Pregnancy: Eight Simple Ways To Look After Your Feet, According To Podiatrists

Pregnancy has a remarkable effect on our entire body – and while our key focus may be on our growing baby and belly, there’s one part of the body that has to take on all of the effects of both the physical changes as well as the hormonal changes that a woman’s body goes through – our feet.

With foot pain and discomfort in pregnancy having the potential to limit our daily activities, exercise potential, and add further strain on our already exhausted bodies, taking small steps to look after the feet can make a massive difference to the way a woman feels and how she experiences day-to-day life throughout her three trimesters. Here are eight simple and effective ways to look after your feet during pregnancy, as recommended and used by podiatrists.

1. For Foot And Ankle Swelling, Wear Compression Socks

During pregnancy, your blood volume increases by around 50% and your growing uterus can put pressure on the surrounding structures, including the vena cava vein that is responsible for helping return the blood from your legs back to the heart, slowing its flow. This combination, with the heart having a harder time to pump blood back up the legs, can lead to swelling, which often presents in the ankles and feet.

To help reduce your swelling and the associated discomfort, start by elevating your feet and legs above the level of your hips (or heart if you’re laying down) to allow the blood to return to the upper body more easily, and drinking plenty of water to help promote healthy kidney function. Next, invest in some medical grade compression socks that have a compression rating in mmHg. mmHg stands of millimetres of mercury and you can interpret a reading of ‘20-30 mmHg’ as the amount of compression will not fall below 20mmHg or exceed 30mmHg. The most common rating available at the chemist is between 15-20 mmHg, which is the recommended place to start. For anything higher, we recommend you consult your GP.

2. For Achy Feet, Consider Orthotics

With the weight of your whole body resting on your feet with every step, achy feet are a common part of the pregnancy journey for many women. This is where orthotics may help restore a better foot posture, improve your comfort, and help your feet feel well supported throughout the day. Our orthotics are custom-made following a 3D scan of your feet and legs, paired with an extensive biomechanical assessment to ensure that you’re getting the right support for the best outcomes for your feet. Your orthotics will work every time you’re wearing them, so keep them in your everyday shoes and enjoy the relief.

3. Your Feet May Get Wider, Choose Wider Shoes

The normal physiological changes that occur during pregnancy can mean your feet may flatten and widen. Many women find that the width of their feet increases – and the length increases by between half a size to a full size too. This is where choosing a wider, well-fitted pair of shoes can make a world of difference. Just like length sizing options, many shoe brands offer different width options, which looks like a letter rating near where the size is displayed on the side of the box. For example, for Asics, their styles range from an A for a narrow foot, to E ratings (e.g. EE, EEEE) for extra wide feet. See our shoe store for the styles we recommend.

4. For Fungal Nail Infections, Treat Early

With your body and immune system working tirelessly throughout your pregnancy to support and protect both you and your baby, it may not be as focused on things like fungal nail infections. As fungal nail infections start as a minor infection that may look like a white or yellow spot or streak, and progressively worsen over time to become the full-nail infection you often see, treating fungal nail infections early is key to preventing them from getting out of control and becoming much more difficult to successfully treat.

We offer laser treatment for fungal nails, which is pregnancy-safe and doesn’t require any repeated painting of nail lacquers or products daily – which can be almost impossible if you struggle to reach your feet. 

5. For Ankle Weakness, Choose Supportive Shoes

The normal physiological changes that occur with pregnancy can mean our ankles may feel weaker or less stable than they used to. An easy way to help with this is to choose supportive shoes that have a firm heel counter that enclose and support your ankles.

Our podiatrists can recommend the best shoes to match your foot type at your appointment, and you can also visit our online shoe store to see our recommended styles.

6. For Altered Walking Patterns, Keep Your Feet Supported

As your baby grows, your centre of gravity shifts and makes you adjust the way you walk. This can affect your hips, knees, legs and feet. If you are noticing any aches or pains, particularly in your feet, come in and see one of our podiatrists to discuss what management strategies might work best for you.

