Caring for Ageing Feet: How Your Podiatrist Helps

As we get older, certain tasks get that little bit harder – whether it’s getting your shoes on, opening a jar, or reaching your feet to trim your toenails. This is why skin and nail care is a very important part of what we do here as podiatrists. Taking care of ageing feet goes beyond maintaining comfort; it contributes to mobility, balance, and the enjoyment of an active lifestyle. Whether we’re reducing the thickness of your nails, removing corns, or managing cracked heels, we know that by relieving your pain and improving your comfort, we’re directly helping you to keep moving on your feet, so you can optimise your health.

Here’s a look at the ways that our team here at Perform Podiatry helps to manage and maintain the foot health of older adults.

Footwear Assessment, Advice and Modifications

Your shoes become the ground you walk on, being responsible for supporting your comfort, stability and mobility. We work closely with older adults to ensure that their shoes are helping them through every step and not hindering them, and give personalised advice based on any foot conditions or ailments you have – from foot pain to bunions and more.

Generally speaking, you want to opt for shoes that provide ample support, cushioning, and a proper fit. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to discomfort, blisters, and even foot deformities. Look for shoes with a wide toe box and adjustable fasteners to accommodate potential foot swelling.

Keeping Toenails Trimmed

When your toenails are properly trimmed and maintained, it reduces your risk of ingrown toenails and related infections. Podiatrists can also reduce the thickness of your toenails, improving both your comfort and their appearance. If managing toenails at home, you want to trim them straight across and avoid cutting them too short to prevent discomfort.

Managing Corns And Calluses

Like with toenails, regular podiatry appointments help you stay on top of any corns and calluses that arise, meaning you get to walk comfortably and without pain. It is not recommended to attempt to manage these at home due to the risks in older feet.

Providing A ‘Second Eye’

While it’s one thing to advise older adults to regularly check their feet for signs of deterioration, redness, sores, blisters, cuts or anything else that’s sinister, it’s very different to be able to do it, especially with vision changes and greater difficulty reaching the feet. Your podiatrist acts as a ‘second eye’ at every skin and nail care appointment, catching potential issues early that may have been missed which can prevent them from escalating into more serious complications.

Addressing Dry Skin

Ageing skin tends to become drier, and this applies to the feet as well. Your podiatrist can help with dry skin as well as complications such as cracks in the heels, helping promote your comfort and reducing the risk of infection. If managing dry skin at home, applying a moisturiser, especially to the heels, can prevent cracking and discomfort. Avoid applying lotion between the toes, as it can create a moist environment conducive to fungal growth.

Monitoring Foot Sensation

Loss of sensation in the feet is another common issue among older adults, which can lead to unnoticed injuries. This is something that you can discuss with your podiatrist at your appointment, and something they can help you monitor and manage. At home, regularly check for numbness, tingling, or changes in sensation and consult a healthcare provider if such issues arise.

Preventing Falls

A person’s fall risk can be reduced by 36% when working with a podiatrist. With approximately one third of all falls being preventable in nature, many people are choosing to work proactively with their podiatrist in areas such as falls risk assessments, footwear checks, custom foot orthotics, balance assessments and more to help reduce their falls risk and improve their long-term health and comfort.

If your feet or legs are causing you pain or discomfort, or you’ve found that over the years you are no longer able to care for them in the best way, then our Perform Podiatry team here in Remuera, Auckland, are here to help. We’re proud to help thousands of people every year look after their foot health. We’d love for you to join us.

Book your appointment by calling us on 09 523 2333 or book online here.

Does Your Leg And Foot Posture At Your Desk Really Matter?

Whether you’re in the office or working remotely, a lot of our workforce spends a significant portion of their day sitting at a desk, often in front of a computer. While sitting may seem natural and harmless, poor posture has the potential to lead to various health issues, including discomfort, pain, and musculoskeletal problems that require professional care. Yes, the way you position your hips, legs, and feet when sitting on a chair can significantly impact your overall well-being. Here’s How.

The Consequences of Poor Posture

Your Hips

There are two main elements of poor posture when it comes to the hips. Sitting with a slouched hip posture, where the hips are rolled backwards, can lead to excessive pressure on the lumbar spine. This position places extra strain on the lower back muscles, potentially causing lower back pain and discomfort. Sitting with elevated hips, where your hips are higher than the knees due to an inadequate chair height can result in pressure on your hip flexors. Over time, this can lead to tightness and discomfort in these muscles.

Your Legs

Sitting with your legs crossed can restrict blood flow and lead to numbness and tingling in the legs. It may also place uneven pressure on the knees, potentially contributing to knee pain and long-term joint issues. Similarly, keeping your legs extended straight under the desk can hinder blood circulation, causing discomfort and potentially contributing to varicose veins over time.

