Prepare your feet properly for the marathon season warns leading London Podiatrist, Martine Abrahams

Prepare your feet properly for the marathon season.  Things are finally hotting up – well, at least in the world of extreme running, if not the weather!

Take things slowly and prepare your feet gradually for the abuse that lies ahead.   They are going to take a pounding over the next few weeks and if you don’t prepare carefully, you could do some damage – most problems are reversible, but the symptoms could stop you competing.

  • Not many of us like it hear it BUT stretching before starting any exercise is vital to keep injuries at a minimum.
  • Choose the right type of footwear for the specific terrain – there are so many styles and brands of running shoes, all promising different things, it can be very confusing, try contacting your podiatrist for advise.
  • Ask a trainer to suggest the best way to build up your routine so all leg muscle groups are engaged slowly and completely warmed up before the long distances are tackled.
  • Here are some common injuries to look out for – and ideally prevent

Shin splints: Shin splints, which are painful and appear at the front and inside of the leg, are often caused by running on hard surfaces, over striding, muscle imbalance, or overuse. Shin splints can also be related to the shape and structure of your feet. Treatment includes rest, stretching, changing your running technique, and rebalancing foot mechanics with special show inserts. Physiotherapy can also be helpful. If you begin to feel this type of pain, slow down, take shorter strides, and see a podiatrist at your first opportunity.

Stress fractures: A stress fracture is a tiny or incomplete crack in a bone that is often caused by overuse. Stress fractures occur most frequently in the foot and ankle, so your podiatric physician is well trained to diagnose and treat this problem. Signs of a stress fracture are pain that increases with activity and decreases with rest, pain that increases over time or pain that persists even at rest. Often a stress fracture will result in swelling and a spot that feels tender to the touch.    Prompt diagnosis and treatment of a stress fracture can often prevent further injury. A podiatrist can determine your best treatment with x-ray and a physical examination. Many stress fractures can be treated with rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers. For most people, an appropriate period of rest will be sufficient for the bone to heal, but like all fractures, the bone can take up to 8 to 10 weeks to heal completely. In other cases, your podiatrist may need to immobilise the affected bone with a cast, cast boot, fracture shoe, or a splint. Surgical intervention may be suggested if other, more conservative treatments are not effective.

Blisters and nail problems: Runners often have blisters and nail problems but with a little maintenance and care, they can be avoided or minimised, so that they don’t limit your ability to keep up your training routine. Blisters are caused by skin friction. Don’t pop them. Apply moleskin or an adhesive bandage over a blister, and leave it on until it falls off naturally in the bath or shower. Keep your feet dry and always wear socks as a cushion between your feet and shoes. If a blister breaks spontaneously, wash the area, apply an antiseptic, and cover with a sterile bandage. Nails can become bruised or broken. Keep nails short to limit damage and if trauma occurs remove any loose pieces of nail by cutting with nail scissors and filing smooth with an emery board.

Ingrown nails are nails whose corners or sides dig painfully into the skin, often causing infection. They are frequently caused by improper nail trimming but also by shoe pressure, injury, or poor foot structure. Runners are particularly susceptible to nail problems, and long-distance runners often lose some of their toenails entirely while they are training. If an ingrown portion of the nail is painful or infected, your podiatrist can remove the affected portion to allow for healing. It is possible to permanently remove the offending portion of the nail to prevent occurrence. Soaking in warm salt water can relieve the discomfort of ingrowing toenails and prevent infection.

‘Locker room’ nail fungus – typically, fungal spores thrive in dark, damp, warm environments, and running shoes are perfect breeding grounds.  Look out for signs of Athlete’s Foot, itching under the arch or between the toes; little red spots over the sole of the foot; flaky skin particularly under the arch or around the heels; and moist, white macerated skin between the toes. Treat with over the counter topical anti-fungal cream. Athlete’s Foot can lead to nail fungal infections and vice versa…

Symptoms to look out for:

  • Thickened nails
  • Crumbly or brittle nails
  • Nail distorted in shape or separated
  • Nail with no lustre or shine
  • White, yellow or brown coloured nail

Conventional treatments include topical creams, and oral anti-fungal tablets, however a new laser treatment ‘Lunula Laser’ or ‘cold’ laser is revolutionising nail fungus treatments. Contact my office for more information

Marathon running can give you a real sense of achievement and an increased feeling of wellbeing – just remember to take care of the most vital component to a successful fun run – your feet!

Chiropodist vs Podiatrist?

   Chiropodist vs Podiatrist?

