Keeping Your Resolutions Shouldn’t Hurt, Your Feet!

Did you make yourself a promise to exercise more in 2014? If so, congratulations! Done right, exercise can make you Plantar Fasciitis Painfeel good all over. But if you overdo, or forget to give your feet the comfort and support they need, that well-intentioned exercise can lead to some very painful problems.

One painful foot condition, know as plantar fasciitis sneaks up on you over time, then attacks with a sharp, stabbing pain in your arch and heel – particularly when you first get up out of bed. It is often only present in one foot, but may present itself in both feet when left untreated.

As the day wears on, the pain may get better. But it often comes back after you’ve been sitting for a while or in situations where you have to be on your feet for long periods of time.

WHY IT HURTS

Plantar Fasciitis is caused by repeated overstretching of the plantar fascia, a tough band of tissue that runs from your heel to your toes and serves as a shock absorber for your feet. This overstretching can lead to inflammation and even small tears in the plantar fascia.

Plantar fasciitis tends to develop gradually but unless you make changes to protect your feet it just keeps on getting worse, causing not only heel pain but arch pain and heel spurs as well.

WHO’S AT RISK?

Women and older people are more likely to experience plantar fasciitis, but there are a number of other things that can put you at risk, including:

  • Overpronation. This basically means your arch drops and rolls inward with every step you take, thus stretching the plantar fascia. Also referred to as flat feet, it’s the most common cause of plantar fasciitis. However, having extremely high arches or faulty walking mechanics can cause problems as well.
  • Shoes that don’t support the feet. Without proper support your feet take a beating whenever you walk. High heels are a problem too, because worn regularly they shorten the Achilles tendon and put added strain on the area around your heel.
  • Certain exercise programs. Exercise is good for you, but activities like long distance running and dance aerobics that put lots of stress on heels can cause plantar fasciitis to flare up.
  • Work that keeps you on your feet. Long hours standing or walking on hard floors mean added stress on your plantar fascia.
  • Overweight. Extra pounds put extra stress on your feet.

TAKING STEPS TO END THE PAIN

Never try to “play through” the pain. Instead, switch to lower stress athletic activities like swimming or cycling.

Without proper care, plantar fasciitis can progress to the point where you are in pain whenever you stand or walk.

Fortunately there are things you can do to help relieve the pain and stress and let your foot start healing, including:

  • Over-the-counter pain medications like Advil, Aleve, Motrin and others. These won’t solve the problem but can give some primary relief.
  • Ice your heel and keep it up when you aren’t standing.
  • Give your feet a rest. As much as possible, avoid activities like running or standing for long periods.
  • Change your footwear. Select shoes that provide support and cushioning.
  • Add a custom arch support to help spread your weight as you walk.
  • Stretch. A physical therapist can show you exercises to stretch your Achilles tendon, plantar fascia and lower leg muscles.
  • Use a night splint to keep your plantar fascia stretched and prevent morning pain.
  • Lose excess weight. Lower weight means less pressure on your feet.

Have you had experiences with plantar fasciitis? How did you relieve the pain? Let us know below.

Top 10 Stocking Stuffers

When it comes to feet, stocking stuffers that excite the senses as much as the feet are hard to come by. Below you’ll find our top 10 stocking stuffers for tender tootsies.

1. Foot Rubz

FootRubzThe Foot Rubz Massage Ball is designed to stimulate acupressure points in your feet, hands and body, to help relieve soreness and pain. You can roll it under your feet, in your hands or over any sore or tired muscle to relax or eliminate tension. You control the depth of massage with applied pressure to ensure the utmost relief of muscle soreness. Small enough to fit in the palm of the hand, this easy-to-use Massage Ball is great for use anytime, anywhere.

2. Socks

TekoSocksOur newest brand, Teko, isn’t only committed to making the best socks ON the planet, they also strive to make the best socks FOR the planet! Made from 100% post-consumer plastics and organic Merino wool from Argentinian farms that take conservation seriously, these socks are designed to be durable to keep you from having to replace them too frequently. The production facilities are powered by wind energy and carbon offsets are purchased whenever staff needs to travel. Available in a multitude of colours these socks are sure to please even the most environmentally conscious consumer.

