In the winter I do a lot of walking, both for exercise and to get around. For me walking isn’t just a physical exercise, it is also mindful meditation.
I try to go through parks as often as I can; one of my favourite routes is Philosopher’s Walk on the U of T campus
Earlier this winter I went to the New Balance store at Yonge and St. Clair in Toronto and, with the help of Ken Bower, I purchased these fabulous water proof walking shoes. They give me proper arch support and I am able to articulate my ankle as I walk, for proper gait and posture.
In order to be able to walk long distances comfortably, your feet, knees and hips have to be in good shape.
Various foot issues that could impede walking or effect one’s gait and posture can later cause other problems in other parts of the body. Some can be easily remedied by a well-trained pedicurist/aesthetician, using a pedi-drill; some need to be looked after by a chiropodist; others need medical attention and nutritional/ supplementation help.
In the beginning of my Esthetics career, I was seeing a lot of people, with various foot problems that were beyond my expertise, so I took a course to learn how to use a drill for treating some of them.
There is plenty of information on the net regarding foot issues, so I will not bore you. Instead, I will cover just a few of them. And, as a holistic nutritionist, I will touch on the nutritional aspects but will not go into detail as I do not believe in giving out generic information, without knowing everything else that is going on in the body. That is why it is called holistic nutrition!
Conditions that a trained Esthetician or Chiropodist can determine.
Foot and toenail fungus
- There are over the counter antifungal medications.
- Tea Tree oil, Oil of Oregano and my favourite: Grapefruit seed extract, work very well.
- Sugar feeds the fungus – so no sugar until it clears up! I am not kidding otherwise it becomes a vicious circle.
- It is important to keep feet dry and refrain from wearing shoes that make the feet sweat.
- Keep toe nails short.
- Can be due to age, injury to the toe or nail fungus.
- If it is a fungus, a good antifungal needs to be used:
- by prescription, or,
- Tea Tree oil, Oil of Oregano or grapefruit seed extract, if you want to save your liver,
- If it is not fungus the nail can be easily filed down to a manageable thickness with a pedi-drill.
Yellow stained toenails
- Usually caused by wearing polish. In this case it is very easy to file the surface of the nail with a pedi – drill.
- Sometimes caused by psoriasis, eczema or a more serious illness – the underlying condition needs to be addressed.
Corns and Calluses
- They can be easily removed with a pedi-drill and regular pumicing.
- Using a good quality, rich cream to moisturise the skin is recommended.
- Corns are often painful because they have a central “eye” that can be quite deep and needs to be dug out.
- I don’t recommend applying a corn plaster on the corn because it just creates more pressure in the shoe.
- If the callusing is severe, with cracking, it is often keratosis (abnormal thickening of the skin), or another hidden cause – possibly allergies – which can be misdiagnosed as fungus or eczema. It is imperative to figure out a hidden cause.
- Calluses can also be a sign of vitamin A deficiency.
- Caused by the nail curling into the lateral nail fold. To straighten it, a chiropodist can apply a brace to the sides of the nail, this can take a few weeks and the brace has to be adjusted – just like braces with teeth.
- Sometimes it is simply due to improper nail cutting (cutting the corners on a slant), the nail hits the nail bed as it grows, causing inflammation.
- It can also be due to accumulation of dead skin under the lateral nail fold, which causes pressure and pain.
- A few careful monthly treatments can clear the build-up under the nail and the nail can be trained to grow out properly.
The above conditions also need to be treated, daily, from the outside, with a good nourishing and healing body cream.
My favourite is the YonKa After Sun Cream (get over the name). It is one of the best creams on the market: everything else pales in comparison.
They also need to be treated internally, with a diet that is rich in unsaturated fats, balanced with saturated fats to keep the skin from drying. A diet rich in vitamin A or pro-vitamin A-Carotenoids, helps to inhibit thickening of the skin.
If any are due to allergies, that has to be addressed first and foremost.
Conditions that need to be diagnosed and treated medically and nutritionally:
- An inflammatory autoimmune condition.
- Depending on the severity, medication may be required.
- An anti-inflammatory diet is essential and one containing fish oils and essential fatty acids is beneficial even if you are on medication.
- An Alkalizing diet is also very beneficial – the explanation for this is for another blog
- Regular Manual Lymphatic Drainage treatments are beneficial (see blog on MLD).
- Bony projection that forms where two bones meet, such as a joint or where bone meets tendon.
- This can be caused by osteoarthritis – also an inflammatory autoimmune condition.
- It can also be caused by constant rubbing and stress on the bone – like callusing.
- As with Arthritis, an anti-inflammatory diet is beneficial.
- Manual manipulation of the joint is helpful.
- Effects the middle toe.
- Weakening of the muscle causes the tendon to shorten and the toe starts to curl under.
- Can be hereditary or from wearing ill-fitting shoes – high heels and pointed shoes.
- A corn forms on the middle joint and is quit painful.
- A hammer toe pad can be purchased at a drugstore. The pad stretches the toe out.
- Depending on the severity of pain, surgery may be necessary.
- A bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe, sometimes the little toe.
- It can be formed if the big toe is pushed towards the next toe due to tight shoes.
- One cause may be rheumatoid arthritis.
- It can also be hereditary.
- The constant rubbing in the shoe causes soreness and inflammation.
- In the early stages, a toe separator may be used to push the toe straight.
- To alleviate pain, a wider shoe has to be worn.
- Anti-inflammatory diet is also beneficial.
- In severe cases surgery may be required.
- A form of arthritis
- It used to be called “rich man’s disease”
- Result of the build up of Uric Acid in the body, deposited in the joint of the big toe.
- Diuretics can cause gout.
- Very painful.
- A low protein, alcohol-free diet is recommended.
- Medication is often needed.
- When the attack has subsided, Manual Lymphatic Drainage is helpful to address the swelling.