I slipped and fell in September, causing a great deal of bruising to my big toe joint. An x-ray ruled out a fracture. However, the area is still quite painful, especially in shoes with any kind of heel where it puts pressure on the toe joint. There is no significant swelling or bruising remaining, but the area is quite red at the end of the day. Is there anything you suggest that I should do to help with pain and movement of the joint? I currently take ibuprofen to help manage the pain.
>> There are a couple of herbal ointments that you may find useful in treating both the pain and the underlying trauma to the toe. Cayenne ointment is great at reducing inflammation, increasing blood flow to the area, and helping with the pain.
Comfrey ointment has long been used to help heal sprains, strains, and fractures. Using the two together is a great idea since the cayenne ointment helps to draw the comfrey in deeper to work more effectively. Comfrey, also known as ‘knitbone’ and ‘boneset’, has even been utilised by orthopaedic surgeons in the treatment of complicated fractures. It is thought that the anti-inflammatory protein allantoin, found in the leaves and roots of comfrey, stimulates the cells and promotes rapid healing. Comfrey has been shown in trials to be at least as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs in reducing pain, inflammation and swelling.
Internally, the best remedy to treat this type of injury is the homeopathic combination called Arnica Symphytum. Homeopathic arnica (Arnica montana) is already a well known natural remedy for accidents and injuries, while symphytum is the botanical name for comfrey (symphytum officinale).
The anti-inflammatory herb boswellia serrata, also known as Indian frankincense, has been proven in clinical studies to be as powerful as ibuprofen and other over-the-counter pain relief.
You may also find that acupuncture can help restore normal movement and address the pain you are experiencing.
I have an issue with my vision that my ophthalmologist calls flashes and floaters. They come and go, and don’t seem to cause any trouble. He says that they are harmless and there is nothing to be done. Is there anything that I could have done to prevent them?
>> Flashes are typically the result of the vitreous humor thickening, which pulls on the retina. This event is experienced as a “flash” — a little like seeing stars following a bump to the head.
Flashes can also occur as symptom of ocular migraines, which are migraines without the pain and other common symptoms. The vitreous humor thickens as a natural part of the ageing process, but in rare cases can be a sign of the retina becoming detached. Your ophthalmologist will be monitoring for any signs of this, so you are doing the right thing by getting this professionally checked.
Floaters are actually shadows of cellular debris floating inside the eye. As small clumps of gel or cells float within the eye fluid, they cast shadows on the retina, and it is this that you are seeing. While it is common for these floaters to eventually disappear, do contact your ophthalmologist immediately if you suddenly begin to see large numbers of these shadows.
There is not necessarily anything that you could have done to prevent the occurrence of the flashes and floaters, but there are a few things that you can do now to help support optimal eye health. Bilberry is a wonderful supplement for eye health, strengthening the capillaries carrying nutrients to the eye muscles and nerves. The antioxidant nutrients — vitamins A, C, E, and the minerals selenium and zinc — are all beneficial to ocular health, with studies indicating that a daily dose of 50,000 IU of vitamin A will specifically help to prevent floaters in your vision.
Terra Nova’s Bilberry, Lutein, & Astaxanthin complex is a formulation containing everything you need for eye healtH — 100 capsules cost €34.60 from health stores.