3. Nail Polish

Fiore_Rx-_Pink_Peppermint_Pie-_brush_out_angled_SmallNail fungus infection (onychomycosis) is a serious health and cosmetic concern made worse by the growing popularity of nail polish for fingers and toes. No one understands that trend more than podiatrists and dermatologists, who have long advocated the idea of developing an over-the-counter nail polish specifically formulated to protect against nail fungus. Available in several fashion forward colours, as well as matte for men, these polishes are designed to dazzle and protect.

4. Foot Files

StepNSmoothThe Step-N-Smooth foot file can help gently file dry, cracked soles without the hassle of traditional handheld foot files and pumice stones. Designed for placement on the shower floor, this foot file easily exfoliates feet and safely removes corns and calluses. Have trouble bending? The Step-n-Smooth Shower Foot File is ideal for individuals who have difficulty bending or for anyone who wants soft, smooth feet with less hassle.

5. Foot Creams

Dry skin, cracked heels, tired legs, sore feet, sweaty feet, smelly feet? Our creams from Gehwol and FootLogix are designed to help pamper the feet and legs with natural oils such as lanolin in combination with aloe vera and urea. When applied these creams help to restore the skin’s elasticity, suppleness and smoothness. All creams are designed to strengthen and revitalise the feet, are dermatologically tested and suitable for diabetics. Give the gift of smooth, supple skin.

6. FootLogix Flip Flop

FlipFlopsFootLogixA gift that can be combined with item #3, this package combines a pair of one size fits all flip flops with 2 FootLogix creams to make your feet’s skin feel gentler than a baby’s bum at a special introductory price.

7. Shoe Horns

Our metal shoe horns are designed for durability and will help prevent your shoes’ heel counters from breaking down, if used appropriately. Looking for something more festive? The elegance of our Rosewood shoe horns is only surpassed by their ability to help you slip your shoes on from a distance.

8. Anti-fungal Pen

ProPenAntiFungalAntiFungal Application on the go! The dry-oil pen applicator delivers a no-mess, no-spill, targeted treatment for fungal nails. It contains 25% Undecylenic Acid, the maximum strength available without a prescription and conveniently fits in a pocket, purse or athletic bag. An alternative to brush-on nail products and ideal for anyone on the go!

9. Shoe Laces

Colours, colours, colours. Pink, neon green, red, orange, yellow… Need to make your running shoes more exciting? Have a loved one who likes to stand out in a crowd? Laces are the perfect gift to bring out your true colours.

10. Gift Certificate

GiftCertificateNot sure what to give? Gift certificates are available in any denomination and make the perfect stocking stuffer of endless possibilities. Eligible at our 2 locations in Vancouver or West Vancouver, your loved one is sure to find comfort in our selection of shoes, orthotics, arch supports and socks. Purchase them online here: buy.

The Great Outdoors – Walking for Stress Relief

The leaves are turning colour and the air is getting crisper. Fall can be the perfect time to enjoy a walk in the park, on the beach or down a winding country road. That kind of walk has even more benefits than you may suspect.

Hiking VancouverWalking in a natural setting can help ease stress and lift your spirits, and studies show that it can help you sleep better, boost your memory and even help you be more creative. Best of all, getting up and out into the great outdoors is just plain fun. Just remember to bring along your favourite walking boots or shoes.

Chances are your favourite places to walk are the parks and trails nearby. But if you’re looking for a more demanding adventure, check out some of our favourites:

1. Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge
A favourite, this hike takes you through the lush forests of North Vancouver and is kid and dog friendly. From the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge parking lot head across the suspension bridge and then left towards the Seymour Demonstration Forest for a serious stair climber workout. Then loop back across the pipeline bridge and along the river.

2. The Stawamus Chief
Located less than an hour North of Vancouver the Chief is a great upper and lower leg workout that can easily compete with your gym’s stair climber. Tackle the first peak for a beautiful view over Howe Sound or take on the challenge of all three peaks to break a serious sweat.

3. Crown Mountain
Looking for a challenge bigger than the Grouse Grind, yet delivering breathtaking city and mountain vistas? Your Crown Mountain adventure, best tackled in the summer and early fall, starts at the base of Grouse. After tackling the Grouse Grind head North towards Goat Mountain. From Goat ridge head West down a steep trail and then back up the other side to enjoy the breathtaking views of Crown Mountain.

