Watch out pregnant women – it’s not only your bump that gets bigger – often feet do too!

Kim KardAs if those seemingly endless 9 months weren’t enough to bear, try adding a 7lb bump and swollen feet into the bargain – not much fun!

Why do feet get bigger?
The obvious reason is fluid retention. Gravity pulls fluid down to the lower extremities resulting in ballooning ankles.
A lesser-known cause of enlarging feet during pregnancy is due to the secretion of hormone ‘relaxin’ during the 2nd trimester of pregnancy. This aptly named hormone helps to keep pelvic joints loose and ligaments soft, offering the baby a smoother journey down the birth canal.
Sadly, it’s not just the abdominal ligaments that loosen – those in the feet can too, resulting in toes spreading and feet seeming to get bigger.

Are the changes permanent?
Thankfully any fluid build up will subside after the baby is born, however for those of you who have suffered negative effects of softening ligaments, this could well be permanent.
Some women claim their feet have grown up to one size post pregnancy!

What can you do?
I advise if you can, to wear larger shoes that sit comfortably for the duration of your pregnancy. Try not to invest in anything too expensive, as you may need to revert to your old shoes around one month after the birth. Wearing tight shoes can cause or aggravate bunions or other painful foot issues such as ingrowing toenails, corns and calluses.
Keep those legs elevated whenever you’re sitting as this will help reduce swelling.

BlahnikThe good news is that your pregnancy will only last 9months (if you’re lucky!) The bad news is that your feet could grow with each pregnancy, so maybe hold off that Blahnik treat until after your family is complete!

Festival-goers BEWARE – fungal spores lurk in dark, damp conditions, waiting to take hold in those vulnerable nail beds!

glast sunshineGlastonbury Festival 2013 is upon us and I hope all you intrepid campers have fun in the sun, but, JUST in case the British summer does what it does best, please remember to take good care of your feet. Clearly foot care will not be your number one priority, but maybe it should move up the list – at least a little!

Why? Fungal spores love dark, damp and dirty conditions and the fields of the Glastonbury Festival provide the perfect breeding ground – especially when the heavens open!

During the summer months I see an increasing number of holidaymakers who made the brave decision to camp in the UK, only to come home with fungal nail infections and Athlete’s Foot.
Fungal spores enter via any small break in the skin integrity and soon take hold. Once established, the infections can be difficult to eradicate.

Here are some practical tips to help avoid nail fungal infections during the long weekend:

  • Trim your nail short before you go
  • Dry feet thoroughly after bathing – try to keep your towel clean and dry (!)
  • Wear 100% cotton or wool socks – helps absorb the sweat and moisture
  • Wear shoes that have wide space for your toes to ‘breathe’
  • In wet and moist areas, avoid walking in barefoot
  • If possible, wear shower shoes, sandals or flip flops when going to public areas
  • Before going to bed, try to thoroughly dry your feet
  • NEVER share shoes and sandals with others
  • Avoid injury to nails, nail beds, and nail plates

If you do suspect a fungal nail infection has taken hold, then book in to see your local podiatrist. Over-the-counter solutions are not particularly effective and you may well need a more sophisticated treatment such as state-of-the-art Lunula Laser.

Symptoms of nail fungus:

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

glast wet 1How does it work? Unlike conventional solutions, the Lunula Low Level Laser is the first treatment to tackle the root cause of nail fungus – not just the symptoms. Known as the ‘COLD’ laser – this new device does not rely on heat to treat, instead utilises two light wavelengths, 635nm and 405nm, to tackle differing cell membranes.

Have a fabulous time – if nothing else, keep your feet happy by avoiding walking barefoot around the venue, and let’s hope you will all be basking in sunshine. (I’ll save my sunscreen lecture for next year!)

