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July 2019

Monthly Archives

Foot Care and Self Care Go Hand-in-Hand

Summer is well underway and amidst all the outings, events and social gatherings you are likely attending, you may be finding it hard to find time for yourself. It is important in any season to take time to focus on self care, which includes caring for your feet as well. Taking a little extra time to ensure your feet are well taken care of will get you through this season and the ones to come!

Foot care is an important part of overall health care. If not done right, foot complications can arise and people definitely don’t want those! One way to ensure that you are taking good care of your feet is to educate yourself. Foot care is not very complicated and in fact can be done as a part of your regular daily routine. Here are a few tips for self foot care:

Wash your feet often. Keep your feet clean by washing them every day in warm, soapy water. While doing this, check if there are any red areas or sores on your feet. This is especially important if you have diabetes. There are changes that take place in your feet that you need to watch for every day in order to avoid those nasty complications that come from this disease! For more on how diabetes affects feet, read our blog article on the topic.

Dry your feet well. Dry your feet thoroughly after washing them, especially between the toes. Bacterial and fungal infections like athlete’s foot can develop in between the toes and drying the feet is an important way to keep from developing these conditions.

Moisturize and file. If your skin is dry, apply moisturising cream all over the foot, except between the toes. If you put lotion between the toes, it can help developing infections or other problems between the toes. Gently remove hard skin and calluses with a pumice stone or foot file. Do this when the foot is dry if you have diabetes and not after you have washed or soaked your feet. Work with the pumice in only one direction. If you rub in both directions, you could overdo it and cause soreness or ulcers in or around the calluses. You could also damage fresh skin underneath.

Cut toenails carefully. Cut your toenails straight across and never rounded, at an angle or down the edges. Make sure that the edge of the toenail is sitting on the edge of the toe past the nail bed. Cutting the toenails too short or improperly can cause ingrown toenails. Trim your toenails regularly using proper nail clippers. Seek the help of an expert if you have trouble doing this on your own.

Shoe shop in the afternoon. Have you been eyeing a new pair of sandals for awhile? Remember to buy them in the afternoon. Your feet can swell as the day goes on and if your shoes fit in the afternoon when you are active and doing activities, you can be assured they will fit correctly and be comfortable all day long. Be sure that the shoes fit the shape of your feet. When you take the insole out of the shoe and stand on it, no part of your foot should hang over the side of the insole. You will want to see about a thumb thickness beyond the longest toe for general wear. (When you walk, the foot expands. If the shoe is too short, your foot could rub against the end and be uncomfortable or cause and injury.)

Protect your feet in communal areas! Wearing flip-flops or pool shoes will help you avoid getting athlete’s foot and other foot infections when using public areas such as gym showers or swimming pools. Having said that, take care with flip-flops! Don’t wear flip-flops all the time. They don’t provide enough support for your feet and can lead to arch and heel pain if you wear them too much.

Wear appropriate footwear at work. Depending on the type of work you do, you may need to wear specialized occupational footwear with features like hard reinforced toecaps or anti-slip soles. If you wear high heels at work, don’t wear heels more than 2.5” high because the shoes need to be comfortable to work in. Also, be sure to wear comfortable shoes on your way to work and change into your heels when you get there. A note about high heels: You should limit your time wearing high heels because they can damage the feet if worn regularly. It is better to wear them just for special occasions. If you need to wear heels, try to vary the height of the heel.

Change socks daily. This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Changing your socks daily reduces smells that are caused by bacteria and other organisms that are on the feet. If you are live with diabetes, this is important because it reduces the chances of getting an infection. As well, look for socks made of cotton-polyester blend and have extra fibres to wick moisture away from the foot while you wear them. The correct sock allows your feet to breathe and help keep them at the right temperature. Wear socks that fit you as well. If you get socks with a narrow elastic band at the top, it can promote swelling in the foot. If you have diabetes, getting a seamless sock will be better for you because there is no seam to irritate the toes or the end of the foot.

Your local Pedorthist can give you more advice on caring for your feet, and because Pedorthists take a team approach to our patients’ health care, if something is out of our scope, we can recommend another type of specialist to see. A little self foot care can go a long way and will offer many benefits to help keep you active, on your feet, and enjoying life!

For more information on foot care, visit https://www.pedorthic.ca/foot-health/

By Jim Pattison, B.Sc, C. Ped (C)

 

References:

  1. Rao Li; Li Yuan; Xiao-Hui Guo; Qing-Qing Lou; Fang Zhaod; Li Shen; Ming-XiaZhang; Zi-LinSung 2014 “The current status of foot self-care knowledge, behaviours, and analysis of influencing factors in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus in China” International Journal of Nursing Sciences Volume 1, Issue 3, September 2014, Pages 266-271
  2. Siti Khuzaimah Ahmad Sharon; Hejar Abdul Rahman; Halimatus Sakdiah Minhat; Sazlina Shariff Ghazali; Mohd Hanafi Azman Ong A self-efficacy education programme on foot self-care behaviour among older patients with diabetes in a public long-term care institution, Malaysia: a Quasi-experimental Pilot Study https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/7/6/e014393
  3. NHS ND “Tips on foot care” https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/tips-on-foot-care/

 

 

 

 


Meet a Pedorthist – Jennifer Gould Andrew

Jennifer Gould Andrew, C. Ped Tech (C), C. Ped (C)

Growing up in Terrace Bay, ON, Jennifer Gould Andrew was an active soccer player, but she suffered from patellofemoral pain syndrome throughout high school and into university. Physiotherapy helped relieve some symptoms, but her world changed when she was referred to Kim Rau and introduced to pedorthics in her first year of university. Her symptoms were completely resolved – and she had discovered her career path.

