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Health Problems & Solutions

Some Health Quaries & Answers

If the shoe fits
Q: I want to buy a sports shoe but they seem to range in price from less than Rs 500 to Rs 10,000. How do I know which one to buy?

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A: When buying a sports shoe it is important to consider what you will be using it for. Is it to walk, run, for serious aerobics or just as a fashion statement?

If it is for exercise then you need to go to a sports store and ask for a shoe designed specifically for the particular activity you wish to do.

Look at a few shoes. Before selecting a shoe:

Look at it head on to make sure it is perfectly symmetrical.

See if the tongue is laced with the shoe. That way it will not slip around placing the eyelets in contact with your foot. That is potentially injurious.

Make sure the sole “gives” by bending the shoe.

There should be a little space between your toe and the tip of the shoe. Shoes do not “loosen” with use. Your foot will get damaged before that happens. Nor will you “grow” into a shoe that is too large.

Buy your shoe in the evening when your foot is slightly swollen from the days activity.

The colour is the least important criteria. With use, all shoes eventually become the same colour.
You may click to see : How to Choose Sports Shoes

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Grey smoke
Q: My hair is prematurely grey — I am only 29 years old. My mother says it is because I started smoking in college. Is that true?

A: Your mother is right. The nicotine in cigarettes does cause premature greying. That is however the least of the problems it causes. It also weakens your bones, precipitates heart attacks and causes cancer.

Stroke effect
Q: My father had a stroke (brain attack) and now he mumbles his words. Food drools out of the side of his mouth when he eats. He also cannot close one eye.

A: Your father has lost the use of one side of his body. Paralysis of the eyelid muscles prevents him from closing his eye fully. Similarly, the muscles for speech and swallowing are affected.

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He will improve to some extent with physiotherapy. You need to make sure that he does not have a second stroke by treating any pre-existing disease like diabetes, hypertension or high lipids that caused the first stroke.

You need to protect his eye by closing it manually, placing a gauze piece over it and taping it shut with medical tape.

Facial paralysis
Q: My forty-year-old aunt developed isolated paralysis of one side of the face. She opted for ayurvedic treatment and recovered. She is not diabetic nor does she have high blood pressure. What was wrong with her?

A: She seems to have developed a condition called Bell’s palsy, paralysis of the facial nerve. Quite often it is due to an infection with the Herpes virus. In 80 per cent cases recovery is spontaneous and complete. This is probably the category to which your aunt, fortunately for her, belonged.

Lens safety
Q: I want to use a pair of contact lenses to change the colour of my eyes. Is it safe?

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A: These are called novelty lenses as they only have cosmetic value. If novelty contact lenses are not properly fitted or if care instructions are ignored, they can cause corneal damage and loss of sight. Eye infections can occur if the lenses are not thoroughly sterilised prior to each use.

This seems a high price to pay for an altered appearance. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Shampoo time
Q: How often should I wash my hair?

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A: It depends on how dirty your hair becomes, but three times a week is about average. There is no need to use a lot of shampoo. About a Re 1 coin sized dollop is sufficient.
You may click to see : How often should I wash my hair?

Fast food
Q: My son loves instant noodles. He eats them 3-4 times a day. He is 4 years old.
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A: Noodles are a good snack once or twice a week, but they should not substitute for good wholesome home cooked food. Some times the instant variety of noodles contains preservatives or ajinomoto. Both these ingredients are best avoided in children’s food.

Rash shave
Q: I got a shave at a barber shop and now, after two weeks, I have developed boils and rashes all over my beard area.

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A: This is a very common infection which is either due to the bacteria S. aureus, or a fungus or due to ingrowth of thick beard.

It responds well to hot fomentation, cleansing with a bactericidal soap and local application of ointment. A dermatologist can usually determine accurately whether the infection is fungal or bacterial and prescribe the appropriate ointment. Applying steroid cream will worsen the condition. It usually clears up in a few weeks but can recur. It is probably better to shave at home.

Source : The Telegraph (kolkata, India)

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Bunions

Definition:
A bunion is an enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the base of the big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint).The big toe (hallux) may turn in toward the second toe (angulation), and the tissues surrounding the joint may be swollen and tender.