Your Feet

Allowing your feet to dangle without proper support can result in lower back pain and poor circulation in the legs. This posture may also lead to the development of varicose veins. Tucking your feet under the chair can also create unnecessary pressure on the knees and lead to discomfort over time.

So How Should You Be Sitting?

Aim to: 

  • Sit with your hips in a neutral position, where the natural curve of the lower spine is maintained. This minimises the stress on the lower back and helps prevent pain and discomfort.
  • Use a chair with lumbar support, as it can help maintain the natural curve of your lower back and provide additional comfort.
  • Ideally, keep your hips and knees at a 90-degree angle to one another when sitting. Adjust the chair height so that your feet are flat on the floor, promoting proper circulation and reducing stress on the knees.
  • Avoid crossing your legs, instead keep both feet flat on the ground or on a footrest to prevent pressure on the knees and ensure optimal blood flow.
  • Use a footrest, as it can help support your feet and maintain proper posture while reducing the risk of lower back pain.
  • Ensure that your feet are not tucked under the chair. Instead, keep them flat on the ground or on a footrest.

Experiencing Pain In Your Feet Or Legs?

If you’re experiencing pain in your feet or legs, whether that’s related to your lower limb posture or from something else – we’d love to help. Give our podiatry team a call. We’re based in Remuera, in the One Health medical building, close to Newmarket. Call us on 09 523 2333 or book online here.

NZ Skiing and Snowboarding: Injury Prevention Tips From Your Podiatrist

Snow sports like skiing and snowboarding can be thrilling, even here in New Zealand. Whether you’re planning a trip down to Queenstown this season or making the most of the (potential) last season at our North Island ski fields, it’s important to spend at least a little time preparing your body to minimise the risk of injuries and enhance your performance on the slopes – especially if you’re planning to spend a week at the mountain. 


Cardiovascular Work

Snow sports demand stamina and endurance, making cardiovascular fitness vital. Despite relying on gravity for downhill momentum, skiers often encounter flat areas that require skiing or pushing along. Snowboarders may need to remove their boards and walk on flat terrain, which can quickly become tiring due to the added weight of gear. Building cardiovascular fitness through regular aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling, can enhance endurance and help you navigate these challenges with ease. Try to add a few extra sessions weekly in the month leading up to your trip (or longer if you can!).


Strengthening Work

Both skiers and snowboarders rely on specific muscle groups while on the mountain. Skiers require strong core muscles to stabilise their spine, pelvis, hamstrings and quads for knee bending and leg extension, lower leg muscles for foot control and ski edging, and glutes for overall stability. Snowboarders, on the other hand, heavily engage the quads, hamstrings, and glutes while maintaining knee flexion, with the calves playing a crucial role in maintaining balance and controlling ankle movement. Additionally, upper body strength is essential for skiers who use ski poles and for snowboarders who need to manoeuvre and re-strap their boards. This means getting in a few extra weekly gym sessions in the month leading up to your ski trip to help your body prepare best.


Flexibility Work

Snow sports really put your joints to the test, making flexibility crucial for preventing injuries and helping you have a safe ski holiday for the whole family. We recommend incorporating a thorough stretching program before your ski holiday to enhance your joint strength and mobility. Prioritise consistency over session length, stretching frequently for shorter durations. Ensure you stretch through the full range of motion, feeling the stretch at the end points. On ski days, warm up your body and stretch your muscles properly to reduce the risk of injury, as cold muscles are more susceptible to strains.


Provide Extra Support To Vulnerable Areas

If you have any pre-existing injuries, niggles, or weak areas, it’s essential to provide them with additional support to prevent exacerbation on the slopes. Consider using strapping, compression gear, or knee guards if necessary. Seeking advice from a podiatrist can help you determine the best ways to protect vulnerable areas and prevent potential injuries. They can guide you on proper strapping techniques and injury prevention measures tailored to your specific needs.


Listen to Your Body

Listening to your body is crucial both before and during your snow sports adventure. Pain and discomfort should never be ignored, as they are often signs of an underlying issue. If you experience pain or niggles before your trip, it’s important to address them to avoid further complications. Likewise, if something feels off during your time on the slopes, pay attention to your body’s signals and take appropriate action. Ignoring warning signs can lead to more severe injuries and prolonged pain.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can foot pain affect my performance while skiing or snowboarding?

Yes, foot pain can significantly impact your performance and overall enjoyment of snow sports. Proper ski footwear, foot support, and addressing any underlying foot conditions are crucial for optimal performance.

Should I wear custom orthotics while skiing or snowboarding?

If you use custom orthotics in your daily life, you may consider using orthotics that are fitted especially for your ski or snowboard boots – but this may only apply in some cases and you should consult your podiatrist. While custom orthotics can provide additional support, improve alignment, and help alleviate foot pain, standard orthotics don’t tend to fit into already tight-fitting ski and snowboard boots, and the skiers we work with usually have custom ski orthotics made if they’re heading to the slopes regularly.