“I was a kinesiology student at the time, trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life,” says Jennifer, who studied at the University of Waterloo. “(I) decided to go back to the Pedorthist and learn more about the profession. I started volunteering with Kim in clinic and working in the lab while I completed my kinesiology degree… and so began my career!”

After graduating in 1997 she continued working with the same clinic, received her C. Ped Tech (C) and C. Ped (C) designations, and moved to London where she took over a practice located at Western University and worked there for more than 13 years.

Now living in Fredericton, New Brunswick Jennifer continues to practice with a special interest in sports injuries and keeping people active.

Over the years, she has trained at least 10 Pedorthists and continues to be an instructor in the Pedorthic Diploma program at Western University, mentoring the field’s next generation.

Jennifer’s advice to new Pedorthists who would like to achieve success is simple. 

“Your patient comes first,” she says. “Make decisions that are best for them, not what is best for your business. For each patient, think about what you would do if that was your personal scenario.”

In her spare time, Jennifer and her husband stay busy with their family. “My spare time is primarily spent with my family – mainly chauffeuring my two children to whatever sport or activity they have on the go, but also enjoying the outdoors with them in a variety of means throughout the seasons,” she says, adding that sports is still a part of her life too. “In the past few years I have been lucky enough to find more regular ‘me time’ that allows me to enjoy my favourite sport – rowing.”


The Importance of Choosing a Canadian Certified Pedorthist – C. Ped (C)

July is here and if you’re like me, you have just celebrated this great country of ours on Canada Day! As Canadians, I think we can all agree that Canada is a great place to live; it has some amazing things to offer all of us at any time of the year. Summer in particular is a coveted season for many of us: a time to get outside and enjoy the warm weather and take part in more physical activity than usual.

Being more active means that you need to think more about your foot and lower limb health: pain or injuries in the lower limbs or feet can not only affect your level of physical activity, but can deter you from being active in the first place. Worse still, attempting physical activity without considering your foot health can lead to pain and injury as well.

Your local Canadian Certified Pedorthist – C. Ped (C) – can help you stay on the right track when it comes to taking care of your feet when physically active. Here are five reasons why you should consider visiting a Canadian Certified Pedorthist near you:

  1. Your C. Ped (C) can help with many foot and lower limb problems

Canadian Certified Pedorthists provide excellent conservative care to their patients. They treat, manage and can even resolve many lower limb and foot issues including plantar fasciitis, bunion and toe pain, injuries related to sports or overuse, complications/pain from diabetes and arthritis, various pediatric conditions, and neurological and mobility impairments, just to name a few. A Pedorthist can also help with anything from a simple shoe fitting, to lacing techniques to improve your shoe fit and prevent blisters, to complex mobility challenges from a serious condition.

  1. Canadian Certified Pedorthists are highly educated and trained

Canadian Certified Pedorthists are one of the few healthcare professionals trained in the assessment of lower limb anatomy, and muscle and joint function. Pedorthists in Canada complete a unique diploma program at Western University that includes a practicum for hands-on training and specific education on foot orthotics and footwear. As a result, they have the skills and training to actually custom build and manufacture many of the devices they dispense, including custom-made orthotics and footwear modifications. Many clinics will also often have an onsite lab at the clinic where they practice, so they are able to make orthotics and adjustments to shoes in a timely manner.

  1. Canadian Certified Pedorthists must practice and abide by a strict code of ethics

Anytime you see someone’s name with C. Ped (C) beside it, you know that the person has been certified and is a member in good standing with The College of Pedorthics of Canada, a national, self regulatory body whose primary purpose is to protect the Canadian public who receive services from Canadian Certified Pedorthists. The College ensures that certified members are accountable to the highest standards of practice by enforcing ethical conduct. Through the Code of Ethics, the College achieves and maintains high standards of professional integrity toward clients, colleagues, partners, stakeholders and the public. Above all, protecting you, the patient, is the focus.

  1. Pedorthists are health care professionals recognized by private insurance companies

Your C. Ped (C) will provide and/or manufacture custom foot orthoses, custom made footwear, orthopedic footwear and footwear modifications to individuals. Often these services and products are covered by health insurance providers, which can lessen the financial burden on patients. The Pedorthic Association of Canada and its members value the profession’s relationship with Canada’s insurance industry. Insurance providers often consult with the Association so as to continually devote time and attention to guarding against insurance fraud.

  1. Your Canadian Certified Pedorthist is an important member of your health care team

When you visit a C. Ped (C), you know that you will receive the best care possible for your foot and lower limb condition. You can expect that he or she will work closely with other primary and allied health professionals to ensuring the highest quality of care. This includes working with your family physician, physiotherapist and sports medicine specialists. For more on Pedorthists as part of a team approach, read our previous article.

If you are living in Canada and are experiencing foot or lower limb problems, find a Canadian Certified Pedorthist near you who can provide exceptional care to get you “back on your feet” and enjoying the outdoors again!

To find a Canadian Certified Pedorthist – C. Ped (C) – visit the Pedorthic Association of Canada’s website to search for one today.

By Derek Gilmer, C. Ped (C)