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The term is used to refer to the pathological bump on the side of the great toe joint. The bump is partly due to the swollen bursal sac and/or an osseous (bony) anomaly on the mesophalangeal joint (where the first metatarsal bone and hallux meet). The larger part of the bump is a normal part of the head of first metatarsal bone that has tilted sideways to stick out at its top.

Although they’re more common in older people, they can begin at any age, and even children can develop them. A similar bump, but on the outer edge of the foot at the base of the smallest toe, is known as a bunionette.

The term “hallux valgus” or “hallux abducto-valgus” are the most commonly used medical terms associated with a bunion anomaly, where “hallux” refers to the great toe, “valgus” refers to the abnormal angulation of the great toe commonly associated with bunion anomalies, and “abductus/-o” refers to the abnormal drifting or inward leaning of the great toe towards the second toe, which is also commonly associated with bunions. It is important to state that “hallux abducto refers to the motion the great toe moves away from the body’s midline. Deformities of the lower extremity are usually named in accordance to the body’s midline, or the line bisecting the body longitudinally into two halves.

Bunions most commonly affect women. Some studies report that bunions occur nearly 10 times more frequently in women then men.

Symptoms:
Bunions may or may not cause symptoms. A frequent symptom is pain in the involved area when walking or wearing shoes that is relieved by resting. A bunion causes enlargement of the base of the big toe and is usually associated with positioning of the big toe toward the smaller toes. This leads to intermittent or chronic pain at the base of the big toe.

Bunions that cause marked pain are often associated with swelling of the soft tissues, redness, and local tenderness.

The symptoms of bunions include irritated skin around the bunion, pain when walking, joint redness and pain, and possible shift of the big toe toward the other toes. Blisters may form more easily around the site of the bunion as well.

Having bunions can also make it harder to find shoes that fit properly; bunions may force a person to have to buy a larger size shoe to accommodate the width the bunion creates. When bunion deformity becomes severe enough, the foot can hurt in different places even without the constriction of shoes because it then becomes a mechanical function problem of the forefoot.

Risk Factors & Causes:
It is found  that tight-fitting shoes, especially high-heel and narrow-toed, might increase the risk for bunion formation.
Bunions are reported to be more prevalent in people who wear shoes than in barefoot people. There also seem to be inherited (genetic) factors that predispose to the development of bunions, especially when they occur in younger individuals.

Other risk factors for the development of bunions include congenital (present from birth) abnormal formation of the bones of the foot, nerve conditions that affect the foot, rheumatoid arthritis, and injury to the foot. Bunions are common in ballet dancers.

Bunions are mostly genetic and consist of certain tendons, ligaments, and supportive structures of the first metatarsal that are positioned differently. This bio-mechanical anomaly may be caused by a variety of conditions intrinsic to the structure of the foot – such as flat feet, excessive flexibility of ligaments, abnormal bone structure, and certain neurological conditions. These factors are often considered genetic. Although some experts are convinced that poor-fitting footwear is the main cause of bunion formation, other sources concede only that footwear exacerbates the problem caused by the original genetic structure.

Bunions are commonly associated with a deviated position of the big toe toward the second toe, and the deviation in the angle between the first and second metatarsal bones of the foot. The small sesamoid bones found beneath the first metatarsal (which help the flexor tendon bend the big toe downwards) may also become deviated over time as the first metatarsal bone drifts away from its normal position. Arthritis of the big toe joint, diminished and/or altered range of motion, and discomfort with pressure applied to the bump or with motion of the joint, may all accompany bunion development.

Diagnosis:
A doctor can usually diagnose a bunion by looking at it. A foot x-ray can show an abnormal angle between the big toe and the foot and, in some cases, arthritis.

The doctor considers a bunion when noting the symptoms described above. The anatomy of the foot is assessed during the examination. Radiographs (x-ray films) of the foot can be helpful to determine the integrity of the joints of the foot and to screen for underlying conditions, such as arthritis or gout. X-ray films are an excellent method of calculating the alignment of the toes.