What type of socks should I wear for snow sports?

Choose moisture-wicking socks made from synthetic or wool materials to keep your feet dry and warm. Avoid cotton socks as they retain moisture and can lead to discomfort and blisters.

How can I prevent blisters while skiing or snowboarding?

To prevent blisters, wear well-fitted boots or shoes that provide ample room for your toes. Consider using blister pads or applying moleskin to areas prone to friction. Ensure your socks are clean and dry before putting them on. We also have a range of silicone toe props and other products available from the clinic for you to try.

How do I choose the right ski or snowboard boots?

Unfortunately, the only answer to this is to consult with a professional boot fitter who can assess your foot shape, size, and specific needs to help you find the right boots, as individual needs vary so greatly from person to person.


Best Footwear For Foot Pain

Dealing with foot pain is a challenging and uncomfortable experience for most. Whether you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis, arthritis, a foot or ankle injury, or any other foot condition, take it from the pros: wearing the right footwear can make a significant difference in alleviating your discomfort, reducing your recovery time, and promoting proper foot health to see you through a lifetime. But what should you look for in good shoes? 


Sports Shoes With Good Support

Athletic shoes that are engineered for specific activities, such as running or walking, can provide excellent support, stability and offloading (via good cushioning) for those with foot pain. Look for shoes that have a supportive midsole, ample arch support, and a cushioned insole. These features help absorb shock, reduce strain on the feet, and promote a stable gait. Additionally, sports shoes often come in a variety of widths, ensuring a good fit for individuals with different foot shapes and sizes, including a spacious toe box.


Low-Heeled Shoes

When your foot pain is primarily present at the forefoot, it’s best to avoid high heels and opt for low-heeled shoes instead. Higher heels place excessive pressure on the forefoot and can exacerbate conditions like metatarsalgia and pains around the ball of the foot. Low-heeled shoes with a heel height of approximately 2cm provide better stability, reducing strain on the feet and promoting a more natural gait. Again, look for low-heeled shoes with cushioned insoles for shock absorption,good arch support, stability around the ankle, and a spacious toe box.


Sandals with Arch Support

During warmer months or casual occasions, if you need to wear sandals, we recommend selecting sandals with built-in arch support to help offer comfort and support for foot pain relief. Look for sandals with contoured footbeds that provide adequate arch support – or better yet, sandals with removable footbeds so you can slot your own custom foot orthotics in. Having adjustable straps helps to ensure a secure fit and allows for individual customisation. Avoid flat sandals with minimal cushioning, as they provide little to no support and can exacerbate foot pain.


Orthopaedic Shoes

While traditionally orthopaedic shoes had a bad wrap due to their ‘unfashionable’ or bulky appearance, today orthopaedic shoes have actually come a long way and there’s a much wider option range that many of our patients are loving. The benefits of orthopaedic shoes are their very specific designs that are made to provide support, stability and cushioning for a range of foot conditions. They often also come with additional arch support, extra padding, wider toe boxes and several other features that help them stand out from standard shoes when you’re experiencing notable pain or discomfort. The arch support helps distribute weight evenly, reducing pressure on specific areas of the foot. The added cushioning offers shock absorption, minimising impact on joints. Orthopaedic shoes also provide ample room for the toes, preventing constriction and allowing natural movement.


What About Custom Foot Orthotics?

Custom foot orthotics are specially designed shoe inserts that are moulded to match the unique contours of your feet. These inserts can provide targeted support and stability, relieving foot pain caused by most podiatric conditions – from flat feet or high arches to plantar fasciitis or shin splints. Custom orthotics help improve foot alignment, redistribute pressure, and reduce strain on specific areas of the foot. They can be used in various types of shoes, including athletic shoes, casual footwear, and even dress shoes.


Footwear To Avoid

Just like choosing good, supportive footwear, it is also crucial to be mindful of footwear choices that can worsen your foot pain and leave you feeling worse for longer. Avoid shoes with unsupportive soles, thin insoles, or minimal cushioning, as they offer little shock absorption and can exacerbate your discomfort. Additionally, narrow or pointy-toed shoes can compress the toes, worsening conditions like metatarsalgia, bunions or corns. Shoes that do not provide proper arch support can contribute to improper foot alignment and increase strain on certain areas.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wear my regular flats and office shoes if I’m experiencing foot pain?

It’s best to avoid unsupportive shoes if you’re experiencing foot pain, including your work shoes. If you must wear your work shoes at work, consider consulting with a podiatrist about whether orthotics could be a suitable option for your work shoes. Invest in footwear specifically designed to provide support, cushioning, and stability for your feet.

Are there specific brands known for foot-friendly shoes?

Several brands specialise in creating footwear for foot pain relief, such as Dr Comfort, Brooks, New Balance, Birkenstock, and Vionic. However, it’s essential to find shoes that suit your individual needs and foot condition. Your podiatrist can provide you with advice on particular styles that may work best for you.