Groundbreaking ‘cold’ laser battling locker room foot fungus (onychomycosis). 2013 has already seen a dramatic increase in number of cases – possibly due to record breaking wet weather

Athletes beware, silent and unsightly, fungal spores lurk in dark, damp, warm places, waiting to get a hold through chapped or cut skin

trainers in rainLatest, technological advance in laser therapy produces a device that delivers light waves directly to the cause of the infection, killing spores and yet is PAIN FREE – truly revolutionary.

Until now, treatments for fungal nail infections have been rather hit and miss, with oral medication causing side effects, topical treatments unable to penetrate the nail bed and surgical options limited to complete removal of the nail. The PinPointe Foot Laser proved a useful (but quite uncomfortable) remedy. In 2012, the Rolls Royce of foot lasers launched – the ‘cold’ laser or Lunula Low Level Laser – and is now in the UK, revolutionising fungal treatments. Not only PAIN FREE, this innovative technology tackles the underlying cause of the infection, rather than just the symptoms.

Laser specialist podiatrist, Mrs Martine Abrahams of the London Nail Laser Clinic, owner of the first UK ‘cold’ laser: “We have always seen a steady number of athletes seek us out for fungal treatments, but for the last 2 months, we have seen a 40% increase on last year. The condition is both unpleasant and unsightly and will not disappear on its own. This surge has to be explained by the horrendous weather we have had to tolerate this winter.”

Fungal spores find their way in via an impaired nail seal and thrive in the damp, dark conditions found in an unventilated shoe or trainer. Add other factors to the mix such as dirty nail cutting equipment, smoking, poor foot hygiene, exercise trauma, ill-fitting footwear and medical conditions such as diabetes or psoriasis, and a rip-roaring infection can result.

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

How does it work? Unlike conventional solutions, the Lunula Low Level Laser is the first treatment to tackle the root cause of nail fungus – not just the symptoms. Known as the ‘COLD’ laser – this new device does not rely on heat to treat, instead utilises two light wavelengths, 635nm and 405nm, to tackle differing cell membranes. The light is passed over the whole foot, which has a four-fold benefit:
1. stimulates and improves nail bed blood supply (great news for diabetic patients)
2. improves immune response
3. breaks down the fungal cells walls by disturbing their oxygen content, killing spores
4. it has also been seen to improve Athlete’s Foot

The London Nail Laser Clinic opened in 2009 by husband and wife podiatrist team, Martine and Michael Abrahams. With more than 30 years combined experience, the Abrahams’ have become widely accepted amongst peers as experts in laser foot therapies. UK pioneers of the PinPointe Foot Laser, Martine and Michael recognised the improved benefits offered by the Lunula Laser system, and were the first to bring it to the UK in the autumn of 2012. With only two systems in the UK, the London Nail Laser Clinic is well positioned to become the centre of excellence for all foot related issues.

Leading Podiatrist, Martine Abrahams on GOUT – “the disease of kings” or “rich man’s disease”

The agony of goutThe topic for my blog this month is gout – an unpleasant and often debilitating disease, which can put you out of action for several weeks.  There have been a number of high profile sufferers throughout history – Henry VIII, Pavarotti, Jim Belushi and more recently, Jared Leto, who contracted gout symptoms after piling on 60lbs for a film role.

The incidence of gout has increased over the past few decades and now an estimated 1-2% of the Western population are affected by it at some time during their lives.  The main reasons for this trend seem to be the Western lifestyle/diet and longer life expectancy.

Gout is a type of arthritis, in which crystals of uric acid produced by the body, can form inside joints.


The most common symptom is sudden and severe pain in the joint, along with swelling and redness. The joint of the big toe is usually affected, but it can develop in any joint.

Symptoms can develop rapidly to their worst point in 6-24 hours and usually last for 3-10 days (this is sometimes known as a gout attack). After this time, the joint will start to feel normal again and any pain or discomfort should eventually disappear completely.

Most people with gout will have further attacks in the future.