Treatment:
Bunions may be treated conservatively with changes in shoe gear, different orthotics (accommodative padding and shielding), rest, ice, and medications. These sorts of treatments address symptoms more than they correct the actual deformity. Surgery, by an orthopedic surgeon or a podiatrist, may be necessary if discomfort is severe enough or when correction of the deformity is desired.

Orthotics are splints, regulators while conservative measures include various footwear like gelled toe spacers, bunion / toes separators, bunion regulators, bunion splints, and bunion cushions.

Surgery:
Procedures are designed and chosen to correct a variety of pathologies that may be associated with the bunion. For instance, procedures may address some combination of:

*removing the abnormal bony enlargement of the first metatarsal,
*realigning the first metatarsal bone relative to the adjacent metatarsal bone,
*straightening the great toe relative to the first metatarsal and adjacent toes,
*realigning the cartilagenous surfaces of the great toe joint,
*addressing arthritic changes associated with the great toe joint,
*repositioning the sesamoid bones beneath the first metatarsal bone,
*shortening, lengthening, raising, or lowering the first metatarsal bone, and
*correcting any abnormal bowing or misalignment within the great toe.

At present there are many different bunion surgeries for different effects. Ultimately, surgery should always have function of the foot in mind besides its look. Can the proposed surgery help resolve the pain and callus under the middle metatarsal heads? Can one return to sports? Can the foot enjoy fashionable or high heel shoes like normal feet without undue discomfort? Does the proposed surgery prevent recurrence with any specific built-in mechanism? These are very reasonable challenges for any truly functional bunion surgeries but may not be so for esthetic bunion surgeries.

The age, health, lifestyle, and activity level of the patient may also play a role in the choice of procedure.

Bunion surgery can be performed under local, spinal, or general anesthetic. The trend has moved strongly toward using the less invasive local anesthesia over the years. A patient can expect a 6- to 8-week recovery period during which crutches are usually required for aid in mobility. An orthopedic cast is much less common today as newer, more stable procedures and better forms of fixation (stabilizing the bone with screws and other hardware) are used.

Prognosis:
The prognosis depends on your age and activities, and the severity of the bunion. Teenagers may have more trouble treating a bunion than adults. Many adults do well by caring for the bunion when it first starts to develop, and wearing different shoes. Surgery reduces the pain in many, but not all, people with bunions.

Possible Complications:

*Chronic foot pain
*Foot deformity
*Stiff foot
*Hallux varus (occurs with surgical over-correction, where the toe points away from the second toe

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.medicinenet.com/bunions/page2.htm
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001231.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunion
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/bunions.shtml

http://www.consumerreports.org/health/conditions-and-treatments/bunions/what-is-it.htm

http://www.cafai.com/bunions.html

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News on Health & Science

High Heels are Heath-Wreckers

Like the tall Lara Dutta or the shorter Rani Mukerji, you might want to flaunt stilettos to look glamorous and sleek. But experts feel this style statement can cause serious harm to the body if proper care is not taken.
…………….
“Increased pressure puts the forefoot at risk of injuries such as stress fractures, bunions and hammer toes. Knee pain is also common when high heels are involved,” says Ashish Jain, M.S. (orthopaedics), consultant joint replacement specialist at Max Hospital.

“The heel height causes increased strain on the knee joint and associated tendons. The quadriceps muscle group in the front of the thigh works harder, increasing pressure on the kneecap by up to 26 percent.”

“This can ultimately increase the incidence of osteoarthritis of the knee and quadriceps tendonitis,” Jain added.

Jain also spoke of other hazards
. :-

He revealed that when the heel is constantly elevated, the calf muscle and Achilles tendon can contract and shorten. Wearing high heels habitually can result in a woman not being able to tolerate a flat shoe. On occasions, this can even require surgery to lengthen the Achilles tendon.

Sometimes the tight fit of many heels will force the toes to conform to its shape. The pressure of the shoe itself can cause corns to form. Furthermore, the compression of the metatarsal bones can cause pressure on the nerves that run between them.

“The toenails are also at risk as the incidence of in-growing toenails and nail infections is higher in heel wearers. In-growing toenails can be very painful, unsightly and require surgery to correct,” Jain added.

