I do not know when this started but in my travels, I got into the habit of having the traditional bacon and eggs for breakfast everywhere I traveled to. After a while I started posting the photo on Facebook to have a bit of fun. I called it my ‘breakfast of champions’. The Facebook posts always got some humorous replies, especially if the bake beans touched the bacon! It was just a bit of fun.
After a while, I decided I need to collect all the photos and put them in one place, so I built a website and went back through Facebook to collect all the photos in one place with some commentary about where I was and what I was doing there. See it here: Breakfast of Champions Travels
Chilblain season has just finished for us here in Melbourne and I will have to admit that this year I have seen more than a few really serious cases – a few more than usual. One in particular was so bad and nothing neither I or her GP could do could make any headway to helpher. For the first time ever, I was serious when I said that they should move and live in a warmer climate. I have joked with patients in the past about this, but this time I was really serious.
I do find chilblains somewhat frustrating to treat as there is not a lot that can be done to help them and most treatments just tend to give some symptomatic relief while you wait for them to heal up and hope another one does not occur before that first one heals up. I have tried lots of things, various chilblain creams tend to only have limited effectiveness, but do help somewhat with a bit of symptomatic relief. They have been used historically with many claims made for chilblain creams.
The other intriguing phenomenon about chilblains is the number of people who say the used to have them and for some reason they just stopped. You can never elicit from anyone something that might have changed for them in the year that they stopped. They just stopped for no identifiable reason. That one is a mystery on me.
They certainly are more common in females, suggesting a role for hormones, but I am not aware of anything involving that to explain the pattern of them resolving and not occurring again for no reason.
All we can do is resort to creams etc and give very strong advice on preventing them… and very occasional suggesting they move to a warmer climate.
There is some good information on Podiatry Arena about chilblains. All the new research is published there as soon as it hits the press.
No sooner did I write a post about the bunion correctors did I get an email asking me what I thought about exercises for bunions? I not a big fan and have a similar view to those I have of bunion correctors.
Think about the force that are creating a bunion. Think about the force that comes from the biomechanics and the forces that come from the shoes. Do you think a bit of muscle strengthening is going to fix that? Unlikely. Yet if you get online and search you see so many touting bunion exercises as the holy grail to cure bunions. You will notice that not one of them can point to a single study or a bit of research that supports their claims.
So does that mean bunion exercises are useless?
Not necessarily. There is no evidence that they can correct bunions and the mechanism by which they could is based on flimsy evidence or nothing, but should you do them?
I have been getting patients for years to do exercises for their bunions, but not in the expectation or hope that will fix them, but in the expectation that they will keep the joint mobile and flexible. That is a good thing. That does tend to help with some of the aches that happen in the joint.
What bunion exercises should you do?
I recommend this one, its a band around the toes and you pull the feet apart – it goes a long way to help the mobility of the joint and that helps the symptoms:
I seem to be writing a number of short sharp cynical posts lately and this may or may not be another one of the those. Because of my work, you get a lot of targeted advertising on Facebook and other social media sites based on websites I may have visited or posts that I engaged with. Obviously, a lot of stuff targeted at those with foot problems are going to show up to me. Some of that stuff is really bad and I have to try really hard to bite my tongue and not respond. I do have a habit of trolling flat earthers and pseudoscience peddlers but have leant from experience that if you troll those selling crap products, they just delete your post, so I think better of it.
Lately, I have had a flurry of promotional adverts turn up for these “bunion correctors”. I used to never think much of them. You are supposed to wear them at night and they are supposed to correct the angle of the hallux valgus. My opinion was always that during the day you have the force of the shoes and the force of the biomechanics creating the bunion or hallux valgus is way greater than the force that these bunion splints can provide during the night. That was my somewhat cynical view, so I did not put a lot of faith in them. But, they have been used for over 100 years and something that has been used for that long has to be good … right? You still do see a lot of people asking about them online.
But like any good clinician, you should stick to the evidence. And there is a study showing that they can correct the angle by a few degrees after a months use, so it does look like they may be able to help a bit. I probably should revise my opinion of them.
What I will not be doing is revising my opinion of some of the clowns that try to sell them and their before and after photos. Follow this series of photos that I screen captured of a website trying to sell them:
Its does not take a rocket scientist to notice that the before photo is the left foot and the after photo is the right foot and the shoe on the ground tells us that the photos were taken on the same day. And these photos were being used to tell us how great the bunion correctors were and to sell them. They must be pretty stupid to think people are that blind.