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.

Fixing Curly Toes: Hammertoes, Claw Toes & Mallet Toes

So you’ve developed a hammertoe – or maybe you’ve noticed that your child’s toes are starting to curl. So what can you do about it? Should you do anything about it? What if there’s no pain – is it fine to leave them? Today, Auckland’s premier podiatry team, Perform Podiatry, talks about the causes and treatment of curly toes.

What are the different kinds of curly toes?

Hammertoes, claw toes and mallet toes are the three most common kinds of ‘curly toes’. These are medically known as clinodactyly, which translates to the ‘curvature of a digit’. The difference between the three lies in which joints the curvature is found and in which direction it is occurring. The lesser toes contain three joints – one at the ball of the foot and two within the toe. Here are the differences between the three conditions:

What causes these changes to the toe shape?

We have muscles and tendons running across the toes and attaching to the joints. When these muscles and tendons pull on the toe (which can happen from various causes), an imbalance occurs and the joint moves, curling the toe upwards or downwards. While these changes may be flexible at first, over time, the joints can become stiff and rigid. The causes of the imbalance may be:
    • The length of your toes – a common place for a hammertoe is at the second toe, when the second toe is longer than the big toe
    • Footwear – wearing tight or narrow shoes where your toes bump against the end of the shoes or are kept in a bent position can cause the toes to curl permanently
    • Toe injuries – when your toes or feet are injured, curly toes are more likely to develop
    • Poor foot posture or alignment
    • Arthritis and other medical conditions – when you have medical conditions that affect the joints, the toes may be more likely to curl

Do curly toes cause pain?

While the changes to the joint shape and position do not typically cause pain, the resulting position of the toes can lead to painful complications. These include corns, callus, blisters, thickened nails or nail damage, metatarsalgia (forefoot pain), and difficulty fitting closed-toe shoes comfortably. This is a particular risk for those with diabetes or issues with circulation, as they are more likely to develop ulcers from areas of friction on the toes as a result of curled toe shape.

How are curly toes treated?

Curly toes fall into two distinct categories – those that are still flexible and may respond to treatment, and those that are stiff and will not respond to regular care. For those that are stiff, the goal is to keep your feet as comfortable as possible while reducing the risk of the complications we mentioned above. This can be done by wearing shoes with a wide toe box, using devices to offload the toes, and caring for any corns, calluses or other problems that arise. For curly toes that have recently developed and are still flexible, we have a range of toe props and other devices that can be worn to encourage the toes to straighten. The best device will depend on which toes and joints have been affected.

Is your goal to get back to straight toes and comfortable feet?

Then our experienced podiatrists here at Perform Podiatry are here to help. Book an appointment by calling 09 523 2333 or book online here.

Medical Pedicures: Why You Should Replace Your Salon Pedicure With A Medi Pedi

Having your nails and the skin on your feet taken care of feels great. What feels even better is walking away feeling confident that your foot care has performed safely, under strict hygiene and sterilisation protocols, and by registered podiatrists that have dedicated their careers to learning everything there is to know about your feet and how to best care for their health. This is exactly what medical pedicures offer here at Perform Podiatry, and why they are the #1 choice.

Salon hygiene in New Zealand: It’s a problem

It was previously found that 88% of nail salons here in Aotearoa failed to meet adequate disinfection and sterilisation standards. These standards aren’t complicated, outrageous or challenging, either. They simply dictate that appropriate measures should be taken to clean and sterilise both the premises of the salons and the tools they use so they don’t just get moved from person to person with a glass of water in between, which now tends to be the norm from what we’ve observed. The goal of taking the right measures is very simple and effective, it minimises your risk of picking up an infection, Infections can take hold via your toenails or from getting a cut in your skin (among others), thereby sterilisation and disinfection are critical tools for helping reduce the likelihood of negative health outcomes as a result of the service. While we personally haven’t spoken to any salon owners about the reasons they don’t meet these standards, there is one obvious reason we know from our own experience. Maintaining excellent – and even good – hygiene and sterility protocols is time-consuming and expensive Here at Perform Podiatry, every single tool we use to care for your feet must be steam sterilised in a controlled cycle for approximately two hours – a cycle that reaches over 200 degrees celsius, and is proven to effectively sterilise each instrument and that is carefully documented on all our records. Prior to the sterilisation, the tools are also cleaned and managed – and that’s just the instruments, we haven’t even started on the clinic room and chair. All of our standards are heavily regulated and audited by a professional board, so you can be sure that they’re up to scratch.

What does a medical pedicure service include?