Can I use orthotics in any type of shoe?

Custom orthotics can be used in a wide range of shoe types, as long as they have removable insoles. However, it’s advisable to choose shoes with ample space to accommodate the orthotics comfortably. Never try to cram orthotics in if your shoes aren’t designed to accommodate orthotics.

How often should I replace my shoes when I have foot pain?

When you’re experiencing foot pain, you don’t necessarily need to replace your shoes more often than normal, but you do need to make sure you’re following the guidelines for replacing your shoes. For shoes that you wear on a daily basis or get decent mileage on, this means replacing them every 800-1000kms, or every six months. If they have significant signs of wear or break down they may need to be changed sooner.

Can I wear high heels occasionally if I have foot pain?

As health professionals, we recommend avoiding high heels, even on an occasional basis, as they can significantly strain the feet and worsen your existing foot pain. If you must wear them, do so for as little time as possible – which may look like wearing good comfortable shoes in the car and stepping out in your heels for as little time as possible.



Signs Your Ingrown Toenail Needs Help From Your Podiatrist

If you consider ingrown toenails to be the most debilitatingly painful problem given that it involves such a seemingly small nail, you’re not alone. These are the exact same thoughts shared by most people who come into our ingrown toenail clinic to have their ingrown nails professionally cared for – and often to get rid of them for good. But how do you know if your ingrown nail is fine to manage at home, or if you should come in for professional treatment? 

Ingrown Toenail: The Basics

First thing first: an ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin rather than over it. Think of a small but sharp dagger piercing through healthy skin and staying embedded there – it’s actually very similar! This can result in pain, redness, swelling, and potential infection. Ingrown toenails most commonly affect the big toe, but any toe can be affected.

Identifying An Ingrown Toenail

To spot an ingrown toenail, look for:

  • Pain and discomfort: one of the earliest signs is tenderness or pain along the edge of the affected toenail. Ingrown toenails can also affect both edges of the same toenail.
  • Redness and swelling: the skin around the ingrown toenail may become red, swollen, and painful to the touch.
  • Inflammation: as your ingrown toenail grows deeper into the surrounding skin, you may notice the surrounding area become red and inflamed. Sometimes, there may be pus or clear fluid leaking from the area, which may also be a sign of infection.
  • Difficulty wearing shoes: ingrown toenails can make wearing shoes uncomfortable, and pressure from footwear may worsen the condition.
  • Overlapping skin: you may see the edge of the nail curling into the surrounding skin or observe overlapping of the skin onto the nail.

Home Care For Mild Cases

If your ingrown toenail is mild, you may try managing your symptoms at home by:

  • Soaking your feet in warm, soapy water for 15-20 minutes, 2-3 times a day. This can help soften the nail and reduce inflammation.
  • After soaking, use a clean, disinfected tool, such as a dental floss pick, to gently lift the ingrown edge of the nail away from the skin. Do not force it. This should be easy if the ingrown nail is mild so that it is only pressing against the side of the skin as opposed to already growing deep inside. If the nail has already significantly pierced into the skin, it’s time to see a podiatrist. 
  • Continue to keep the area clean and dry, avoiding tight footwear that puts pressure on the toe.
  • You can try to place a sterile bandage or a piece of cotton under the lifted nail edge to encourage it to grow above the skin. Again, this will not be suitable if your nail has already notably pierced into the skin.

When To Get Help For Your Ingrown Nail

While home care can help with mild cases, you should consult a podiatrist if you experience the following:

  • If ingrown toenails repeatedly affect the same toenail, a professional evaluation is essential to address the root cause.
  • If there are signs of infection, such as increasing redness, pus, or discharge, it’s crucial to book in with your podiatrist
  • Those with diabetes or circulation problems should not attempt self-treatment for ingrown toenails. These conditions can lead to complications and delayed wound healing.
  • A painful abscess (collection of pus) or the presence of a draining sinus warrants immediate attention.
  • If your symptoms worsen or fail to improve within a few days of home care, consult a podiatrist.

Final Tip

Ingrown toenails can be simple for a health professional to manage – but only if they have the right tools, experience and knowledge. As a clinic that sees ingrown toenails day in and day out, we have refined our protocols and processes to ensure you get the very best care for your ingrown nail every time.

Each person’s treatment plan is uniquely tailored to their symptoms and circumstances to help you get the best long-term results. Our podiatrists take the time to discuss every step of the process, alongside all of your treatment options, and are here to help you or your child have the very best experience with their toenail treatment. We’re based in Remuera, in the One Health medical building, close to Newmarket. Call us on 09 523 2333 or book online here.

Podiatry Tips For Protecting Your Feet This Winter

With winter well and truly here, we find ourselves bidding farewell to sandals and embracing cosy merino socks. However, for podiatrists like us, the arrival of winter also means an increase in patients seeking help for specific foot problems that arise due to the colder temperatures. To help, here are our valuable podiatry insights into the top five winter-specific foot problems we often encounter, along with practical tips to keep your feet safe and protected.  

