Archive for the ‘Foot Ailments’ Category

Your Feet Need Support Too

Don’t Neglect Your Feet, They Need Support Too.

Happy Feet Plus - Support Your Feet

Although it seems pretty obvious that the human body was not designed to walk or stand on hard surfaces all day long, many of us wear footwear that does nothing to soften the impact to our feet, legs, and back. Even more obviously bad for us, but done in the name of high fashion, are high heeled and pointy toed shoes.

The results of this neglect, or ignorance, are ailments like plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, hammer toes, bunions, knee pains, back aches, and more. Fortunately there are non-invasive remedies that can lessen or even reverse these ailments.

Feet need to be supported. Feet are designed to support the body while walking on soft ground. As the heel hits the ground it compresses and indents the soil. The arch area is filled by the ground and is supported as foot rolls towards the toes. By supporting the arch properly the plantar fascia is not stressed and the knees and back are kept in natural alignment.

Since we usually walk on hard surfaces, like sidewalks and tile, we need to compensate for the lack of softness and compression that soil provides. Supportive and flexible footbeds and insoles are the best available solution.

Toes need wiggle room. Footwear with a wide toe box may not make a splash on a Paris fashion runway, but trading in your pointy toed shoes sure will make your bunions feel better (or better yet, never develop). Avoiding high heeled shoes can keep you from developing hammer toes or metatarsalgia.

To feel your best you need Happy Feet. If you noticed a theme here, you’re right. Supportive insoles, wide toe box, and neutral heel cup – all of these are found in footwear that is good for you and your feet (and knees, and back). That’s who we are and what we believe. For 25 years Happy Feet Plus has been providing customers with footwear that makes you feel good. And when you feel good, you look good. Who needs those high heeled, pointy toed shoes anyway?

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Regards,

Dave

Hammer Toes Ain’t Pretty

Hammer Toes Ain't Pretty

Summertime is coming and the last thing you want is to have bent up hammer toes sticking out of those cool new sandals from Happy Feet Plus. If you want your feet to look as great as those new sandals read on.

What if you have been wearing shoes that are too tight either in width or length? One outcome could be hammer toes. Sometimes hammer toes are an inherited (thanks mom and dad) or are the result of earlier trauma. But most often result from wearing ill-fitting shoes.

If you recognize early enough that you are developing hammer toes and you begin wearing properly fitting footwear (from Happy Feet Plus, of course) you can stop, or at least slow, the progression of the ailment. Early recognition and correction is important. If you continue to wear ill-fitting shoes not only will your feet turn ugly but you’ll most likely develop bunions, corns and calluses.

There is hope. Treatment begins when you decide to stop wearing those high heel pointy-toe shoes. Instead look for shoes that have a soft roomy toe box. Manufacturers such as Birkenstock, Finn Comfort, Birki’s, Alpro, Footprints, Tatami, Papillio produce a wide selection of footwear that will help alleviate hammer toes. Footwear from these manufacturers typically have wide toe boxes and exceptional arch support.

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Regards,

Dave

3 Arches of the Foot

As promised here’s some info about the three arches of your foot.

Most of this information is taken from content that can be found at happyfeet.com/3-arches.aspx.

The bones provide the framework around which the ligaments, tendons and muscles form the supporting structure of the foot.

Medial Arch

The largest longitudinal arch is the Medial Arch. It is located on the inside of the foot and is typically described as “Flat”, “Normal” or “High” (see last week’s blog for more information).

Lateral Arch

The Lateral Arch is the smaller of the two longitudinal arches and is found on the outside part of the sole.

Metatarsal Arch

The Metatarsal Arch is the primary transverse arch. This arch created by the Metatarsals is not as obvious as the large Medial Arch, but without support it too can cause painful injuries such as Metatarsalgia.

Footwear with good arch support, especially in the Medial and Metatarsal Arches, can help people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis or Metatarsalgia.

Wearing supportive footwear can also help prevent foot ailments. Finn Comfort and Birkenstock footbeds provide excellent Medial, Lateral and Metatarsal Arch support.

Supportive footwear like Birkenstock or Finn Comfort also have desired features like a wide toebox and a broad, stable sole which can help people suffering from Morton’s Neuroma, Hammer Toes, or Bunions.

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Regards,

Dave

Do You Know Your Arch Type?

What's Your Arch Type Do you know whether you have a high arch or flat feet?

Everyone knows that to get a proper fit you need footwear of the right length and width for your feet. That’s pretty much a “duh” statement. But did you know that it’s just as important to get footwear with the right arch support for your specific foot type? To get the proper support to align your body you need good arch support like you will find in footwear from Birkenstock, Birki’s, Alpro, Footprints, Tatami, Papillio, and Finn Comfort.

Here’s some guidance on determining your Arch Type.

The medial arch is the largest of the foot’s arches. It runs from the heel to the ball of the foot. This is the arch that is most commonly thought of when a discussion about foot arches comes up in conversation. (I know, it’s not your everyday table talk topic, but bear with me.)

There are three basic types of medial arches – Flat, Normal and High.

Three Arch Types

To identify your type of arch, perform the “wet test” as described below and compare your results with the images to the right.

