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Physical Therapy and MS
last updated:
Fri, 3/04/2011 3:14 PM
Physical therapy can help manage multiple sclerosis symptom management. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and the spinal cord.  The result may be the loss of muscle control, vision impariment, and balance and sensation loss.  The damage is caused by one's own immune system.

A build up of scar tissue develops in areas of the brain and spinal cord. The scar tissue forms because the protective covering, myelin, over the nerves is destroyed.  The information from the brain and spinal cord that travels along these nerves is disrupted and see the symptoms of multiple sclerosis develop.

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Dawn Caldwell is a Physical Therapist in Memphis, Tennessee with Methodist Healthcare. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Call 888.777.5959 for more information.

Diabetes Foot Care
last updated:
Wed, 12/08/2010 3:17 PM

When you have diabetes, proper foot care is very important. Poor foot care with diabetes can lead to serious health problems, including possibly having to remove the foot or leg (amputation).It's important to understand the connection between diabetes and foot care. As a person with diabetes, you are more vulnerable to foot problems because diabetes can damage your nerves and reduce blood flow to your feet. By taking proper care of your feet, most serious health problems associated with diabetes can be prevented.

  • Wash and Dry Your Feet Daily
  • After washing, use lotion on your feet to prevent cracking. Do not put lotion between your toes.
  • Examine Your Feet Each Day
  • Take Care of Your Toenails
  • Check the tops and bottoms of your feet. Have someone else look at your feet if you cannot see them.
  • Check for dry, cracked skin.
  • Look for blisters, cuts, scratches, or other sores.
  • Check for redness, increased warmth, or tenderness when touching any area of your feet.
  • Check for ingrown toenails, corns, and calluses.
  • If you get a blister or sore from your shoes, do not "pop" it. Apply a bandage and wear a different pair of shoes.
  • You may want a podiatrist (foot doctor) to cut your toenails.
  • If you have Medicare your doctor can prescribe diabetic shoes and Medicare will cover the cost.
  • Be careful when exercising
  • Walk and exercise in comfortable shoes.
  • Do not exercise when you have open sores on your feet.
  • Protect your feet with shoes and socks
  • Never go barefoot. Always protect your feet by wearing shoes or hard-soled slippers or footwear.

Your health care provider should examine your feet at each visit. In addition, see your health care provider if you have any of the following problems with your feet:

  • Athlete's foot
  • Sores or wounds on your feet
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Increasing numbness or pain
  • Calluses
  • Redness
  • Blackening of skin
  • Bunions
  • Infection
  • Hammer toes (when the middle joint of toes is permanently bent downward)
  • Footwear Test: make sure your shoes fit properly.

Use this simple test to see if your shoes fit correctly:

  1. Stand on a piece of paper. (Make sure you are standing and not sitting, because your foot changes shape when you stand.)
  2. Trace the outline of your foot.
  3. Trace the outline of your shoe.
  4. Compare the tracings: Is the shoe too narrow? Is your foot crammed into the shoe? The shoe should be at least 1/2 inch longer than your longest toe and as wide as your foot.

The best way to manage your diabetic feet are to keep your blood sugars monitored and your blood sugars under control. When your blood sugar is out of control you are at risk of developing diabetic ulcers and skin problems. Make sure you take care of your feet. Proper foot care is very important. Just remember that more than 60% of nontraumatic lower leg amputations occur in people with diabetes. Many times if care was taken with the proper foot care, the amputation may have been prevented.

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Dawn Caldwell is a Physical Therapist in Memphis, Tennessee with Methodist Healthcare. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Call 888.777.5959 for more information.

Muscle Soreness or Injury?
last updated:
Tue, 11/16/2010 10:11 AM

Is your pain from muscle soreness or is it an injury?

Pain is an indicator that something is wrong. So many people have the idea that “No Pain, No Gain” is the way to workout and exercise. Too many people cause injury from pushing through it and not listening to their body. IF you body says “No.” due to pain, then stop. The moment you begin feeling pain in a joint, tendon, ligament or your back/neck, STOP. You can prevent new injuries and further problems from developing with an old injury. Readjust your position, find a different way to do the exercise, find another way to work that area of the body, but stop when you feel the pain. Exercise should not be painful.

Working out too hard and too quickly can make you sore and feel like you have an injury. If you are sore, chances are that in a few days, the soreness will gradually leave. If you are injured, the soreness and pain is usually longer and may need intervention.

Soreness is a mild breakdown of the muscle’s cells and development of the waste product lactic acid in the muscle. It can be severe, especially if you overdo training. Example: If you go out and run a 5K and have not trained in over a year, then you can bet you will be sore. If you started walking and built up to a walk/jog, then run with time, then the 5K would not be so hard on your body.

Injuries are different. They are caused from hyperextension, repetitive trauma, lack of stretching or warming up muscles, improper body mechanics and positioning, etc. Injuries can be severe, painful and nagging. The important thing is not to ignore the injury. Get treatment.

Soreness on the other hand, you need to let your body recover. Try these tips:

  • Back off of the intensity of the exercise and let the body recuperate.
  • Begin Slowly, working into the higher intensity exercises.
  • Do your exercise correctly.
  • Use proper body mechanics.
  • If the weight is too heavy and you start using your back instead of lifting with your legs, lower the weight amount and work up to your goal while maintaining body mechanics and proper positioning.
  • Warm up before and stretch prior to any exercise.

Listen to your body. If it says, “No, I’m in too much pain.” then stop and see what the problem is before you cause a problem. Be smart with exercise.

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Dawn Caldwell is a Physical Therapist in Memphis, Tennessee with Methodist Healthcare. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Call 888.777.5959 for more information.

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Methodist Healthcare is an integrated health care delivery system, dedicated to the art of healing through our faith-based commitment to minister to the whole person. 1211 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38104 • (901) 516-7000

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