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

The first condition we tend to see is called “Raynaud’s phenomenon” or syndrome. Raynaud’s affects both the feet and hands, and it is triggered by cool temperatures. If you experience Raynaud’s, you’ll notice that certain parts of your feet, particularly the toes, turn stark white, resulting in patchy discolouration. Other areas may turn red or blue or purple, and you may also feel extreme coldness and numbness in your feet. Raynaud’s occurs when the blood vessels in your feet constrict, limiting blood flow. Interestingly, stress can also contribute to the onset of Raynaud’s symptoms. As normal blood flow returns, you may experience sensations of heat, tingling, throbbing, or swelling in your feet. What can you do? The key is to keep your feet warm and dry. When your feet are warm, the blood vessels widen, promoting circulation and preventing episodes of Raynaud’s.  

Dry, Cracked Skin

Did you know that the soles of your feet lack oil glands? This means that they are prone to drying out, especially in colder temperatures. Dry skin reduces sensitivity in our feet and makes us more susceptible to calluses and cracks, particularly on the heels. What can you do? The solution is simple: moisturise daily. Regularly applying moisturiser is crucial since your feet cannot naturally keep the skin moist. You don’t need expensive skincare products; your regular moisturiser will suffice to keep your skin smooth, supple, and healthy. If you notice a significant callus build-up, consider having it reduced by your podiatrist. The same applies to any cracks that form in the heels.  

Fungal Nail And Skin Infections

Fungus thrives in warm, moist, and dark environments—just like the conditions found in our enclosed winter shoes and warmer socks. Spending all day in these environments, combined with increased rainfall and foot sweating, creates the perfect breeding ground for fungal infections. However, fungal infections don’t simply materialise; you must come into contact with fungal spores. Whether it’s at a friend’s house, your local gym, or a swimming pool, if you pick up the infection, there’s a higher chance it will spread faster than in summer when going barefoot or wearing sandals allows your feet to dry out. What can you do? After every shower or when removing your shoes, thoroughly dry your feet. If your shoes get wet, let them dry completely before wearing them again, and ensure your feet are dry too. Wash and dry your socks thoroughly, paying attention to the spaces between your toes. Consider using sprays or powders on your feet or in your shoes to maintain a dry environment and discourage fungal growth. If you notice signs of a fungal nail infection (discoloration or patches on your toenails) or athlete’s foot (bubbles in the skin, dryness, itchiness, or redness), seek treatment from a podiatrist who can provide the appropriate antifungal care. The earlier you address a fungal infection, the easier it is to treat and eliminate.  

Ingrown Toenails

Colder temperatures often mean thicker socks, which, combined with snug-fitting shoes, leave less room for your feet. As your toenails grow, they may press against the skin due to the restricted space, significantly increasing the risk of developing ingrown toenails. What can you do? Keep your nails trimmed straight across the nail, avoiding cutting into the sides. If your toes feel uncomfortable and cramped in thick socks, opt for thinner socks made from warm and durable materials like merino.  

Amplified Effects Of Diabetes On The Feet (Sensation And Blood Flow)

For individuals with diabetes, the impact on nerves and blood vessels gradually diminishes sensation and circulation in the feet. Colder temperatures can amplify these effects, similar to what occurs in Raynaud’s phenomenon. Consequently, it is crucial to diligently monitor your feet during this time, ensuring you don’t sustain any unnoticed cuts or wounds that could lead to infection. What can you do? Make it a habit to check your feet daily, examining both the top and bottom. If necessary, use a mirror to inspect the bottom of your feet. Keep your feet protected and warm at all times, even indoors by wearing socks and slippers. Avoid exposing your feet to direct heat, such as open fires or hot water bottles, as decreased sensation may prevent you from feeling potential burns. Regularly moisturise your feet to maximise your sensation. Additionally, ensure you have your annual diabetic foot health check to stay informed about your foot health status and understand the specific precautions you should take.  

Need Help Caring For Your Feet?

Our experienced podiatry team is here to help, and leave you feeling great on your feet. Book your appointment online here or call us on 09 523 2333

What’s The Alternative To Orthotics?

Had a previous experience with orthotics where they weren’t that comfortable, didn’t fit your shoes well, or didn’t do what they were meant to? If you’ve been recommended foot orthotics but are hesitant to try them out for whatever reason, you may be wondering if there are any alternative treatments available. The answer to this question is that there are alternative treatment pathways for foot pain and injury (and other issues) that don’t involve orthotics, but they may not produce the same results. Something that is definitely not an alternative to orthotics is the generic footbeds or insoles found at pharmacies or supermarkets, which in the eyes of podiatrists do close to nothing aside from add cushioning 95% of the time.  