I find clients are still a little confused about the perceived difference between the two terms, when in fact they are the same discipline.   Chiropody underwent a name change in 1993 and is now known as Podiatry.

The reason for this?  A Podiatrist is internationally recognised as a foot specialist, so it makes sense for all practitioners to be under the same name umbrella.

In my opinion it was a positive change, as the science of Podiatry is continually evolving.  Podiatrists diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases of the foot – but are also specialists of lower limb disorders.

The training of Podiatrists is constantly evolving, and is now an accepted medical based discipline.  An intense 4 year degree course, followed by post graduation continuing education enables Podiatrists to treat a vast array of foot and lower limb conditions.

Some Podiatrists choose to specialise in the area they find most rewarding whilst others practice general podiatry.  Some specialist areas:

Biomechanics – joint alignment

Orthotics – custom made insoles/shoes

Podopaediatrics – lower limb disorders in children

Surgery – an increasing amount of foot surgery is performed by specialist Podiatrists

Sports injuries – Podiatrists often work alongside physiotherapists

Personally, I am passionate about technological advances that have impacted on podiatry.  Laser science is the most dramatic, offering massive benefits to those suffering from nail infections of all kinds. The ‘cold’ Lunula Laser is revolutionising nail fungus treatment and, by using variable light energy, the procedure is both pain free and effective – a very exciting development!

No longer an enclave of the elderly, men and women of all ages consult Podiatrists for a variety of conditions.  As with most medical problems, prevention is better than cure so make sure you look after yourself – and your feet!

Foot focus

Starting soon, our laser expert and resident blogger, Martine Abrahams tackles foot problems from the weird to the wonderful.

The London Nail Laser Clinic continues to embrace and enhance the technology

It’s always good to be at the forefront of something special.

Back in 2009 The London Nail Laser Clinic became the European pioneer of the PinPointe FootLaser – a dramatic breakthrough in the treatment of onychomycosis (nail fungus).

Three years on, it’s been confirmed this month that already more than 100,000 procedures have been performed worldwide using PinPointe. That’s a remarkable statistic, and even more so when you consider that it outstrips many of the other treatment options put together. But then again, maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised.

The PinPointe FootLaser was, after all, the first light-based device to be formally approved by the medical regulators the USA, where it was developed by NuvoLase. And, even as we approach 2013, it remains one of an elite few devices on the market today with documented, clinically proven efficacy.

Small wonder that Steven Duddy, boss of NuvoLase in California, describes the global progression beyond 100,000 treatments as an “exciting and important milestone”.

Requiring no anaesthetic, the PinPointe FootLaser uses a laser infra red light to pass through into the nail and nail bed. This light is absorbed by the fungal cells, specifically causing them to vaporise. Not only is it an effective alternative to potentially risky oral medications, there are no side effects. Nor is there any recovery period or effect on activity after treatment.

As one leading foot surgeon in America put it: “This breakthrough technology has changed the way we approach patients suffering from unsightly nail fungus and has changed the lives of many.”

The London Nail Laser Clinic continues to embrace and enhance the technology, with impressive results. Nearly all patients receiving treatment show some degree of improvement at six months – and more than three quarters of these show significant healthy nail growth.

LNLC speak at Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists’ Annual Conference

London Nail Laser Clinic Founders Martine Abrahams BSc(Hons) MChS and Michael Abrahams BSc(Hons) MChS have combined over 24 years experience in podiatry and are well known in the industry for their extensive knowledge of nail fungus.

In the last several months they have been incredibly busy speaking publicly at international conferences for various Societies of Chiropodists and Podiatrists.

At the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists’ Annual Conference in Glasgow, 11-13 October 2012 Martine specifically spoke about the launch of a new laser to the market; a laser which is one of a kind as it is known to be the only “painless” treatment available. Over a six month period two simple 12 minute sessions with regular follow up show significant improvements. In the majority of cases who have had the “painless” treatment, 97% of patients had positive results after the 6 month period.

“These results suggest that this new laser treatment is more effective than other laser treatments available in the UK, with the advantage of it being pain free”, says Martine. ‘It also has no side effects, unlike many of the antifungal medications such as creams and medication used today. We would certainly recommend it as an alternative or additional approach to the treatment of this common condition.”

The next conference Martine will be attending is the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists of Ireland. She will be discussing the extensive and informative experience the London Nail Laser Clinic has had of treating nail fungus by laser throughout the years. She will be demonstrating how important it is to suggest the correct treatment to avoid serious health risks and suggest ways of how to eliminate peoples fear of nail fungus treatment.

The Conference will take place at the convention centre in Ireland on 10th November 2012.