Heat And Your Feet

A few of you are saying “is he talking about feet again”? Hey, I’ve only talked about feet once before, when I wrote this post in June talking about 5 Things You Should Know About Your Feet after visiting a podiatrist. This time around it’s a real life story; heck, who am I kidding, they’re always real life stories. So instead it’s a tale of caution; stay close.


Last Sunday I got an early morning text from my friend Scott about going to a hockey game, my first in more than 30 years. I’m not a major hockey fan, though I don’t mind watching the games, but the reason I stopped going was because my feet would always get really cold pretty quickly, no matter what I did, and then I couldn’t enjoy myself. He told me I shouldn’t have to worry about it since technology has changed and they had renovated the place where the game was being held from so many years ago.

I didn’t want to take any chances however. Two weeks earlier I had gone to one of those stores that has lots of hunting stuff and bought two things. One package was warmers for toes, the other package foot warmers. I had tried the toe warmers and they didn’t work out quite to well. They did keep my feet warm, but I did a test where I put the warmer on top of my left foot and on the bottom of my right foot, with socks on both. My left foot ended up getting burned slightly while my right foot handled things much better, but burning my left foot should have been a warning call of sorts.

This time I put on two pairs of socks, then slipped the warmers in them, thinking I had enough protection from both the cold and potential heat of the warmers. They picked me up, and we went to the game.

All seemed fine early on as we watched the warmup. We had to be there early because Scott was acting as official photographer for the game. Then the game got started and it was actually kind of cool to watch. However, midway through the first period both of my feet started to feel… uncomfortable. They didn’t feel like they were burning necessarily, but discomfort is never a good sign. I decided to err on the side of caution and remove both foot warmers. Turns out I really didn’t need them to keep my feet warm, although I have to admit that I used them every once in awhile to warm my legs, especially around both knees, and Scott’s wife used one of them to warm her hands at one point.

Here’s the thing. Ever since I got home last Sunday, the bottom of my feet have been tender. This is 8 days later, and it might be hard to see in the picture I’ve got above because, trust me, it’s hard taking a picture of the bottom of your feet, but my toes are still red. I didn’t blister or anything, thank goodness, but my feet are irritated even now.

The questions are thus: did I have problems because my feet are sensitive; did I have problems because I’m diabetic; did I have problems because of the extra pair of socks, which might have pushed the cushion down too far and thus generated more heat than normal; or do more people than what shows up during an online search have problems with this type of thing that I know about?

I don’t know, but I know this; I had problems. I found the brand online that I bought & tried to see if anyone had written any warnings about it but they haven’t so I’m not going to mention the company name. All I’m going to say is that you might need to consider how tender your feet are if you decide to test these or any of those number of homemade foot warmers that you put in to microwave, since I did find warnings about those. It seems that the best way to warm your feet safely is in warm water by soaking them, but of course that limits you to being at home. Sigh…
 

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5 Things You Should Know About Your Feet

Yes, I truly do just share about almost anything on this blog. 🙂 In today’s lesson, I want to talk about feet, your feet specifically but using my feet as an example. If you remember, a month ago I did both a post and video on lying about your health. Well, one of those things we tend to lie about is our feet.

Feet...
Creative Commons License Gramody via Compfight

We need our feet if we hope to continue getting around. Sure, sometimes it’s our legs bothering us, but sometimes leg problems are caused by your feet; I’ll get into that one a bit more. So, let’s get started.

1. Always buy shoes at least 1/2 in bigger than what your foot is. For 35 years I’ve bought 11 1/2 because that’s my foot size. Turns out that it’s recommended to always go at least 1/2 foot size bigger to give your toes room to move. Usually it’s the outer toe where, if you’re going to start developing any issues, you’ll feel it. Even your big toe in some shoe sizes won’t be happy unless you give it more space.

2. As you age, you need more support in your arch area in your shoes. Regular shoes seem to be fine, but when it comes to sneakers many of today’s designs are built with more cushioning in them than support for the arch area, which can lead to issues, especially if you have flat feet or problems with your gait. Turns out I have both, as I’d forgotten I had flat feet and my right leg is 1/2 inch longer than my left. The picture of the sneaker you see above is a Brooks Adrenaline and it’s what he recommended, though I have to admit I’d never heard of Brooks before then. But the brand name isn’t as important as making sure your arch is supported.

3. Most cushioning you buy aside from what comes in the shoes isn’t helping you at all. Podiatrists seem to get most animated when they see you’ve popped down $20 bucks for shoe cushions. They say it’s a false crutch of comfort we’ve been conditioned to enjoy that doesn’t work for 99% of the people that buy them. I’ve always purchased extra cushion, even trying that “jelling” insole once, because I thought my feet needed it. What he recommended is that unless it’s a cheap shoe, which he said never to buy, use what comes in the shoe because it was specifically tested to offer both the maximum comfort and protection for your feet. It’s that thing about having your shoes be a little looser so blood flow can occur.

4. Treat your heels well.

Baby Toes
Katie Mollon via Compfight

Adding to #3, it seems that we all concentrate more on the front of our feet when we should be treating our heels better. When we start noticing that our heels might be getting more crusty and such, that’s when we have to worry about neuropathy, which is when you stop having feeling in certain parts of your body. Actually, it turns out it’s way more than that; you could be causing damage without numbness, and it can start affecting other parts of your body such as your legs, your back, even your neck.

They did an interesting test on my feet, a sensitivity test. It started out with one prong on different locations of both feet. I did very well on that one. Then you had to feel two prongs on different areas of the feet; that one I had a lot of trouble with. I was diagnosed as having minor neuropathy, especially in my heels, but luckily he said it wasn’t diabetes related based on the first part of the test and said it’s probably because of insufficient footwear over the years. So we’ll be monitoring it over the next few years, but at least now I know.

5. It’s imperative that you cut your toenails. I have a wife that’s always on me about cutting my nails and now she’s got physician support on it. Based on our footwear, longer nails can cause us discomfort, if not pain, and thus we inadvertently start curling our toes, which then alters how we walk. Once we artificially start changing how we normally walk, that’s when problems start to occur.

I’m adding one last thing, but not changing the number above because I’m superstitious on some things and I’m not crazy about some even numbers; something else new that you now know about me. lol Anyway, the last thing is to look at your feet at least once a month to see if anything looks odd. Most of the time you won’t notice anything different, but we did notice I have this “thing” near the right big toe that he’s not worried about, but it’s there, and that I injured my right big toe back in November, which I knew because I’d seen the blood blister, but have no idea how I did it. It’s slowly going away, but if there had been something like that elsewhere it could have meant something bad. Also, as a kid I used to sometimes develop holes in my feet, which turned out to be blisters that grew inward; freaky, but after finally noticing and bringing it to a doctor’s attention we made some changes that stopped that from happening.

There you are; nothing about social media or the internet today, but something I think is equally as important. Enjoy your Saturday!