Why Can’t Anything Else Act In The Same Way As An Orthotic?

Simply put, when you position your foot over a custom foot orthotic, it starts sitting and functioning differently than it had seconds earlier – much like when you put in a hearing aid or put on a new pair of prescription glasses. And there are almost no treatment routes that can deliver the same results in the same instant timeframe – without you having to do months of rehab, exercises, undergo specialised treatments, or in the most extreme case, have surgery with its weeks or months of downtime and recovery (and no ‘guaranteed’ results, if we’re being honest).  

What About Footbeds And Insoles?

Foot orthotics are highly specialised medical devices that are prescribed by a qualified podiatrist after a comprehensive assessment of your feet, legs, clinical testing, diagnosis, and consideration of various lifestyle factors. They’re customised for each individual’s unique foot structure, much like prescription glasses are tailored to individuals eyesight requirements.  On the other hand, footbeds or insoles – which are most commonly viewed as the orthotic ‘alternative’ – are generic shoe liners that assume a lot about your feet and don’t have the skill, experience, modifications and technology to provide long-term changes to your foot health and injury risk. At best, they may offer temporary comfort (much like how sticking any foot cushion in your shoe might), but they don’t address the root cause of your foot problem. Hence, their minuscule price tag for a very ‘disposable’ item.  

Legitimate Alternatives To Orthotics

With all this said, alternative treatments to orthotics do exist in terms of fixing your foot pain or problems without involving orthotics in your treatment, and it’s important to know that you have options. Here at Perform Podiatry, we offer a range of treatments for certain conditions and injuries – you can explore our range here. We take the time to explain each treatment and its expected outcomes to help you make an informed decision. We may need to take more aggressive approaches to certain treatments – like temporary offloading for a few weeks with a moon boot or walker (in severe cases), but will always work with you to ensure you’re happy with your course of treatment and if that means you don’t want to try orthotics in the instances that they’re clinically indicated, then we’ll always honour and respect that, and make a treatment plan accordingly.  

Are Your Orthotics Different?

Compared to footbeds, insoles and even other prescription orthotics from other clinics? Honestly – yes. The thing with orthotics is that part of their performance and efficacy is dependent upon the experience, precision and knowledge of both the practitioner prescribing them and how they’re manufactured. And with our orthotics, we’re incredibly proud to have leading orthotist and former lecturer in orthotic prescription and creation, Martin Kane, create these by hand for us – meaning you get extreme care and skill with every pair. You can learn more about our orthotics here, or click here to book an appointment with one of our Auckland podiatrists at our clinic on Remuera Road.

How Can I Prevent And Treat Blisters On My Feet?

Blisters: they’re an enemy that most of us are far too familiar with – often accompanied by a fantastic new pair of shoes that we were initially very excited about. Instead, we’re left in pain and uncomfortable, searching for anything we can place over the blisters to cover them up and stop the stinging. Blisters develop when the skin on your feet rubs against shoes or other surfaces, leading to a buildup of fluid under the skin. Blisters can be caused by a variety of factors, including friction, pressure, or heat that damages the outer layer of skin. Specifically, ill-fitting shoes, repetitive rubbing movements, excessive moisture, and sunburn (less common for the feet, but still possible) are all culprits.

Preventing Blisters on Your Feet

Given the severe level of pain that these tiny but powerful bubbles can inflict on us, it’s always a good idea to take steps, where possible, to prevent them. This includes: Choosing The Right Footwear One of the best ways to prevent blisters on your feet is to wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Shoes that are too tight or too loose can cause friction and pressure on your feet, leading to blisters. Look for shoes with a wide toe box that allows your toes to move freely, and avoid shoes with high heels or pointed toes. Break in New Shoes New shoes can be stiff and tight, which can cause blisters on your feet. To prevent this, break in new shoes gradually by wearing them for short periods of time at first and gradually increasing the length of time you wear them. You can also try stretching the shoes before wearing them to help loosen them up. Wear Moisture-Wicking Socks Moisture can contribute to the formation of blisters on your feet. To prevent this, wear moisture-wicking socks that help to keep your feet dry. Avoid cotton socks, as they tend to trap moisture and can contribute to blister formation. Use Protective Padding If you have a spot on your foot that is prone to blisters, and you’re about to go for a long walk or hike, re recommend using protective padding to prevent friction and pressure. Moleskin or gel pads are good options for protecting your feet from blisters – and your podiatry clinic may have their own preferred recommendations, or even some available for purchase. Treating Blisters on Your Feet Once blisters have developed, there’s only one goal: to get them healed up as quickly as possible and to prevent further irritation that will worsen your symptoms and pain. Here are our tips for treating blisters at home: Leave Blisters Intact If you do develop a blister on your foot, it is important to leave it intact. The blister provides a protective layer over the damaged skin and helps to prevent infection. If the blister breaks, clean the area with soap and water, apply an antibiotic ointment, and cover it with a sterile bandage. Use Compresses To help relieve pain and reduce swelling, you can apply a cold compress to the blistered area. A bag of ice wrapped in a towel or a cold, wet washcloth can provide relief. You can also use a warm compress to help reduce pain and speed up healing. Use An Antibacterial Ointment If your blister has popped, apply an antibacterial ointment to help prevent infection. Cover the blister with a sterile bandage to keep it clean and protected. Rest Your Feet If you have a blister on your foot, it is important to rest your feet and avoid putting pressure on the affected area. This will help to prevent further irritation and allow the blister to heal. Absolutely avoid doing the activities that caused your blister to form in the first place.