Women feel high heels like gladiator sandals, tip toes and others add a touch of elegance and glamour to one’s overall style and the legs appear longer and slimmer. Thus, to look special in that chic footwear and not experience painful after effects, many are going in for dermal fillers.

“It has been observed that women are undergoing filler injections to plump up the underside of their feet, thus filling them out and providing padding inside the foot to relieve the pain that comes from wearing high heels,” said Satish Bhatia, dermatologist and skin surgeon, Lady Ratan Tata Medical and Research Centre.

“This trend is rising despite the fact that the effect does not usually last for more than six-seven months,” Bhatia added.

Given that certain industries like hospitality, aviation and fashion place a premium on height and appearance, wearing heels becomes a norm, thus making women opt for the expensive solution to ease pain arising out of use of high heels.

“The dermal filler injection is injected in the ball of the foot to ease the pain caused by wearing high heels. The injection costs between Rs.12,000 and Rs.15,000,” he added.

Rajesh Malhotra, professor of orthopaedics, AIIMS, threw light on a few other ways of curing the pain arising out of extended use of stilettos.

“The best way to avoid pain is that one stops wearing high heels at all because they are the cause of the problem. But if that is not possible then there are a few treatments,” he said.

“The entire body pressure is on the ball of the foot; so among many treatments one is that we put the metatarsal bar on the sole of the footwear so that the entire body weight is not on the ball of the foot, which results in less pain,” Malhotra told.

If it is very essential to wear heels, the maximum height advised by doctors is not more than an inch.

“The height of the heel also changes the amount of weight on the forefoot. A one-inch heel will increase the pressure by 22 percent, a two-inch heel by 57 percent and a three-inch heel by 76 percent. So anything not more than an inch is fine,” said Jain.

Source:
The Times Of India. June 12. 2010

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Health Alert

Running Shoes May Damage Your Knees & Hips

Finally got that new pair of running shoes? Well, before you get down to taking them on the jogging track, here’s a piece of information—running shoes are likely to damage knees, hips and ankles.

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In a study, researchers compared the effects on knee, hip and ankle joint motions of running barefoot versus running in modern running shoes.

They concluded that running shoes exerted more stress on these joints compared to running barefoot or walking in high-heeled shoes.

Sixty-eight healthy young adult runners (37 women), who run in typical, currently available running shoes, were selected from the general population. None had any history of musculoskeletal injury and each ran at least 15 miles per week.

All runners were provided with a running shoe, selected for its neutral classification and design characteristics typical of most running footwear. They observed each subject running barefoot and with shoes using a treadmill and a motion analysis system.

The researchers observed increased joint torques at the hip, knee and ankle with running shoes compared with running barefoot.

Disproportionately large increases were observed in the hip internal rotation torque and in the knee flexion and knee versus torques.

An average 54 pct increase in the hip internal rotation torque, a 36 pct increase in knee flexion torque, and a 38 pct increase in knee varus torque were measured when running in running shoes compared with barefoot.

The findings confirmed that while the typical construction of modern-day running shoes provides good support and protection of the foot itself, one negative effect is the increased stress on each of the 3 lower extremity joints.

These increases are likely caused in large part by an elevated heel and increased material under the medial arch, both characteristic of today’s running shoes.

“Remarkably, the effect of running shoes on knee joint torques during running (36pc-38pc increase) that the authors observed here is even greater than the effect that was reported earlier of high-heeled shoes during walking (20pc-26pc increase). Considering that lower extremity joint loading is of a significantly greater magnitude during running than is experienced during walking, the current findings indeed represent substantial biomechanical changes,” said lead author D. Casey Kerrigan, JKM Technologies LLC, Charlottesville, VA, and co-investigators.

Kerrigan concluded: “Reducing joint torques with footwear completely to that of barefoot running, while providing meaningful footwear functions, especially compliance, should be the goal of new footwear designs.”

Source :
The study has been published in the latest issue of PM&R: The journal of injury, function and rehabilitation .

