If you have flat feet, knowing which insoles are right for your feet can be difficult and confusing. There are so many types out there, which may leave you with a lot more questions than answers, like: 

  • How do I tell the difference between the different types of insoles – they all look the same?
  • Which are the best insoles for me and my feet?
  • How do I know if the insoles I have now are right for me?
  • Is my foot or leg pain because of my flat feet?
  • Am I going to get foot problems because of my flat feet – and would insoles help?

 

These are great and valid questions, and our podiatrists have set out to answer them all by explaining what having flat feet really mean for you – and where insoles fit into the picture.

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Top of foot pain

Every week, almost half of all Australians experience foot pain. As foot health experts here at My FootDr, this comes as no surprise – our feet support the entire weight of our bodies, and with hundreds of moving parts, the role of our feet is more complex than many of us realise. With our feet being a small but mighty collection of muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and nerves – when something is overloaded, out of place or not functioning quite right, it can be an easy road to foot pain. 

As pain in the feet is always the result of an underlying issue or fault, understanding the cause of the problem is key in relieving your symptoms, treating any damage, and helping prevent it from returning in the future. Here are our top five reasons that you might be feeling pain at the top of your feet.

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Burning feet

Are burning feet making your days long and uncomfortable, or keeping you awake at night? While burning feet is a common complaint in the elderly, it can affect anyone and for a number of reasons. As one of the keys to managing the feeling of burning feet is to address the cause, we’ve shared our top six causes of burning feet that we see and help with here at My FootDr.

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Foot Gout

Gout is estimated to affect 1.7% of Australians and 2.7% of New Zealanders, causing quite sudden and very severe inflammation in one or more  joints of the feet or legs, most often affecting the big toe joint. The symptoms can be excruciating, debilitating, and can make walking and daily movements feel impossible at times. When it comes to gout, some common questions our podiatrists get include:

 

  • Why have I developed gout?
  • How do I remedy the pain and symptoms of gout in my feet?
  • How do I prevent gout?
  • Which foods cause gout?
  • How do I know if it’s gout – or something else?

 

To help, our podiatry team have answered and explained your gout frequently asked questions below! 

If you’re currently suffering from a gout flare, or the after-effects of your gout has made it difficult, painful or uncomfortable for you to walk, we can help. Book your appointment with us online.

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Itchy feet

Do itchy feet keep you awake at night?

The medical term for itchy feet is pruritus, and this regular or recurrent itch can feel extremely frustrating for those affected. While the science behind why we itch in the first place isn’t well understood, it is thought to be a way to protect the skin from parasites, dead skin build-ups, and any other nasties that are wanting to move through the skin and invade our bodies where they can do real harm. Which makes sense! When a mozzie or other bug starts biting, you feel an itch, look down, see the bug there and shoo it away before it does too much harm. It also explains why when you see someone else itching, you may itch too – to help prevent whatever is biting or irritating the other person to get to you too.

 

While this is great protection, it doesn’t make the sensation any less unpleasant and downright maddening at times. If you’ve found yourself regularly itching your feet or your toes and have no idea why, our podiatry team have put together the top six reasons that your soles, toes or feet, in general, are itchy – and what you can do to help stop the itch.

 

1. Dry Skin On The Feet

Dry skin is irritated skin. If the natural oils on your feet dry up or stop doing their job to moisturise and care for the skin, the skin gets irritated, starts getting that dry and flaky appearance, and starts to itch.

The solution is to fix the dryness. This is easiest done by giving the feet a good wash and scrub to remove the dry, dead skin and applying a good moisturising lotion daily to replace the function of the natural oils. If your feet are covered in callus or hard cracks, we can take care of all of this for you at a skin & nail care appointment

 

2. Athlete’s Foot Fungal Skin Infection

Medically known as tinea pedis, Athlete’s Foot is a common skin infection that tends to affect the soles of the feet and between the toes. It can make the skin look dry and powdery, have bubbles that look like they’re peeling and may look red and irritated. These changes to the skin, as well as the presence of the fungus, can cause the skin to get very itchy.

The solution is to use an anti-fungal medication to treat the fungus, and help prevent the fungus from returning by helping keep your feet dry as much as possible, like proactively drying your feet well after showers – especially between the toes. This is because fungus grows best in moist, warm environments – like damp socks and shoes.

Learn more about Athlete’s foot here.

 

3. Nerve Damage

Much like experiencing burning, tingling, pins and needles, nerve damage can also cause other abnormal sensations which can include itching. When it comes to the feet, diabetes is a large cause of nerve damage that we work with, while other causes of a neuropathic itch reported in studies include shingles and neural lesions, among others. 