The crystals may cause two problems:

  • Some may spill over into the soft lining of the joint (synovium), which causes the pain and inflammation associated with gout
  • Some pack together to form hard, slowly expanding lumps of crystals (“tophi”) which can cause progressive damage to the joint and nearby bone; this eventually leads to irreversible joint damage which causes pain and stiffness when the joint is being used

Factors that increase your risk of gout include:

  • age and gender
  • being overweight or obese
  • high blood pressure or diabetes
  • close relatives with gout (gout often runs in families)
  • long-term kidney problems that reduce the elimination of uric acid
  • a diet rich in purines; such as frequently eating sardines and liver
  • drinking too much beer or spirits – these types of alcoholic drinks contain relatively high levels of purines

There are two main goals in treating gout, relieving the symptoms with painkillers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and preventing future attacks with Allopurinol which can help lower levels if uric acid.  Lifestyle changes can also help – reducing weight and alcohol intake.

There is some good news for us women – men are more likely to suffer gout, as oestrogen reduces a woman’s levels of uric acid by increasing excretion of uric acid via the kidneys.  Sadly however, we catch up with men after menopause!

Gout can be very painful and distressing, but if you do suffer from acute episodes don’t despair, as attacks are usually short lived and lifestyle changes combined with anti-inflammatories can help a great deal.




HIGH HEELS CAN LEAVE A LASTING IMPRINT ON YOUR FEET acknowledges famous shoe fanatic, actress Sarah Jessica Parker

We all have our favourite heels that come out for special occasions, but, for those of us who wear them all the time, take note: high heels can damage your feet and cause a whole load of problems as the years move on.

Not just foot pain, problems range from the more common concerns such as bunions, corns and calluses to more complex issues like misshapen hammertoes or excruciating pain in the ball of the foot, which seems to get worse every time the shoes are worn.

Will women stop wearing their vertiginous favourites? Not likely, judging by a survey conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association, which showed some 42% of women admitted they’d wear a shoe they liked even if it gave them discomfort; 73% admitted already having a shoe-related foot issue.

Shoes that constrict the natural foot shape are bound to cause pain and, at the same time, excess weight is placed on these parts of the foot.  So crushing the foot along with extra weight can cause extreme discomfort.

Bunions – described as an enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the head of the big toe. Footwear is not the only cause of a bunion. Genetics do play a significant role, and people who have bunions in the family are also much more likely to have bunion than people who do not. Injuries to the foot can also be a factor in developing a bunion. However, there is no doubt that high heels aggravate this condition, and in many cases cause the misshapen toes.  Introducing lower heels into your wardrobe can stop the problem getting worse, but surgery to correct the bunion is often required.

Corns and Calluses – build up of layers of dead skin, usually on the toes, soles or sides of the foot (the body’s way of building natural protection against trauma) as a result of ill fitting shoes.  Before treating your own feet with home remedies, please consult a Podiatrist as you could cause damage by if you remove too much hard skin yourself.

Tips to protect your feet and still enjoy your heels:

1.  Get a proper fit – avoid styles that leave too much room at the toes, allowing the foot to move forward, putting increased pressure on the toes

2. Cushion! Invest in gels pads to protect the ball of the foot.  We lose fat on the ball of our feet as we age so replacing this with a cushion can help

3.  Thicker heels give improved balance and distribute weight through the foot instead of isolated pressure points

4. A gradual drop from heel to toe can be easier to wear than those with a straight drop

5. Open toed high heels can avoid excess pressure on toes and corns

6. Take a rest from heels as much as you can, to allow toes to spread in a more natural fashion and to stop the calf muscles tightening

The Queen of Heels has just admitted to the damage her Blahniks have wrecked on her feet and it also looks as if Victoria Beckham has had her notorious bunions repaired. Ultimately, enjoy your footwear, but do take notice of what your feet are telling you – if they hurt they’re sending you a message!

Sarah Jessica Parker: “I went to a foot doctor and he said, ‘Your foot does things it shouldn’t be able to do. That bone there…You’ve created that bone. It doesn’t belong there.'”