4. Hollyburn Mountain
An intermediate trail in the North Shore mountains, this trail can also be accessed with snow shoes during the winter season. The mountaintop offers wonderful vistas of the Lions, Howe Sound and the city.

5. Mount Cheam
A 90 minute drive from Vancouver, trail head access is a more challenging aspect than the hike itself. A 4×4 vehicle is recommended to gain easy access to the trail head. Stop by Mount Cheam in August for a colourful display of wildflowers.

We want to know. What brand of shoes is making your outdoor activities extra special?

How Healthy Are Your Feet?

FeetA recent article in the Wall Street Journal addresses many of the foot complaints we see on a daily basis at our stores. Feet aren’t meant to hurt, yet many of us walk and stand long hours in shoes that have little to no support, apply too much pressure on the forefoot, or lack the stability or cushion required to reduce stress on ankles, knees and hips.

Have you checked your feet lately?

Feet are usually ignored until they hurt so much they can’t take another step. Checking your feet for red blemishes after slipping off your shoes can make you aware of first signs of foot abuse. Red marks on feet require attention, as the additional pressure can result in blisters, corns, circulation troubles or ulcerations (in severe cases where neuropathy causes lack of feeling in the foot). Oftentimes this type of pressure requires nothing more than a stretch at the spot of pressure. However, on other occasions a wider shoe may be necessary to reduce pressure on the feet.

Callousing

Calluses will appear on the bottom of the foot. These are usually not much cause for concern if they take up the entire ball of the foot or heel. However, rough skin may make your significant other cringe when playing footsie under the table. Use creams (such as FootLogix or Gehwol) to help soften the skin and restore its elasticity and suppleness.

Calluses that are specific to a small area of skin on the ball of the foot may cause pain when walking, as the pressure from the hardened skin will apply pressure on the bone located beneath. This may require orthotics, metatarsal pads or cutouts to relieve the pressure and prevent the callous from reappearing over time.

Ingrown Nails

Are your shoes too short? Shoes that are too short or narrow at the toe may cause nails to grow into the skin when used over extended periods of time. We recommend buying shoes that offer at least a finger’s width of space between the longest toe and the end of the shoe (test when standing). When dress footwear is required for work look for shoes with a square toe box to increase space for toes.

Not sure about the bill of health of your feet? Stop by your nearest Foot Solutions location for a free foot assessment or leave a comment or question below.

How many shoes does it take to carry you 1100kms from Hope to Calgary?

Bart Zych - I for Community Project

In June Foot Solutions advocate Bart Zych left for a 1100km walk to Calgary to raise money for an organization that helps underprivileged and neglected kids find a positive path in life. Having had surgeries on both of his knees he wanted to prove to himself that he could overcome adversity. Armed with a modified jogging stroller and a tent he set out on June 17th. See how our shoes held up over his 1100km trek: click here.

Standing On Your Feet All Day?

Standing in one place for hours at a time can be exhausting and hard on the feet. Here are some strategies you can use to keep the Nurse, Doctor, Retail, Warehouse, Staffpressure off:

  • Try to walk as much as possible, as opposed to standing still in a single position
  • If walking is not an option, lift one leg at a time and rotate the ankle
  • Don’t wear high heeled footwear, as it shifts your weight on the balls of your feet
  • Invest in an anti-fatigue mat or an area carpet to improve cushioning at your work station
  • From time to time slip off your shoes, stand on your tippy-toes, then return to a full weight-bearing position, flex your feet and wiggle your toes
  • Shift your body weight from one foot to the other or try standing with one foot in front of the other

Stop by your local Foot Solutions store to learn how sole-soothing inserts and footwear can help relieve achy feet, knees and back.

Treat Toenail Fungus with Tea Tree Oil

Recently I had the pleasure of connecting with Michelle Glover, PhD, from the “Tea Tree Oil Review”, teatreeoilwho was kind enough to forward me a copy of her ebook on fungal toenail treatments, describing the benefits of tea tree oil for fungal nails. Her web site offers a wealth of information on tea tree oil, including a history of the oil, tea tree oil recipes and more.