The solution: unfortunately, these itches are tricky to treat and manage as the nerve damage is often irreversible. Some medications have been reported to help, so seeing your GP or your My FootDr Podiatrist for a definitive assessment is your first step.

 

4. Chilblains

Chilblains develop when the blood vessels in your feet change from being constricted (narrowed) due to the cold temperatures, to dilating quickly when they warm up and sending blood streaming through the vessels. The result is that blood can leak into the surrounding tissues, and may become very itchy very quickly. You must be super careful, as your skin can be more vulnerable to damage when you have chilblains, making scratching particularly damaging 

The solution is prevention. Chilblains are preventable by avoiding going from cold to hot too quickly. Instead of jumping straight into a hot shower or bath with freezing feet, let them defrost and adjust to room temperature first, wear some socks to help them warm up gradually, and avoid applying direct heat in the form of a heat pack or putting your feet up next to an open flame.

 

5. Medical Conditions & Medications

Both medical conditions and medications can also cause itchy feet. When it comes to medications, common ones you may already be taking include aspirin, some pain killers (opioids) and some blood pressure medication can get the skin itching.

When it comes to medical conditions, this can range from kidney, liver or blood problems, to having an overactive thyroid, to skin conditions like chickenpox, psoriasis, eczema, hand-foot-and-mouth disease and more.

The solution lies in addressing the cause – whether that’s managing the condition, or altering your medication with your GP to help avoid this symptom. 

 

6. Allergies & Contact Dermatitis

If your skin appears to have a  reddened, rash-like appearance that may have some blistering and has some significant itching, then it may be an allergic reaction or contact with an irritant that may have triggered contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis simply means inflammation and irritation of the skin (dermis), and can present on the feet unexpectedly as a result of glues or chemicals found in shoes, contact with irritants found in nature when walking with bare feet, or even skin and nail care products. 

The solution is to identify and remove the allergen or irritant that has triggered the problem, and hence the itching. In the meantime, the itching sensation can be relieved using creams and corticosteroids from your chemist or GP.

 

Scratching: The Consequences And Why It Feels So Good

While scratching your feet when they itch is the normal – and often uncontrollable – response to give you some much-needed temporary relief, it can also make the problem worse by irritating or even damaging your skin, leaving you with some discomfort or being vulnerable to infection. So as much as possible, try to avoid itching!

For your interest, scratching can feel so good because it sends a low-level pain signal to your brain that overrides the itching sensation, providing relief. Unfortunately, it can also trigger a cycle that re-activates the itch signal, leaving you in a constant state of itching and scratching.

 

Itching for help?

If you’re worried about your feet, we’re here to help. My FootDr has clinics all around Australia with knowledgeable, experienced podiatrists to help you get the best results for your feet. Book your appointment online or call us on 1800 FOOT DR

 

Podiatrist running shoe recommendation

If you’ve been in to see our podiatry team in the past, you may wonder: how do we know exactly which shoes to recommend that’ll be the best for your feet?

It’s a good question – and the truth is that it’s taken us years of experience as podiatrists combined with constantly staying up to date with the shoes that are coming out and their unique features. Today, we thought we’d take you into our world, simplify things a little, and give you an insight into six key things that we look at and think about before we recommend your perfect shoe.

 

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Shoe Anatomy

Worn-out running shoes don’t just lack the support, protection and comfort they once used to – they may make you vulnerable to injury, and reduce the efficiency of your orthotics.  As ‘how long do running shoes last’ and ‘is it time to replace my shoes’ are two very common questions asked of our podiatrists during patient appointments, today we’ve put together our top five signs that it’s time to get some new runners ASAP.

 

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Preventing running injuries

Running has one of the largest participation rates in Australia, with over 3 million people participating in recreational running annually [1]. This is an increase of almost 2.5x from a 2006 survey conducted by Sports Medicine Australia [2], and with the recent COVID-related temporary closures of gyms and other recreational facilities seeing more people taking to the streets to meet their exercise needs, running seems to only be gaining popularity.

It’s no surprise really – running is affordable, accessible at any time, social, has proven psychological and health benefits, and the only barrier to starting is a pair of shoes and perhaps some timely weather. Unfortunately, up to 70% of recreational and competitive runners suffer from an injury in any 12-month period [2]. Our podiatry team here at My FootDr works extensively with runners to help them optimise their performance and maximise their recovery from injury, today we’re sharing the top ten running injuries, how they’re caused and when you should seek help.

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