Should You Drain A Blister?

Generally, we do not recommend popping blisters. This is because this ‘opens’ up the blister and makes it more vulnerable to further damage, as well as infections. However, in some cases, like when the blister is large or in an area like the back of your heel where you know it’s going to be exposed to pressure that is likely to take the top of the blister off anyway, it may be necessary to lance the blister.  To do this, take a clean, disinfected needle and poke the blister from the side to drain the fluid. Once the fluid is removed, the pressure will subside. Then, soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes in lukewarm water with Epsom salts. Using Betadine to help dry up the blister will speed up the healing process, keeping it safely covered and protected. You should notice your blister and the area around it getting better over the following days. If it’s not, contact your podiatrist immediately.

Need Advice On Blisters, Or Help Treating Or Preventing Them?

Then our team is here for you. We’re proud to be Auckland’s leading podiatry team, and understand the impact that painful blisters can have on your daily life and in helping you meet your health and fitness goals. Book your appointment by calling us on 09 523 2333 or book online here.

How Can I Prevent And Treat Foot Odour?

You call it having smelly or stinky feet, we call it bromodosis. Unpleasant foot odour is a relatively common, albeit often embarrassing, problem that affects approximately one in five people. It occurs when sweat and bacteria accumulate on the feet, creating an unpleasant odour. While foot odour is not usually a serious medical condition given that it often poses little threat to a person’s overall health and wellbeing, it can definitely make people feel self-conscious. The good news is that there are several ways to prevent and treat foot odour that often require little effort and can be done at home. Here’s a few things you can start with. 

Dry Your Feet Well After Every Shower

Drying your feet well after every shower, bath and any time you get wet – like after swimming – is an essential part of helping to prevent ongoing foot odour. This is because moisture creates a favourable environment for bacteria to grow, which is the leading cause of foot odour. When your feet are damp or wet, bacteria can easily multiply. By drying your feet thoroughly after every shower or bath, you can help remove excess moisture, which can limit the growth of bacteria. It is especially important to dry between your toes, as this is an area where moisture easily becomes trapped, particularly if you have hammertoes, claw toes, bunions or other foot problems which keeps the toes close together.

Wear Breathable Shoes And Socks

When your feet are enclosed in tight, non-breathable footwear, such as plastic or rubber shoes, they easily become moist and warm, creating a favourable environment for the growth of bacteria and fungi. These microorganisms thrive in warm and moist conditions, leading to smells developing. Breathable shoes and socks, on the other hand, allow air to circulate around your feet, helping to keep them dry and cool. This makes it difficult for bacteria and fungi to grow, reducing the likelihood of foot odour. Materials such as leather and canvas are excellent choices for shoes, as they are naturally breathable and allow air to circulate around the feet. Socks made of natural materials such as cotton or wool are also good choices, as they can absorb moisture and allow air to circulate around the feet.

Switch Between Different Pairs Of Shoes

Rotating your shoes allows your shoes to dry out completely between wears. Moisture is one of the main causes of foot odour, as it creates an ideal environment for bacteria and fungi to grow. When you wear the same pair of shoes every day, they may not have enough time to dry out completely, allowing bacteria and fungi to multiply. As an aside, when shoes are worn moist, they also wear out faster. By rotating your shoes, you can give them time to dry out completely, reducing the likelihood of bacterial and fungal growth. This is especially important if you sweat excessively or live in a humid environment, as your shoes may become damp more easily. Plus, you can also help prolong the lifespan of your shoes.

If You Have A Known Fungal Or Bacterial Foot Infection, Treat It

Given that the causes of foot odour are bacterial and fungal foot infections, treating existing infections can help solve a lot of the foot odour problem. Bacterial and fungal nail infections occur when bacteria or fungi invade the nail bed and nail plate. They can cause a range of symptoms, including thickened, discoloured, and brittle nails, as well as an unpleasant odour. These infections can also spread to the surrounding skin, causing additional symptoms such as redness, swelling, and itching. To treat bacterial or fungal nail infections, antifungal medications, topical antibacterials, or a combination of both may be used. This is something that should be discussed with your podiatrist or doctor, as your specific treatment plan will depend on the severity of the infection and your medical history. It should be noted that some smells may persist even after fungus and bacteria have been eliminated, as other factors such as sweating and poor hygiene can also both contribute to foot odour.

