Are you taking good care of your feet?

April is Foot Health Awareness Month. Are you taking good care of your feet? Many of the foot and ankle injuries physicians see in the spring and summer result from overactivity.

People are generally less active during the winter months and the weather warms, they want to rush into outdoor activities such as running without easing themselves back into exercise gradually.

Here are some tips on foot care from two foot and ankle specialists at the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute, Drs. Kyle Fiala and Ben Summerhays.

  • Wear comfortable, supportive shoes. The soles should have some flexibility, but you shouldn’t be able to fold them to the point the toe can touch the heel.
  • For physical activity, choose shoes that allow your feet to breathe and sweat to evaporate.
  • Check that your shoes fit properly. There should be approximately a thumb-width of space between your toe and the end of the shoe.
  • Exercise your toes by picking up a ball or a sock with them. Toe strength is important to your balance and propulsion as you walk and run.
  • Stretch your feet and ankles. Try to outline the alphabet with your feet, or stand on an incline to stretch your Achilles’ tendon.

“Like the rest of the body, your feet adjust to the amount and type of activity you do,” Fiala said. “If you’re new to running, or you have taken it easy for a few months, set a goal to gradually build your speed and distance over time. Don’t jump into your first week by sprinting or running several miles. That’s something you can build up to over the course of several weeks.”

Missouri Orthopaedic Institute TriZou Triathlon – May 5, 2013

MOI TriZouSponsored by Missouri Orthopaedic Institute, TriZou traditionally kicks off the multisport season in Columbia. Two events are offered that day. A short course duathlon the “DuZou” is a 1 mile run, 7 mile bike and 1 mile run. The sprint trialthon “TriZou” is a 400 meter pool swim, 14 mile bike and 3 mile run. Read more about the TriZou Triathlon.

Watch a video from last year’s event and register today!

MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital Go Girl Run – May 25, 2013

Go Girl RunWomen’s and Children’s Hospital is proud to be the title sponsor for the UltraMax Sports Go Girl Run again this year. Join us on Saturday, May 25 to help celebrate women, health and fitness, and ultimately support several women-centered charities in the area.

Watch a video about the event and sign up today!

Making Healthier Choices at Restaurants, Know Your Terms

For many of us, eating food prepared away from home has become a routine part of our lives, but even when many of your meals are eaten away from home, you can still make healthy choices. To help you determine your next entrée, reference this restaurant menu glossary:

Healthy choices

These preparation methods require little or no butter or oil, and bring out the ingredients’ great tastes and flavors:

  • Au jus
  • Au vin
  • Baked
  • Broiled
  • Consommé
  • Dry rub
  • Fresh
  • Herbed/ Herb crusted
  • Light
  • Light pan sauce
  • Marinara
  • Marinated
  • Poached
  • Red sauce
  • Roasted
  • Steamed
  • Stir-fried in broth
  • Tomato-based
  • Whole-grain

Less healthy choices

These preparation methods require added fat for a rich dish. When you select foods prepared in these cooking styles, balance with lower fat choices and be sure to get plenty of physical activity.

  • Au gratin
  • Basted
  • Batter-dipped
  • Béarnaise sauce
  • Bordelaise sauce
  • Breaded
  • Buttery
  • Cheesy
  • Creamy
  • Crispy
  • En casserole
  • Fried
  • Hollandaise
  • In gravy
  • Rich
  • Sautéed
  • Smothered
  • Stir-fried in oil
  • Stuffed

Many restaurants have begun to include choices that are more healthful. Have you tried some of these healthier dishes? What do you think? Let us know what your favorites are in the comments.

Wellness Wednesday – Stretch it Out

Did you know that hunching over the computer or phone could be the culprit of your sore shoulders? This position wreaks havoc on your posture and makes your head stick out, creating an unnatural posture for shoulder and back muscles. Relax your shoulders and open your chest with a classic yoga stretch.

Stand with right arm raised over your head, bend arm so elbow is pointing upward and right hand reaches behind your head. Extend left arm sideways, then lower it and reach upward behind your back; try to touch fingers together. Repeat stretch with left arm on top.

What are your favorite work-day stretches? Let us know in the comments.

I Have Come a Long Way

Valerie Simpson, guest blogger

By Valerie Simpson – wife, mother and health program specialist at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

When MU Health Care contacted me about doing a guest blog post to talk about the progress I have made since the inaugural HealthyU Couch to 5K program, I thought to myself that there was no way that anyone would want to hear about the failure that I have experienced. But, wait, to be honest, it hasn’t all been a failure! I have come a long way and I am too hard on myself. I have actually made quite a bit of progress.

I started the Couch to 5K program a few weeks before the 2012 February 28th training program.  When I started, I was not a newbie to exercise.  I had dabbled in it for awhile – doing Zumba a few times a week and doing DVDs at home, etc., but I have always wanted to be a runner.  I had tried the C25K program before and quit before week 3, but this time, I had a goal – I wanted to run in the first-ever Go Girl Run 5K in May with a few friends. So, I went and listened to Ted Brandt talk about running, forked out the money for new shoes, made my commitment and I did it!  I finished the C25K program the week before the Go Girl Run and my friends and I ran it. We did not run the whole time, but we finished it in a respectable amount of time (I don’t remember what the time was, nor do I care). I continued running about 3 ½ miles 3-4 times a week for a couple of weeks, but got bored with it. I felt like I needed a plan. I felt like I needed to push myself. I decided to start training for a half-marathon.

Turns out, I don’t have the dedication for half-marathon training! I have a full-time job, two small children, and a husband. I am also taking classes towards my Master’s Degree and I do enjoy a little social life! Once I stopped the half-marathon training, I stopped running completely for a couple of months. I just recently picked it back up, but stopped again over the holidays.

