April is National Foot Health Awareness month. As your toes start to peek out more for spring, make sure you’re taking care of your feet! Keep reading for tips on care and knowing when to see a doctor.
Taking great care of your feet is a simple matter of paying them a little attention every day. Thank your feet for all they do for you by:
- Examining your feet, including the soles every day for any wounds or abrasions
- Washing with soap and water every day and completely drying the feet
- Cutting toenails straight across help prevent ingrown toenails
- Wearing comfortable shoes with a supportive arch and large toe box.
Make sure that your shoes fit properly by getting sized professionally, because your shoe size can change slightly throughout your adult life. Purchase new shoes later in the day when your feet are largest and you can get a better sense of their fit and comfort. Restrictive footwear can cause foot pain and bunions. Wear the right shoes for the activity that you are engaged in, and replace worn out shoes. It’s also good to rotate shoes if you can give your shoes the opportunity to completely dry out before wearing again.
Diabetics are prone to foot problems like infections because they have decreased sensitivity in the extremities. If you are diabetic you should see a podiatrist at least once a year for an exam. Maintaining a healthy weight is important to reduce your risk of diabetes and to keep your feet healthy, too.
Your feet take a lot of impact every day. They are under a lot of pressure to get you around! You are bound to have some aches and pains, especially after wearing restrictive footwear or doing heavy activity. Foot pain can be caused by a number of conditions and injuries, including:
- Achilles tendonitis is a common overuse injury
- Arthritis often affects the feet
- Bunions form on the side of the big toe and can be painful
- Sprains and strains
- Plantar fasciitis causes heel pain and is common in people who spend all day on their feet
- Heel Spurs can be very painful
If you have symptoms of any of these conditions, or persistent pain in your foot you should see a podiatrist. Your podiatrist may ask to see your shoes, so wear or bring the ones you use most often and share your medical history with the doctor.
A podiatrist can prescribe or recommend a number of things for your foot pain. Custom foot orthotics worn in the shoes help align the bones in your foot as you walk to relieve pain. Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen your feet could be another recommendation. Sometimes surgery is needed to repair fractures or remove a large bunion. Whatever is causing you trouble, don’t continue to walk around in pain. Take care of your feet this month and every month!