Feet. You know those things at the end of your legs that you kind of tend to forget about except when using them as an excuse to buy some fabulous new shoes or they are aching after a day of high heel punishment?
Well, today we have brought in an expert to talk about foot health and most importantly some tips and tricks for saving you from seriously sore feet after a week of socialising at the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
So let us introduce you to Michelle from the Integrated Podiatry Clinic who is seriously a bit of a foot whisperer. And if you happen to be near South Yarra or Camberwell then we highly recommend you get yourself in for a Medical Pedicure with this miracle worker pronto!
Tell us about yourself (especially…why feet?!)
I’ve been a podiatrist for the past 11 years and was initially drawn to this career through my love of sport. Being a competitive runner and netballer I experienced many foot and ankle injuries, meaning I was able to appreciate first hand just how our important feet are. I also watched my parents suffer with their own foot troubles (Mum with bunions and Dad with the consequences of being a professional runner and football umpire). They both regularly saw a podiatrist, so it was ingrained in me that foot care was a key component in overall good health and wellbeing.
Tell us about your practice
I founded Integrated Podiatry Clinic 18 months ago with the vision of changing the often negative perception of feet and podiatry within the community. It has been my mission to help people love their feet and provide education on the best ways to look after them. Over my career I’ve noticed people often neglect their feet and usually don’t give them a second thought until something goes wrong. Too often, I have heard my patients in their late 60s and 70s say they wish they had been more proactive taking care of their feet. My goal through my practice is to make preventative foot care more appealing and popular, especially amongst younger people.
What exactly does a Podiatrist do?
Podiatrists assess, treat and prevent conditions of the lower leg, ankles and feet. We can help with the following things:
- General foot care (eg. ingrown toenails, callus, corns, tinea, warts)
- Sports and biomechanical issues (eg. plantar fasciitis, shin splints, heel pain, bunions, ankle sprains and tendonitis)
- Chronic health conditions (eg. Diabetes and Arthritis)
- Children’s development
How often should we see a podiatrist for a foot health check?
This can vary for each individual and we suggest booking in for an initial consultation to work out what will be of benefit for you. Most people come for their routine treatment every 6 weeks, however if you are not experiencing problems a check-up every 6-12 months is recommended.
With Spring Racing fast approaching, how can we prepare for a day at the races in heels?
Spring racing season is a fun time of year, however our feet can really take a beating. Here are my top tips for surviving:
- Good shoes - obviously a lower heel is better for your feet. However, if you can’t bear to part with high heels, choose shoes with a thicker heel (ie. avoid stilettos) to provide you with more stability. Also try opting for wedges or heels with a platform, as this will help to reduce pressure though the front of your foot. Round toe or open shoes are also preferable instead of narrow, pointy styles.
- Stretching – wearing heels for long hours can cause the leg and foot muscles to shorten which may lead to further problems. Stretching daily in the lead up to the event is ideal. You can check out our rundown of some helpful foot and leg stretches here which can be done in the lead up to race day.
- See a podiatrist – get your feet ready before the big event with a medical pedicure! This treatment involves correct cutting of the nails (to prevent ingrown nails) and removal of hard, dry skin that can build up and lead to foot pain. We do all of this using sterile instruments, which means you are not at risk of infection – something that can occur at nail salons where the same equipment is used from one person to the next – yuck! We do not apply polish to the toenails, however you may find yourself wanting to go polish free…that’s how good your feet will look!
- Opt for better quality nail polish – If you don’t think the unpolished look is for you, stick to 5-free nail polishes. These products are formulated without the nasty chemicals found in traditional nail polish. These chemicals may lead to long-term damage of your skin and nails. It’s also best to avoid acrylics, gel nails and Shellac polish, which can weaken the nail and cause them to become thinner and more brittle.
Any advice for dealing with tired and sore feet at the end of the day?
We’re no stranger to the pain associated with a day in heels, so to help with your recovery here are some suggestions:
- Stretching – just as it’s important to warm up, it’s equally important to cool down. A long day in heels means many of the leg muscles have been contracted for a long period of time. Performing the same stretches mentioned above following the event will be of benefit.
- Get rolling – using a foam roller or spiky ball on your calf muscles and soles of your feet can help relax the muscles, breakdown any tight spots and increase circulation to the area. It may feel a little uncomfortable at first, however your feet and legs will thank you for it later.
- Magnesium foot bath – after long day on your feet, a foot soak is not only a great excuse for some ‘me time’ it will also aid in recovery. Magnesium is great for muscle recovery and cramps and by soaking in the mineral or applying it on your skin leads to it being absorbed by the body more rapidly. We love using The Base Collective’s Magnesium Salt for our foot bath. If soaking isn’t your thing, they also have a Magnesium Oil which can be applied directly to the skin.