7. For Ingrown Toenails, See Your Podiatrist ASAP

With the extra blood volume in the body and swelling in the feet, this can mean that your nail is more likely to push against the skin surrounding the nail, which can then turn into an ingrown toenail. Even a small nail spicule piercing the skin can become incredibly painful – and with it being more difficult to see or reach your toes, the problem could quickly escalate if an infection occurs. If you have an ingrown toenail, see your podiatrist to get it treated ASAP, either as a one-off or if this isn’t your first ingrown toenail, consider getting it fixed permanently

When it comes to caring for women’s feet, our podiatrists at My FootDr are trusted by hundreds of Australians every day.

Book your appointment with our experienced podiatry team by calling us on 1800 FOOT DR or booking online here.

Feet at the beach
Love your feet at home

With parts of our country moving in and out of lockdown and us spending more time at home, our feet can quickly become the last thing on our minds. With them still working hard for us with every step we take, your podiatry team here at My FootDr have shared a six-step routine to easily treat your feet at home.

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How to remove dead skin from the feet

Frustrated by patches of dry, thick skin on your feet? Whether they’re causing you pain, making it difficult for you to wear shoes comfortably, or you simply don’t like the way they look, removing dead skin from the feet can give immense relief while being painless – when done safely and correctly.

Today, the Podiatrists at My FootDr are sharing everything you need to know about dead skin on the feet, including preventing it before it starts, and how to remove it safely. 

Why Does Dead Skin Build Up On The Feet?

We call this dead skin callus, and it develops as part of a natural process where your body responds to excess pressure or friction to an area of the foot by adding new skin in these specific spots. This creates a protective barrier which prevents the friction from damaging the skin over your feet, which may otherwise cause a skin tear, leaving you vulnerable to infection, pain and other problems.

If your dead skin appears flakier than thickened, then you may have skin dryness, an Athlete’s foot fungal infection, or other skin condition like psoriasis.

Are Patches Of Dead Skin On The Feet Dangerous?

Having patches of dead skin on the feet is not a reason to sound alarm bells, especially when present in small amounts without discomfort. However, it is important to understand the warning signs and what to look out for, particularly when the callus becomes quite thick. You should consider having the callus safely removed when:

  • It starts causing you pain and discomfort when walking
  • Wearing shoes is painful and uncomfortable, especially as you may develop other problems like blisters
  • You feel like you’re walking on a pebble
  • The callus dries and becomes cracked. This often occurs at the heels and if the cracks penetrate deep enough to reach the healthy skin beneath, may cause bleeding and leave you vulnerable to infection

Often, when we remove callus in our clinic, we find that there are also one or multiple corns present beneath the callus that adds to the painful problem. See the difference between corns and calluses here.

Safely Removing Dead Skin From The Feet

When callus is removed correctly, it is not painful, as it is dead skin with no nerve endings or blood supply. Unfortunately, we see many people after they have attempted to reduce their calluses at home but have created a set of new problems as a result. Some remove too much callus, painfully cutting into the healthy skin beneath. Remember – the callus developed as a natural body response to unnatural or excessive pressure or friction, so it’s important to leave a layer intact to continue to protect the foot, and never remove too much so that you cause skin damage.

Others use pharmacy medications, often acid-based, to ‘eat away’ at the callus. Unfortunately, these often come in size-specific coverings, and will get to work on whichever area of the skin they come into contact with – whether it is callused or not. This means the acid can move onto the healthy skin and cause significant pain and damage. 

The safest way we recommend to remove the dead skin is to have it professionally removed by your podiatrist. This is particularly important if your feet are already at risk from conditions like diabetes, problems with blood flow or healing, and the like. Here at My FootDr, we carefully debride the right amount of callus to give you relief and comfort while keeping your feet protected and minimising your risk of infection. If any corns are present beneath the callus or on other areas of your feet, we’ll remove these too. 