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News on Health & Science

Throw Away Your Shoes

Wearing shoes alters the shape and normal functioning of the feet, researchers have found.
…………………..BARE FOOT WALKING
Barefoot walkers in south India, who have never worn a pair of shoes or sandals in their entire lives, are teaching a lesson or two about footwear — that constantly using shoes alters the normal form and function of the foot, and that this may even lead to the development of an undesirable peak pressure under the sole, which in some cases could become life threatening.

Nearly 100 barefoot walkers from the interiors of Mandya, Kolar and Bangalore districts in Karnataka, India, left a footprint in the world of academics when a multinational team of researchers from Belgium, India and the UK descended on them to record their footfall.

Team leader Kristiaan D’Aout, a biologist at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, had always wanted to study the changes that footwear brings to the human feet. The idea was to gain an insight into normal foot functioning, which has evolved over millions of years.

However, with no barefoot walkers in Europe, D’Aout was forced to keep the idea in cold storage until he met Vinaya Anand Suratkal, a doctor from the Bangalore-based Jain Institute of Vascular Sciences (JIVAS), at a conference in Vienna about two years ago. JIVAS, which is part of the Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain Hospital in Bangalore, runs a mobile clinic that travels to rural areas in and around Bangalore to screen and treat those suffering from foot ulcers associated with diabetes.

The study, which won this year’s Nike Research Award — instituted by the sports goods giant Nike — studied the morphology and biomechanical functions of the feet in three distinct healthy populations: barefoot walkers, habitually shod Indians, and Europeans who have always worn footwear. It found that barefoot walkers have a relatively wider forefoot and the pressure is distributed more evenly over the entire surface of the sole than in the other two groups.

Habitually shod Indians wear shoes less often than Westerners do. Also, their shoes are less constraining. Yet, the scientists found significant differences when compared to their habitually barefoot peers, both in the foot shape and pressure distribution.

“The evolutionary history of humans shows that barefoot walking is the natural situation,” D’Aout told KnowHow. While the use of shoes remains a necessity when one walks on unsafe surfaces and in athletics, footwear fails to respect the natural shape and function of the feet.

The researchers hope that the findings will not only help clinicians who treat foot ulcers, but will also lead to the designing of better footwear that will not hamper the feet’s biologically normal functions.

D’Aout’s chance meeting with Vinaya, who was in Vienna to present a paper on the work being done at JIVAS, seemed like a golden opportunity to the Belgium biologist. Realising that many in India still do not wear shoes for religious or financial reasons, he decided to collaborate with the researchers at JIVAS. “Kristiaan approached us with his idea and we thought it was fascinating,” says Kalkunte R. Suresh, director of JIVAS. “When our mobile van goes into the villages, the patients generally do not come alone; they are accompanied by a few other healthy relatives. We requested these healthy individuals, who have never worn shoes or sandals in their life, to participate in the study and walk on a foot scanner,” says Suresh.

D’Aout is not saying that people shouldn’t wear footwear. “Footwear is a wonderful invention. But the human foot is adapted to barefoot walking,” he says.

The study has shown that wearing shoes lifelong leads to an increase in peak pressure under the sole. “This is certainly bad in some people (it causes ulceration in diabetes patients), and it remains to be seen whether it is a real problem in healthy people. It does make sense to have low pressures though, but nobody knows exactly if there is, for example, a threshold value of pressure that should not be exceeded,” he explains.

“We have shown that footwear does change the foot, and so it makes sense to walk barefoot every now and then (at least for healthy people and, of course, ensuring that the walking surface is safe),” adds D’Aout. This, he says, will keep the feet in shape and the muscles trained.

According to D’Aout, people in India have better footwear habits than those in the West. They often wear open shoes and wear them less often (for example, many prefer to walk barefoot in the house). Besides, children too mostly walk barefoot.

The study also found that wearing shoes throughout makes one’s feet narrower and leads to poor load distribution. Besides, it is better not to wear shoes that constrain the toes (like do some fashionable women’s footwear) or are overly protective (like mountaineering boots) for everyday use.

So be careful about what footwear you use, and when to fling them off. Go ahead, just do it.

Source:
The Telkegraph (Kolkata, India)

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