Our medical pedicures start with trimming your toenails using our German-made and individually steam-sterilised nail clippers, reducing any hard areas of dry, dead callused skin, removing any corns from the feet and toes, treating and reducing any cracks in the heels, and managing similar problems using a surgical-grade scalpel. We make sure to remove any skin, dirt and anything else trapped beneath or down the sides of the nail with a sterilised file. When this build-up is allowed to remain, you can experience discomfort, pressure, and you may be more vulnerable to infection. Part of your treatment uses a precision burr to reduce the thickness of the nails where needed, while smoothing the ridges of the nails and removing overgrown cuticles and jagged nail ends. All our burrs are steam-sterilised and we have a large variety of different sizes, shapes and materials for each purpose – whether it be reducing a very thick, crumbly nail or polishing a delicate, thin nail. Your dry, flaky skin and uneven skin will be smoothed and reduced and a disposable nail file is used to smooth out any final edges that may catch on your socks or stockings. The nails are then cleaned with a clear antiseptic spray, followed by tea tree oil – a natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Finally, we apply the appropriate moisturiser to your feet to have you feeling great on your feet!

Diabetes & other medical conditions can put you at risk

If you’ve been told that you’re at high-risk when it comes to your foot health then having your feet taken care of professionally and in a sterile environment is particularly important. This is because with diabetes, neurological or neurovascular problems, you’re at a higher risk of injuring your feet and not being able to recover well – making you vulnerable to a series of problems and complications. 

Ready to feel great on your feet?

We’re Auckland’s trusted podiatry team, and part of the team at the One Health Building on Remuera Road. To book your appointment, call us on 09 523 2333 or book your appointment online.

Stretching For Recovery – Is What You’re Being Told TRUE or FALSE?

Here at Perform Podiatry, we treat a lot of foot and leg pain. It’s our speciality! And while orthotics are a very important component of the treatment plan, there are other components too – namely stretching and strengthening, as well as having the right footwear during your recovery. Because we’ve recently seen a few patients who had either been given advice by a professional or read online some pretty crazy advice about stretching when you have foot or leg pain, we thought we’d set the record straight with some statements we’ve heard. We’ve put together some true/false statements that may turn what you think about stretching upside down, or just completely confirm everything that you already know. Here we go…   FALSE: You should start stretching from the moment you sustain an injury. TRUTH: You should start stretching and strengthening once your initial painful symptoms settle, some healing/repair has occurred and you’re on the path to recovery. The reality is that if you’ve got a damaged, swollen and painful tissue that has recently sustained an injury and you go and try to stretch it straight away, it’s going to be very painful and may potentially further damage the vulnerable tissue. That’s why you wait until the initial symptoms have settled and you’ve begun the treatment plan.   FALSE: You should spend as much time stretching as you can, doing over 100 repetitions a day as the goal. TRUTH: You should ease into stretching and strengthening, starting off slow and mild and gradually increasing to 10-15 minutes a day. We recently had a patient tell us that she was instructed to do 100+ single limb raises (which means going up to the toes on one foot while having the other off the ground) for her painful plantar fasciitis and to say we were shocked is an understatement. Stretching and strengthening following an injury must be a gradual process, to gently begin lengthening and strengthening the tissues and returning their function while being very careful not to cause further damage or overdo it. It’s just like running a marathon – you don’t begin by jumping into a 42km run – you start with a slow couple of km’s and work your way up.   FALSE: You should keep doing stretches, even if they’re painful. TRUTH: You should feel a tightness when you’re stretching, but never pain. If you feel pain, stop immediately. Pain is our body’s way of letting us know that something is wrong. LISTEN to your body. It’s completely normal to feel a ‘tightness’ when you begin stretching a muscle or tendon that isn’t used to being stretched, but if you feel pain instead, it means you’re pulling on a damaged site and potentially causing more harm than good. When the damaged tissue has recovered enough to withstand some stress and stretching, then begin again.   FALSE: Stretching and strengthening alone will fix your foot injury. TRUTH: Stretching and strengthening will assist your recovery from your foot injury AND can reduce the risk of future re-injury. Any treatment must address the various causes of the injury. If the wait you walk combined with your footwear and an increase in physical activity has resulted in an injury, then stretching and strengthening alone won’t help you fix the problem. That’s because when you start getting active again in the same shoes and with the same gait, you’ll strain the same muscles again and the pain will return. However! If the way you walk has also resulted in some tight calf muscles that contributed to the development of your problem, then stretching them will definitely help, especially with reducing the risk of the injury happening again in the future. Regardless of the cause of your foot or leg pain, our team have years of biomechanical experience to get the best outcomes for you – and keep the pain gone! We never just look at your symptoms but get to the root of the problem to make sure you recover well and the problem doesn’t return. For more information or to book an appointment, you can give us a call on 09 523 2333 or book online here.