Prevention Is Better Than The Cure

While callus is easily treated by our experienced podiatrists, its development can also be prevented or slowed. Our top tips are for prevention are:

  • Avoid tight, hard and uncomfortable shoes that rub against the feet
  • Reduce areas of high pressure using custom foot orthotics
  • Keep your feet moisturised and prevent them from becoming dry

If you do have callused dead skin and want it gone in one appointment, we’re here to help. We’re proud to be your trusted local podiatry providers, committed to delivering exceptional service, every time. 

Book your appointment with us online here or call us on 1800 FOOT DR.

swollen ankles

Do you have swollen feet or ankles after you’ve been sitting, standing or walking in a hot environment? You’re not alone. Medically known as heat oedema, this uncomfortable swelling generally occurs because the heat from your environment causes your blood vessels to naturally expand (dilate). As they do, fluid can leak into the surrounding tissues. Pair this with gravity encouraging the passage of larger volumes of fluid down into the legs, and you’ve got swollen feet, ankles and even legs.

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Feet pampering

Every year, the average Australian takes over 2.7 million steps. That’s a lot of weight, pressure, heat and kilometres for our feet to cover – and often with little rest or breaks in between. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we thought we’d swap out the notion of roses and chocolate with a thoughtful gift that will be very welcome by your partner or yourself – caring for your feet.

Here are five ways that your local My FootDr clinic can help care for and pamper your feet this Valentines Day – while doing your feet a world of good medically speaking to keep you going through all those steps.

Pamper your feet valentines day

1. Cosmetic Nail Restoration

Cosmetic nail restoration is loved by both men and women, and those that:

  • Are unhappy with the look of their toenails
  • Are battling a fungal nail infection
  • Have trauma to their toenails from an injury or accident
  • Have medical conditions like psoriasis that are changing the appearance of their nails

It’s also the perfect solution to improve the appearance of toenails in one appointment for those that don’t want to risk substandard safety and hygiene protocols, and hence infection risk, reported to be found in many traditional nail salons due to a lack of sterilising instruments between use on multiple people. 

Using the KeryFlex proven nail restoration system, our experienced and board-registered podiatrists create a flexible, non-porous and realistic looking nail over your existing nail. It is durable and is unaffected by acetone, nail polishes or detergents – meaning you can paint it as you please! Aside from the immediate improvement in appearance, your natural nail will continue to grow out beneath the new nail.

Learn more about Keryflex here.

2. A Skin And Nail Care Appointment

Our skin and nail care appointments, often referred to as ‘general or clinical podiatry’, are comprehensive and all-inclusive appointments that immediately care for your nail and skin concerns, give your feet a fantastic tidy-up, and leave you feeling much more comfortable on your feet than when you first walked in. 

With the majority of our patients having these appointments every 6-8 weeks to keep their feet feeling great and in tip-top shape year round, we welcome you to experience this foot care, completed by our experienced podiatrists, as a one-off treat, too. Your podiatrist will take care of any lumps, bumps and even the thickest or curliest of toenails. This includes:

  • Immediate and pain free removal of corns on toes and feet
  • Conservative care for ingrown toenails (non-surgical)
  • Reducing thick, cracked heels
  • Removing or reducing thick and uncomfortable patches of callused skin
  • Trimming toenails, no matter how thick or stubborn
  • Clearing the sides of the nails from debris and hard skin build-up
  • Starting to care for plantar warts

We love these appointments due to the immediate relief patients feel when they put their feet down on the floor after this care – which is often the difference between feeling like they’re constantly walking on a pebble (of hard skin beneath their feet) and feeling like they’re walking on air.

3. Care For Cracked, Painful Heels

While some people get away with minor cracks that can be cared for in a skin & nail care appointment (above), after a long summer and many months of wearing thongs – which many still wear daily – cracked heels are a big problem around this time, that we see and treat very effectively with these specific appointments.