I love running. I love the way it makes me feel when I am finished. I love being able to say that I am a runner. I love that I can just lace up my shoes and go, but it’s still hard to get on that treadmill when I know I need to do it. I also apparently do better when I have a plan of some sort. So as of right now, I haven’t run for three weeks according to Map My Run (the app I use on my iPhone to track my runs) and I am not sure when I will run next. Maybe I will start the Couch to 5K program over again in February. Then, I can finish up the program just in time for Spring Break….

Have you started an exercise plan? What are your tips for success? Share them in the comments.

Wellness Wednesday – Tips to Boost Your Health

Stress weakens the immune system and worsens chronic conditions like asthma, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Laughing your way through shows like I Love Lucy or Saturday Night Live may hike your body’s natural disease-fighting cells or relieve tightness in your chest. Even “fake” laughter has been shown in brain scans to work in some studies. If you need help finding some chuckles, here’s some of the best news bloopers of 2012:

What are your favorite ways to loosen up and laugh? We’d love to hear them. Let us know in the comments.


Trick to Enjoying Treats

Kayla Otteson

Kayla Otteson, RD, LD

By Kayla Otteson, licensed and registered dietitian with MU Health Care

Halloween is fast approaching and marks the beginning of the busy and treat-filled holiday season. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up all the fun. You can maintain your healthy lifestyle by following a few easy “tricks” – just remember balance and moderation.

Healthy tricks for trick-or-treating

Before trick-or-treating even begins, talk to your kids and agree in advance about how much, and when candy can be eaten allowing them to be part of the decision.

Kids will be eating treats at school, friends’ houses, after care and trick-or-treating. Candy should be dessert, not a meal, so it’s a good idea to eat dinner before you go trick-or-treating.

After the trick-or-treating is over, help your kids choose their favorite kinds of candy. Any other candy can be donated to military support groups such as Halloween Candy Buy Back where participating dentists buy back candy from kids and donate it to U.S. military service members.

Offer healthier treats from your front door. Some giveaway ideas:

  • Temporary tattoos or stickers
  • Bouncy balls
  • Plastic spider rings
  • Noise makers or whistles
  • Crayons
  • Bracelets
  • Sugar-free gum
  • Low-fat pudding cups
  • Mini rice cereal treat bars
  • Small lollypops
  • Twizzlers
  • York peppermint patties

If you’re planning or attending a Halloween party, consider serving or bringing healthier party snacks such as:

  • Small water bottles
  • Apples with yogurt dip
  • Carrot sticks with low-fat dip
  • Dried apricots
  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Light popcorn
  • Pumpkin dip and graham crackers
  • Pumpkin muffins
  • Pumpkin seeds, roasted
  • Cups of canned peaches or mandarin oranges

What are some ways you and your family are trying to enjoy a more healthful Halloween? Let us know in the comments.

Tried and True Healthy Snacks for Kids

Aneesh Tosh, MD

Aneesh Tosh, MD, MS

By Aneesh Tosh, MD, MS and medical director of the University of Missouri Children’s Hospital’s adolescent and obesity program, the ADOBE Clinic

It’s never too early to start developing healthy lifestyle habits with your kids. When your child is hungry, help them refuel with tasty treats that are good for them. Here are a few suggestions:

Grab and go
These easy-to-pack snacks can go with you on errands, to sports/music/dance practices and much more:

  • Fresh fruit or fruit cup
  • Granola bar
  • Snack-size bag of pretzels, baked chips or Goldfish crackers
  • Mozzarella string cheese or cheddar cheese squares
  • Fat-free pudding cup or sugar-free Jell-O cup
  • 100-calorie snack pack
  • Low-fat yogurt

Quick fixes
Here are a few easy-to-make quick meal ideas for even the pickiest young eaters, and they’re all good and good for you:

  • Mini pizza: Whole-grain English muffin toasted and drizzled with pizza sauce and sprinkled with low-fat mozzarella cheese
  • Roll up: Mustard spread on a whole-grain tortilla, topped with a slice of turkey or ham, low-fat cheese, lettuce and rolled up
  • Banana split: Banana topped with low-fat vanilla and strawberry frozen yogurt and sprinkled with whole-grain cereal or nuts
  • Rocky road: Low-fat chocolate pudding with graham cracker pieces and miniature marshmallows mixed in
  • Parfait: Layers of vanilla yogurt and blueberries or mandarin oranges topped with granola
  • Vegetable dip: Mix one package dry ranch dressing mix, one cup plain low-fat yogurt and one cup light sour cream. Serve with fresh veggies.
  • Quick quesadilla: Monterey Jack cheese sprinkled over a corn tortilla, folded in half and microwaved for 20 seconds and topped with salsa
  • Mexican tortilla: Multi-grain tortilla with refried beans and cheese warmed in a toaster oven or microwave and topped with lettuce and salsa
  • Ants on a log: Celery sticks filled with peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese and topped with raisins
  • Trail mix: Ready-to-eat whole-grain cereal, dried fruit and nuts in a sandwich bag
  • Graham cracker sandwich with frozen yogurt and sliced banana in the middle
  • Small baked potato microwaved and topped with reduced-fat cheddar cheese and salsa
  • Snack kabobs with low-fat cheese cubes and grapes on pretzel sticks
  • Apple slices, whole-grain bagel or crackers topped with peanut butter
  • Smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana
  • Instant oatmeal with dried cranberries and chopped walnuts
  • Peanut butter and corn flakes shaped into balls and rolled in crushed graham crackers
  • Hot popcorn sprinkled with Parmesan cheese

What are your kid’s favorite healthy snacks? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.