Three Ways Orthotics Will Help The Pain At The Ball Of Your Foot

This article is for you if you have:
  • Pain at the ball of your foot (forefoot)
  • Have been wondering if orthotics could help decrease your pain or improve your comfort
  • Have orthotics but unsure how they are working (and if something could be done to make them even more effective!)
Orthotics have the ability to reduce pain, facilitate the healing of injuries, make walking and running much more comfortable and really add positively to your quality of life. While a lot of expertise and care goes into each orthotic prescription we make, you get given this device that replaces the inner sole of your shoes, without perhaps knowing the inner workings and theory behind it. As you start feeling the difference, you may be left wondering exactly how the orthotics are working and resulting in your symptom relief. Perhaps you know someone whose orthotics haven’t produced the same great results that yours have. Well, today we’re answering all these questions and sharing three ways that orthotics can start helping your forefoot pain today! Here we go…

#1. Orthotics take pressure away from damaged joints, tissues, ligaments and bones

Custom orthotics have features or additions. When we talk about forefoot pain, we often talk about adding an addition to the forefoot and midfoot that will actually remove the regular pressure away from damaged bones and joints – or at least decrease it significantly. Picture this. Your big toe joint is injured. Every time you walk, you put pressure along the whole foot including that joint. You put a big cushion beneath the foot, but not beneath the big toe joint. As you walk and your midfoot is supported and cushioned, the big toe joint drops down in front of the cushion but doesn’t really touch the ground. No direct pressure means no pain. And voila! Of course, it’s a lot more technical than that. You can’t actually put a giant cushion beneath your foot. You won’t be able to walk normally or wear normal shoes so ultimately you’ll put your regular shoes back on and BAM – painful symptoms. Instead, we incorporate this carefully into your orthotics that work with your everyday shoes, through pads and cut-outs and various other techniques we have up our sleeve. And by techniques, we mean evidence-based thoroughly-researched and proven techniques.

#2. Orthotics support the bones and tissues of the arch, stopping their collapse and the narrowing of the space between them

Hold out your hand, bring your fingers flat together, and imagine these fingers as the long bones of your feet. Now, imagine that there is something between the bones. It could be a nerve, ligament, muscle, a common mass like a cyst, or something else. If that structure gets damaged, one of the first things that’ll happen is that it will swell. When it swells, it gets larger and takes up more of that space between the bones. The bones then will rub against it and push on it, it will be sore and painful, and this will continue until you put your feet up and rest. Unfortunately, when you put your feet back on the ground, the process just starts up again until you can relieve pressure away from the area for long enough for it to heal. Sounds pretty hard to keep the foot up when we’ve got jobs and daily tasks where walking is essential, right? Yep! The solution? An addition within the orthotic that supports the foot and opens up the space between the bones. Good amount of space = no direct rubbing = healing can proceed. No magic here, just good ol’ science, precision and biomechanics.

#3. Orthotics help absorb shock and hence the impact forces through the forefoot

To help explain this one, we’re going to backtrack back to physics. Remember Newton’s third law? The one that says that every force has an equal and opposite reaction force? Let’s start here. If you hit your foot hard against the ground right now (please don’t), your foot won’t bounce back. Instead, you’ll feel a force, and maybe some shock or pain, coming back through your foot (the opposite and equal force). Now, imagine this kind of force occurring every time you run or jump. Did we mention that you exert a force equal to three timesyour body weight during running? For some, the force will be transferred effectively through their feet, bones and tissues, and they’ll feel little impact. For others, inefficient gait (movement) will result in much more stress and shock through the feet, which can lead to pains and problems. Here’s where the orthotics come in. Where the biomechanics of the feet are lacking, orthotics can step in and work to absorb shock and ground reaction forces as we take step after step. This can mean a significant reduction of pain and symptoms through our feet, and have us feeling much more comfortable after a long day at work. So there we have it! Just three of the many ways that orthotics can help with forefoot pain, among the variety of other foot and leg pathologies they can help with. Keep in mind that not all orthotics are created the same – each custom orthotic is made following the precise script of the prescribing practitioner – that’s why it’s very important that you see a Podiatrist that specialises in orthotics and lower limb biomechanics. This also explains why orthotics work brilliantly for some people and not so for others – because they weren’t designed or created as optimally as they could be. If you feel like your current orthotics just aren’t doing the job and would like to book in with our orthotic specialists here at Perform Podiatry to have them checked, give us a call on 09 523 2333 or book online here.