Wet Test Procedure

  1. While seated remove shoes and socks and place construction paper or paper bag on the floor.
  2. Place either foot in water.
  3. While still seated, place your damp foot on the paper; exert pressure to simulate standing.
  4. Do not stand or walk while your feet are wet.
  5. Remove your foot from the paper and dry completely.
  6. Repeat the process with your other foot.
  7. Compare the image(s) on the paper to the ones on this page to determine your arch type.

Now that you know your arch type how do you use that information to buy the right shoe, sandal or clog? Talk with your footwear professionals, such as your local Happy Feet Plus store or with our online footwear professionals via live chat at www.happyfeet.com or by calling 1-800-336-6657. Describe your arch type and any other foot issues and our footwear professionals can help identify brands and styles most appropriate for your needs.

Next time I’ll talk a bit more about the three arches of the foot. Stay tuned.

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Regards,

Dave

Stinky Footwear – There is a Fix

It may not be PC to talk about stinky shoes, but let’s face it – stinky shoes do happen.

Stinky Sandals Stink

Shoes stink because feet sweat. Well, not directly but that’s where it begins. Your feet sweat and make the insides of your shoes damp. Guess what likes damp dark places? Bacteria! And the bacteria likes to eat your dead cells and oils from your skin. Of course once the bacteria has feasted the next step is the creation of waste products. That’s what stinks.

If you are fortunate to wear footwear like Birkenstock which have removable footbeds you can kill the stink. First you need a large zipper-lock freezer bag (gallon size should do unless you have very large feet.) Remove the footbeds from your shoes or clogs and place them in the bag. If you have sandals, the entire sandal goes into the bag. Sprinkle in some baking soda and seal the bag tightly.

Place the tightly sealed bag in the freezer and wait 2-4 hours. During that time the cold temperatures will kill the bacteria and the baking soda will neutralize the bacterial waste products. While your footbeds are chilling out in the freezer, sprinkle some baking soda into your shoes or clogs. This will help remove odors from the inside of your shoes.

After the footwear is removed from the freezer use a shoe brush, or a brush with reasonably stiff bristles, and brush away the baking soda. Let the footwear, or footbeds, warm to room temperature. The odor should have been removed.

Now I’m not guaranteeing that your feet will smell sweet, but they should be way better. If you have other remedies, let me know so we can share.

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Regards,
Dave

Support your feet in the morning

Do you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis (aka “heel pain”)? Do your knees or back hurt? Often times the cause of the pain starts at your feet. Last week I told y’all about my experience finding relief from Plantar Fasciitis. This week I thought I’d mention the importance of supporting your feet at all times, especially in the morning.

When you first get out of bed you may not think that going barefoot would be a problem. But over night your muscles have relaxed and have had a few hours to recover. If you are experiencing foot problems the last thing you want to do is start the day off causing your feet to be stressed. Instead of going barefoot, slide into a Birkenstock or Kenkoh sandal when you crawl out of bed.

The Kenkoh sandal is an especially good “house slipper.” The arch is pronounced and very supportive. The massaging nodules stimulate the nerve ending in your feet and get your body’s “juices flowing.” Clinical studies have shown that wearing the Kenkoh sandal stimulates blood flow, reduces lower leg swelling, and creates a feeling of “wellbeing.” Can there be a better way to start your day?

Happy Feet Plus has been selling Kenkoh sandals since 1985. During the last 25 years thousands of people have found relief from pain wearing Kenkohs. We feel so strongly about the positive benefits of the Kenkoh sandals that we have made them one of what we call the “Foot Health Essentials.”

The “Foot Health Essentials” consist of three parts – Strengthen, Support, and Revitalize. The Kenkoh sandals represent the Revitalize. segment. The design of the sandal is based on the concept of Reflexology where the sole of the foot has nerve endings that connect with major body parts and functions. Wearing the Kenkoh sandals stimulates the nerve endings and creates a “Revitalizing” effect.

Try a pair. Wear them around the house or when you might be tempted to wear an unsupportive flip-flop. Your feet (and back, and knees…) will be glad you did.

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Regards,
Dave

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis. Two words that make you sweat if you’ve ever been stricken by the dreaded arch pain. During the 2009 NFL football season even a player as carefully watched as Eli Manning developed Plantar Fasciitis.

Quite a few years ago I experienced the pain of Plantar Fasciitis. Not only did my heel hurt but I had a stabbing “sciatic” pain in my hamstring and glute. Worse it disrupted my long-distance running. Three cortisone treatments at the Orthopede didn’t work. Several months of ultrasound and electrical stimulation treatments at the Chiro didn’t work. Finally I visited a Podiatrist who said I needed orthotics. Whahoo. Two weeks later the sciatic pain was gone and I was running again.

How does this relate to Happy Feet Plus? Simple. Good arch support. When I started working for Happy Feet Plus I bought my first pair of Birkenstock sandals. Finally I found a pair of sandals with as much arch support as my orthotics. My knees and hips didn’t hurt because my arches were properly supported. It was a great discovery.

I have expanded my footwear collection to include the Finn Comfort London and the Tatami Oklahoma. Because the footbeds in both were a little less aggressive than the Birkenstock footbed I had to make a minor modification. More about that in a later blog entry. Stay tuned.

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Regards – Dave