ASK THE DOCTOR
QCould you please give me some advice on a heel spur – are there exercises or a shoe that might help? A.W., Vic. A heel spur is a bony calcium deposit on the underside of your heel. It is a sign of inflammation and often associated with plantar fasciitis. A podiatrist may assess the biomechanics of your foot. Strapping your foot or orthotics may help. The pain can be reduced by wearing supportive footwear, and doing stretching exercises for your foot and calf muscles.
QThe Heart Foundation now says that fish oil is not as good as they thought for heart health. Is it still worth taking fish oil for arthritis? L.D., NSW. The recommendations about fish oil have ebbed and flowed for years. It is clear that we need omega 3 fatty acids for good health. Good sources include fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and canola oil. Fish oil supplements do seem to help reduce inflammatory arthritis.
QI play a lot of netball and now find my knees painful. Any advice? J.K., SA. Netball can be hard on your knees because it involves jarring jumps and twisting movements, and knee injuries are the most common injury. Your GP can refer you to a sports physiotherapist
QI have brittle, splitting nails and am unsure what is causing them. Could they be caused by something like washing up liquids or is there an important vitamin or mineral missing from my diet? I would really like to fix them. A.D., Qld. This is a common problem. Repeated hand wetting and drying is the most common cause. Chemicals, detergents and alkalis can also cause brittle nails. Supplements which may help your nail health include biotin, silicon, vitamin E and fish oil.
QMy mother has become very absentminded. Is there any way I can tell whether it is just old age or something like dementia? What symptoms should ring alarm bells? Z.M., NSW. You will need to take her to her GP for a full medical assessment as there are many conditions that can mimic dementia, such as medication, depression or urinary tract infection. Warning signs include having trouble with everyday tasks, loss of interest, personality or behavioural changes and trouble remembering recent events.