As cracked heels start with hard, dry skin that thickens and worsens over time, our podiatrists work to remove all the excess dead skin – a process that is usually simple and painless using our sterile instrument range. We ensure that no sharp edges are left that will catch on your carpet or socks, which could otherwise pull the skin, creating significant damage.

Treating cracked heels now, and not at the end of the summer, is a great preventative measure to stop cracks progressing deep down into the healthy, supple skin beneath. We call this the danger zone, as deep cracks in this area can quickly leave you vulnerable to infection by creating portals of entry for bacteria, fungus, viruses – and a great deal of pain – that you often can’t reach on your own.

4. Comfortable Footwear

Our shoes become the ground we walk on and determine what and how our feet feel. That’s why if you choose your ground to be a hard plastic, the chances of your feet feeling tired and achy, or the chance of you developing foot pain, is much higher.

This is exactly why so many of our clinics offer a footwear range so you can try on and get the best shoes for your feet – and not just that feel great, but fit your foot type, too. We have podiatrists and trained staff available to ensure you get the best fit and maximum comfort.

Don’t have a My FootDr near you? That’s okay! We have an online store too.

5. Treating Those Lingering Aches Or Pains

Finally, the best way we can think of to treat your feet this Valentine’s Day – or help your loved ones treat theirs – is to care for those lingering aches, pains or injuries. You know, the ones you may be hoping will get better on their own, or that you know you need to have seen, but it’s been a crazy last 12 months (which it absolutely has!). 

This is done through a biomechanical appointment, where our experienced podiatrists look at:

  • Which tissues, muscles, ligaments or structures are causing your discomfort or pain
  • The strength and flexibility of the involved joints and muscles
  • Your foot posture
  • Comprehensive analysis of your gait (the way you walk) and how your feet and legs engage during walking and/or running
  • Pressure testing of both feet

Alongside your history and a series of other questions, this consultation will determine the how, what and why of what’s going on – followed by an optimal plan to get you pain-free and feeling great!

Ready To Feel Great On Your Feet?

Our podiatry team are ready when you are! As the largest podiatry provider in Australia, we’re proud to be your trusted local podiatry providers, committed to delivering exceptional service, every time. Book your appointment with us online here or call us on 1800 FOOT DR.

Dark spots on toes

Dark spots on the toes and feet are both a cause of concern for many patients we see and treat here at My FootDr. From wondering if they’re a sign of something serious, to being aesthetically displeasing, patients often ask us how they can get rid of the discolouration, fast.

To help, our podiatry team has shared the common causes of dark marks we see on the feet and toenails, what they mean, and what can be done to remove them.

Dark spots on the toes
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Black hematoma on toe nail
black spot beneath the nail

As having black spots beneath our toenails is far from the norm for most people, it’s not surprising that they can ring alarm bells and cause concern. Especially when we think back to favourites like Bob Marley who passed away at age 36 from a melanoma (which appears like a dark patch under the nail) that started beneath his toenail.

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What Happens When You Lose A Toenail?
What Happens When You Lose A Toenail?

So you’ve lost – or are well on the way to losing your toenail. It’s likely your big toe, though any toenail can come loose, and it likely pops to the forefront of your mind anytime you put on or take off socks and shoes because you’re worried that whatever is left may catch on the fabric and be painfully ripped off. Sound familiar?

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When do feet stop growing
When Do Feet Stop Growing?

You may be a parent wondering if buying your child that new pair of shoes is a good idea, or if they’ll just outgrow them at the speed of light like they did with the last pair. You may have gone up a shoe size recently and have found yourself wondering didn’t my feet stop growing years ago?

Whatever the reason you’re here, the podiatry team at My FootDr have answered this age-old question and given you all the ins, outs and exceptions below.

