Archive for April, 2013

5 Benefits of a Good Night’s Rest

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

benefits of sleepingThe elusive ‘good night’s sleep’ is something we all long for. But, of course, life often gets in the way. Work, kids, booze and caffeine can be brutal enemies of the sandman. While you may know the reason for your lack of sleep, you might not know what you’re robbing yourself of. Here are five benefits of a good night’s sleep.

You’ll stay skinny.

The weight loss industry is a HUGE money-maker. But what if staying slim was as simple as sleeping well? Meet leptin and ghrelin–hormones that regulate your appetite and, more importantly, hormones disrupted by lack of sleep. That means if you don’t get enough shut-eye, you’ll be reaching for extra snacks all day long and increasing your waistline.

You’ll be less stressed.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body goes on the defensive. In other words, you’re physically stressed. A body under stress means higher blood pressure which eventually can lead to heart attacks and strokes. In a cruel twist of fate, that stress can also make it harder to sleep. Exercise and various relaxation techniques are stress-busters that can help you rest.

You’ll look more attractive

Beauty sleep is no myth. In 2010, the British Medical Journal published a study in which they photographed people in two different states: sleep deprived and well-rested. A large public panel reviewed the photos and overwhelmingly rated the well-rested more attractive. That shouldn’t come as a surprise; we’ve all looked in the mirror after a short night’s sleep and been less than happy with what we see. The good news? Your skin recovers quickly. So, get some rest tonight, and you’ll see the results tomorrow.

You’ll be a winner

If you’re an athlete–even just a weekend warrior–sleep is hugely important. While you’re resting, muscle tissue that you’ve broken down through exercise is rebuilt even stronger. So, get up early and pump that iron, but get to bed early too and your body will thank you for it.

You’ll remember things clearly

While your body is resting, your brain is doing anything but. Something called ‘memory consolidation’ happens while you sleep. In other words, your mind is processing memories and making links between events that will help you recollect all you’ve learned and experienced throughout the day. Take something like learning a foreign language. Researchers have found that language learners who get plenty of sleep have greater success. In a way, you’ll be involuntarily ‘practicing’ the language in slumber. Talk about multitasking!

‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ say the perpetually tired and always busy. Well, a good night’s sleep is definitely not a waste of time. It makes the awake parts of life that much better.

Flip Flop Danger!

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

As the warm months approach, many of us want to get out of our stuffy shoes and socks and enjoy our sandals.  This is a great idea, and sandals are a fine option if they offer support and cushioning to the feet.  However, flip flops pose many dangers to the feet, as they offer no support.  Some podiatric studies have found that they can be as bad or worse than going barefoot due to the amount of pressure that the foot gets when wearing them.  Interestingly, our toes often grab the bottoms of the flip flops to keep them on when walking.  This can worsen toe deformities such as hammer toes but can also cause irritation of the surrounding areas like the plantar plate, capsules, and nerves
going to and around our toes.

Flip flops lead to many dangers during the warm months of the year.  First, they offer no support of the arch or the rearfoot (heel).  This can lead to tendon pain (tendonitis), muscle soreness (myositis), or heel and arch pain (typically, plantar fasciiits) because the foot is not properly supported.  Second, because of the lack of support and
stability, people are more prone to twisting the foot or ankle when wearing flip flops.  This leads to ankle sprains and even fractures, or broken bones.

Finally, flip flops can get caught under our feet or objects (playground equipment, etc), and this can lead to cuts, sores, lacerations, and serious
injuries to the skin and underlying structures.

Therefore, when buying spring and summer shoes, it is important to make smart choices.  Look for a
supportive sandal that you cannot bend or twist.  There should be some cushioning and support for the arch on the bottom.  Additionally, straps that do not allow the foot to move around when walking are essential for support.  Finally, it is important to make sure that none of the areas are rubbing on the foot and causing irritation.

Dr. Bender is a podiatrist for Advanced Physical Medicine and practices at the Oak Park and Chicago/63rd locations.  She
loves helping people make good choices for their feet!  Dr. Bender has been in practice since 2001, when she finished her podiatric residency at North Chicago VA, St. Joesph Hospital, and St. Anthony Hospital.  To schedule your appointment with her, call 708-763-0580 or 773-776-3166.

3 Tips to Prevent Foot and Ankle Injuries this Summer

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

As the weather improves and temperatures rise, many of us are eager to get
outside for running, biking, walking, or to enjoy a variety of outdoor sports.
Being active is a great way to keep our bodies healthy.

However, it is important to keep some key things in mind to prevent foot and ankle injuries that could hinder our summer fun!

1.  Proper Shoes

It is essential to wear supportive shoe gear when exercising.  The shoes should not be bendable or twistable and that the heel portion should be rigid.  Sandals, flip flops, and
shoes without a back do not provide enough support and can cause serious
injuries.  Wearing these does not allow for the foot to be supported and does
not adequately control abnormal rear foot motion which can lead to
injuries.

2.  Stretching

Stretching is part of a healthy work out program.  Before exercising, it is essential to stretch.  Beginning a run or a game of volleyball without stretching can lead to tendon injuries, especially. For ideas about what stretches would be best for you, Dr. Bender or the
Advanced Physical Medicine Physical Therapy Department can outline a plan that
would be good for your exercise plans.  Additionally, we can train you on how to
perform the stretches.

3.  Hydration

Drinking enough water keeps our bodies properly hydrated and nourished so that we can exercise longer and more effectively.

Finally, if you do injure yourself while exercising, it is important to make a podiatry appointment to get your foot or ankle injury treated immediately.  Dr. Bender practices at the Oak Park and 63rd St./Chicago locations of Advanced Physical Medicine.  She has been in practice since 2001 and treats all conditions of the foot and ankle.  Please call 708-763-0580 or 773-776-3166 for your appointment.