April is Foot Health Awareness Month! Did you know that 25% of all of the bones in your body are in your feet? When one of these bones are out of alignment, it can cause issues throughout your entire body! The average person will walk approximately 115,000 miles in a lifetime, that is more than 4 times around the earth! It is easy to see why taking care of our feet is so important. Most of us wouldn’t go through a day without brushing our teeth, but you also shouldn’t go through a day without taking care of your feet! We wanted to share some important tips to help keep your feet healthy and happy!
Things you can do every day to take good care of your feet:
- Check them daily for swelling, cuts, sores, or infection.
- Clean them everyday with warm water, but avoid soaking them as this can dry them out.
- Moisturize them everyday, but not in between your toes. Try to keep this area dry to avoid infection.
- Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes. If your shoes hurt your feet, you shouldn’t wear them!
- Buy shoes that have adequate arch support.
- Don’t wear the same pair of shoes every day.
- Trim your toenails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails and/or infection.
- Wear moisture-wicking socks or socks made with blended materials when wearing closed toe shoes to prevent fungal infections.
- Seek help if you have discolored toenails, it could be an indication of an underlying condition.
Just like there are things you can do everyday to help keep your feet healthy, there are also things that you may be doing that can cause your feet pain or other problems!
Here are some things to be aware of that can negatively affect the health of your feet:
- Pedicures or foot spas– They may seem like a treat for your feet, but if not properly cleaned they can harbor bacteria. To protect yourself, try to go first thing in the morning. Do not get a pedicure if you have bites or scratches on your feet or legs, and wait 24 hours after shaving or waxing to get a pedicure.
- High Heels– It seems obvious wearing high heels frequently or for long periods of time can cause pain in your feet. But pain is not the only issue, they can also cause strains, sprains, and stiffness of the Achilles Tendon.
- Exercising too much too soon– Take it slow when beginning an exercise regimen. Going too hard too quickly can cause foot pain and even stress fractures.
- Poorly controlled diabetes– This can cause nerve damage and foot ulcers. Keep your diabetes under control, perform daily foot inspections, don’t go barefoot, and see your Podiatrist regularly.
- Wearing shoes that lack support- Flip flops and other flat shoes can lead to problems in your feet. Supportive shoes are always the better choice!
- Too much body fat– Research suggests it may not only cause pain because of the additional weight. Excess fat tissue may cause inflammation and other problems that damage tissues in the foot.
- Alcohol Abuse– Alcohol is toxic to your nerves, and over time can damage the nerves in your feet.
- Public Pools, showers, or locker rooms– These can be a breeding ground for fungal infections. Keep your bare feet off the ground in these types of places!
- Smoking– This can cause diseases that can affect your feet including Buerger’s disease and Peripheral Artery Disease which can cause severe pain and sores that won’t heal.
When your feet ache, all too often, this pain keeps you away from living your life like you would want. With proper diagnosis and treatment, the specialists at Idaho Foot & Ankle Center can prepare a plan to help get you back to the activities you love! Being aware and diligent in your foot health can help prevent serious complications and problems, and foot health awareness month is a great time to evaluate any issues you may be having and get them taken care of. If you are experiencing any foot or ankle pain, please contact Dr. Kylin Kovac or Dr. Jed Erickson at Idaho Foot & Ankle Center for an appointment!
Some content provided by webmd.com and foot.com.