It starts with growth plates

Quick anatomy lesson: every single growing bone has one or likely multiple growth plates. Growth plates are specific areas within a bone made of cartilage where the body adds new bone to. Simply put: they’re how our bones grow. In long bones like our shin bone, there’s a growth plate present at both the top and the bottom of the bone.

Traditionally, feet stop growing when our growth plates harden

When we’ve reached maturity, as determined by our body and hormones, our growth plates turn from being softer and more vulnerable to injury to hard, solid bone. This makes them indistinguishable from the rest of the bone, and the body is no longer able to add new bone cells in there to grow the bone. Hence, we stop growing.

The process of our growth plates hardening is unnoticeable and not painful or symptomatic, so you won’t even know it has happened – and unfortunately in the case of your child, you won’t know until some time passes and their feet haven’t increased in size, that it has occurred. 

While your child’s feet are still growing and have these growth plates, they are vulnerable to problems like growing pains and fractures of the growth plate – which may even slow down the growth rate of the bone. If you’re worried about foot or leg pain in kids, bring them to your local My FootDr centre for a check up.

The magic number varies for everyone

As growth plates often close near the end of puberty, there is no magic number to work with. For some, this may be as early as 14 years, while for others, their feet may only stop growing around the age of 18 or beyond. Boys do tend to stop growing earlier than girls – but this is a generalisation. If your child is currently going through a growth spurt – their feet are almost certainly still growing.

Feet can change size in adults, but they don’t grow

When it comes to growing feet in adults, you’ll likely be right if you feel that your feet may have changed size, but this won’t actually be the feet ‘growing’. There are a number of conditions, causes and foot problems that affect the posture and alignment of the feet, which in turn affects their size. For example, if you were to go from having a nicely arched foot, to one that is significantly flatter, then your foot will be longer and wider, and you may not fit your normal shoes comfortably. 

Reasons for feet changing size in adults include:

  • Pregnancy – increases foot size due to the hormone Relaxin which loosens the ligaments and connective tissues, so the feet tend to flatten
  • Tight, small shoes – can cause our toes to claw and therefore our feet will appear smaller due to the reduced toe length
  • Thongs and similar shoes that encourage our toes to grip the ground – also encourage muscle and ligament contracture resulting in the claw or hammertoe position which can make our foot length appear smaller
  • Age – from our 50’s onwards, our ligaments tend to lose some of the strength and flexibility they once had, and stretch. This means our feet can get bigger and wider
  • Weight – as your weight increases or decreases, you may find that your foot size does too due to the added mass
  • Swelling – a number of medical conditions, as well as lifestyle factors, can cause our feet to swell and therefore influence the size of our feet – and definitely the shoe size we need to walk comfortably

Unfortunately, when our feet flatten, the tissues, ligaments and muscles in our feet are more easily strained and overused, which can quickly lead to foot pain. This is why often use solutions like custom foot orthotics to keep feet and arches well supported, maximising comfort and reducing the risk of injury.

Worried about the changes you’re seeing in your or your child’s feet?

While changes to the feet in both adults and kids can be normal, remember that foot pain is never normal, and that if you’re worried about something you’ve noticed then trust your gut instinct and come in for a foot health check. 

Our experienced podiatry team perform comprehensive assessments that look at everything from muscle and joint strength, flexibility and function, to a postural assessment, to a detailed video gait analysis and more. This gives us a complete picture of what’s happening with your feet – and what we can do to help.

Book your appointment online here or call us on 1800 FOOTDR

Back To School Shoe Guide 2021

Back To School Shoe Guide 2021

With the new school year just around the corner, it’s fantastic to see the kids decorating their school books, getting their bags and uniforms ready and getting excited about what classes they’ll be in. But what about their feet?

Having the right gear and care for their feet is an easy and simple way to help your child get the best start to the school year!  Two healthy feet can keep your student feeling comfortable, out of pain, able to run and play with their friends, and not miss out on school activities and sports.

To help, My FootDr has put together our top 5 ways to start this school year on the right foot!

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