Happy National Foot Health Awareness Month!
The month of April is designated toward brining Foot Health to the forefront of conversation, so that will be the intention of the Blog this month. Keeping your feet in their best condition can make you feel better all over. We all know, when our feet hurt, our entire body hurts!
Did you know…
– Each foot is composed of 26 bones (together both feet contain 1/4 of the bones in the entire body), 33 joints and over 100 muscles and tendons.
– The average person, over their lifetime, will walk approximately the same distance as if they had walked around the earth 4 times.
– 1.5 times a person’s body weight is transmitted through your foot with every step!
Although your Podiatrist is the authority on everything “feet,” caring for your feet and keeping them healthy is something that you can do at home.
1. Keep feet clean and dry. In the shower make sure you scrub feet well and dry thoroughly, including between the toes. Following this simple rule will decrease your chance of infections such as athlete’s foot, plantar warts and fungal infections of the nails.
2. Trim nails straight across. This technique is the proper way to trim a nail and will prevent your risk of ingrown toenails. If you have difficulty seeing your toenails well enough to trim them, try using an emery board.
3. Wear comfortable and supportive sneakers when participating in activities. Wearing supportive sneakers decreases your risk of injury, especially ankle sprains/strains. To check your sneakers for support you can use these simple tests:
a. Holding the heel of the shoe in one hand and the toes of the shoe in the other, try to bend the shoe in half, upwards, bringing the heel and toe of the shoe together. There should be some give, but you should not be able to bend the shoe in half.
b. Holding the shoe in one hand so that the heel of the shoe is facing you and the toes of the shoe are facing away, use your other hand to squeeze the heel of the shoe from side to side. The heel should not collapse and if it does, it means there is little support for your heel and ankle in that shoe.
4. Always put on a clean pair of socks. Economically speaking it may be easier to wear a pair of socks twice, especially if you’ve only worn them for a few minutes or just around the house. However, any dirt or bacteria that was on your feet the first time you wore those socks is still in there for the second wear. It’s best to get a clean pair!
5. Never go barefoot. Not only does going barefoot decrease the support provided to your foot, but also leaves you vulnerable to injury. Stubbing a toe or stepping on a piece of glass can lead to complications that you would rather avoid and may include weeks of recovery.
6. If you’re diabetic, this is the month to make your Podiatric Check-up appointment! Your podiatrist will be able to check the blood flow to your feet as well as your “protective sensation,” which can indicate that you are at risk for ulcerations. Both sensation and blood flow, along with your ability to heal wounds decreases the longer you have been a diabetic. It’s important to get checked so you know where you stand and protective measures can be taken to prevent loss of these attributes. For uncomplicated diabetics, an appointment every 6 months is sufficient. If you do have diabetic complications, every 3 months is recommended.
7. If you’re not diabetic, you don’t necessarily need to make a Podiatrist appointment, as the advice above should help keep your feet healthy! However, if you notice any abnormalities, injuries, or signs of infection, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
I hope these tips bring you “happy feet” that stay healthy and pain-free!