Although we have large success rates with the Footlogix Anti-Fungal Toe Tincture, which contains avocado oil and Panthenol, we often recommend tea tree oil as a more natural alternative. However, as you will find when reading her ebook, most treatments (including medication) have only a 60% success rate.

If you’re considering topical solutions to treat your fungal infection, be sure to consider the following tips to help speed up recovery:

  1. Try to keep your feet as dry as possible
  2. DO NOT use toe nail polish
  3. Be sure to wash your hands after every application
  4. Change your socks daily
  5. Keep your toenails shorter than the tips of your toes
  6. If you can, keep your toes out of shoes and allow them access to fresh air and sunlight
  7. If you do have to wear shoes, be sure to rotate your footwear selection, to allow shoes sufficient time to dry
  8. Wipe the lining of your shoes with rubbing alcohol to prevent further accumulation of spores

To download Michelle’s ebook on toenail fungus, click here.

What’s Your Foot Type?

Foot Prints in the Sand

Next time you step out of the pool, or take a walk on the wet sand at the water’s edge, take a look at the footprints you leave behind. They can give you some valuable information about your foot type and how your feet react as you stride through life.

  • Normal Foot: If you can see about half your arch make contact with the ground you have the most common type. This shows that your feet roll inward a bit with every step (what experts call pronation) to help absorb shock to your ankles, knees and hips.
  • Pes Planus: If, on the other hand, your footprint shows virtually your entire arch, your feet are considered flat. Your arch collapses inward too much, putting you at risk of a variety of problems including heel spurs, bunions and Achilles tendonitis, even knee, hip and low back pain.
  • Pes Cavus: If there’s only a thin line connecting the ball of your foot and your heel you have the least common foot type, a high arch. That means your arch doesn’t collapse enough to absorb shock properly, so it travels up your legs.
  • Fortunately, Foot Solutions has great looking shoes to cradle and support every type of foot. Plus we have the diagnostic technology and years of experience to pinpoint exactly what kind of footwear will fit you perfectly and keep your feet happy day after day.

    To learn more stop by the store, or schedule an appointment. Because, truth is, there’s no better place to find the fashion and comfort you crave.

    The World’s Top Ten Beaches

    Long Beach - Tofino, BC
    Long Beach – Tofino, BC
    Are you ready to take your Foot Solutions sandals to the beach? National Geographic says these are the top ten beaches to visit around the globe:

    1. Seychelles – This archipelago in the Indian Ocean features turquoise water and pink sand.
    2. Maldives – Over a thousand islands straddle the equator southwest of Sri Lanka.
    3. Bora Bora, Tahiti – Called “the Romantic Island” it’s part of French Polynesia.
    4. The Hamptons, NY – Windswept dunes and unspoiled shoreline.
    5. Lanikai Beach, Hawaii – Protected by a coral reef, the beach is sparkling white and the water deep green.
    6. Nantucket Island, MA – This popular North Atlantic island features calm beaches and glorious views.
    7. Fraser Island, Australia – The world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island is a World Heritage Site.
    8. St. Bart’s – Known for its French charm, this 8-mile-long island offers 20 beaches and small coves.
    9. Langkawi, Malaysia – Uncrowded white sand beaches backed by lush forests.
    10. Kauna’oa Bay, Hawaii – Located on the big island, the beach’s white sand and calm blue water are what everyone thinks of when they imagine Hawaii.

    But wait, why travel so far when four (4) of Canada’s top 10 beaches, as reported by the Globe & Mail, can be found right here in BC. They are:

    • Long Beach – This B.C. gem, 20 kilometres south of Tofino, is the quintessential Canadian beach, as much Sitka spruce and hemlock forest as sand.
    • Haida Gwaii – According to native legend, the first humans on Earth emerged from a clam shell on B.C.’s North Beach.
    • Spanish Banks: This two-kilometre swath on the Seaside Seawall system in Vancouver’s Point Grey has three glorious sections facing the North Shore’s mountains.
    • English Bay Beach – In summer, Vancouver’s English Bay Beach feels like California. Palm trees overlook the Seawall, where walkers and joggers head to False Creek and Stanley Park.
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