Wash Your Insoles

Periodically washing your shoe liners, if they’re removable, may also help. If you have orthotics, these can also be cleaned – just make sure to follow the instructions from your podiatrist carefully and ensure they are completely dry before putting them back in your shoe.

See A Podiatrist

While home remedies including the suggestions above can go a long way in treating fungal nail infections, if they’re not working for you, it may be time to see a podiatrist. Your podiatrist will evaluate your feet, understand the cause of the persistent odour and why it’s not responding to other treatment options, and recommend stronger treatments, such as prescription-strength antiperspirants or topical medications. If you’re struggling with foot odour and need help, book your appointment by calling us on 09 523 2333 or book online here.

Signs Your Heel Pain Is From A Heel Spur

Heel spurs are a hot topic in our clinic – particularly around whether they’re the underlying cause of a person’s ongoing or recurring heel pain. There’s a lot of confusion and misconceptions around heel spurs, especially in relation to plantar fasciitis heel pain. Here’s what you should know about heel spurs from the heel pain experts.

What Is A Heel Spur?

A heel spur is a bony growth that develops on the underside of the heel bone (calcaneus). It typically forms in response to repeated stress or pressure on the heel, which causes calcium deposits to accumulate and harden over time. Heel spurs can range in size and shape, and they may or may not cause pain or discomfort. They are often associated with plantar fasciitis, a condition that involves inflammation of the tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes. It should be noted that bony spurs can develop in areas all around the body where a tendon attaches to bone. This includes a spur at the back of the heel bone, at the Achilles tendon.

What Causes Heel Spurs?

Bony spurs develop when soft tissues repetitively apply stress to the bone that they are attached to. This may be the result of overdoing it during exercise, poor foot mechanics that overload the tendons, medical conditions like arthritis or gout, wearing unsupportive footwear that leads to excess strain on the tendons, and may even be linked to the ageing process, where our bones and tissues naturally grow weaker.

What Are The Symptoms Of Heel Spurs?

Interestingly, the majority of people we see with heel spurs do not experience any symptoms, painful or otherwise, and the spurs are often detected incidentally on X-rays or other imaging tests. However, when symptoms do occur, they can include:
  • Pain: this is felt on the bottom of the heel. The pain is often described as a sharp, stabbing sensation that worsens with standing, walking, or running.
  • Inflammation: the plantar fascia (the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes and the one affected in the condition plantar fasciitis), can occur alongside heel spurs. This can cause swelling, redness, and warmth in the affected area.
  • Tenderness: the area around the heel spur may be tender to the touch.
  • Stiffness: there may be stiffness or reduced flexibility in the affected foot.
  • Difficulty walking: the pain and discomfort associated with heel spurs can make it difficult to walk normally, especially first thing in the morning or after periods of rest.

How Are Heel Spurs Diagnosed?

The only way to confidently diagnose a heel spur is via x-ray medical imaging. With this said, it’s important to note that the majority of heel pain we see is not caused by heel spurs. Other conditions, primarily plantar fasciitis, as well as Achilles tendonitis, can also cause similar symptoms. Hence, x-rays are not often used to investigate heel spurs specifically further.

What Is The Treatment For Heel Spurs?

The treatment for heel spurs is very similar to the treatment for plantar fasciitis heel pain, given the spur develops at the insertion of the fascia. This includes using custom foot orthotics, wearing good, supportive footwear, and starting a rehab program with stretching and strengthening exercises. Your podiatrist will discuss your management plan in full during your appointment, once we confirm what the cause of your heel pain truly is.

Can Heel Spurs Be Prevented?

While not all heel spurs can be prevented, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk of developing a spur. This includes wearing well-fitting, supportive footwear, stretching regularly before physical activity, maintaining good technique and form during exercise, not going too hard too fast during exercise and straining your tendons, and keeping conditions like rheumatoid arthritis well managed.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Heel Spurs?

The recovery time for heel spurs can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the individual’s response to treatment. With proper treatment, you can expect a significant improvement in your symptoms within six to eight weeks. In more severe cases, recovery may take several months.

Can Heel Spurs Come Back After Treatment?

Yes, if the original cause of the heel spur is not properly addressed, then they can recur when the tissues are again repeatedly strained and overused.

Do I Need Surgery For Heel Spurs?

In most cases, no. Most cases of heel spurs can be effectively managed with non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy, orthotics, and wearing supportive footwear. Surgery is typically reserved for severe cases of heel spurs that do not respond to conservative treatments. Struggling with heel spurs? Our podiatry team is here to help. We’re proud to offer exceptional podiatry and heel pain care in Remuera, Newmarket and the surrounding areas. Book your appointment with our podiatrists by calling us on 09 523 2333 or book online here.