April is Foot Health Awareness Month
Our feet play an important role in the health and well-being of our bodies. According to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, the average person takes up to 10,000 steps each day which can add up to more than three million steps per year.
We usually don't think about our feet until they start hurting. But by the time your foot or feet start hurting, you may have already sustained an injury or developed a health problem. If you are feeling pain, it is time to see your doctor or podiatrist to make sure you do not have a more serious issue.
Here are some ways to keep your feet healthy:
Wear the Right Shoes
- Make sure you are wearing the right shoes for the activity you are participating in with good arch support and a comfortable fit. Your shoes should not feel too tight and they should not be so loose that your heel slips out with each step. Avoid wearing flip flops as they often do not provide enough support. High heels are bad for your feet and spine and are the most common cause of foot pain in women.
Keep Your Feet Clean
- Foot hygiene is important in preventing fungal and bacterial growth or athlete's foot. Doctors recommend washing your feet daily with a mild soap, being sure to wash between the toes. After washing, dry feet completely.
Support Your Foot Arch
- Our feet are all unique. Whether you have a high arch, low arch, or an arch just right, the arch still needs to be adequately supported or else it can get injured, become too tight, or inflamed, which can result in Plantar Fasciitis, one of the most common foot injuries.
Diabetic? Check Your Feet
- If you are diabetic, it is even more important for you to check your own feet every day and annually with your doctor. At least once a week you should thoroughly inspect your feet, checking for bumps, bruises, cuts, sores, cracked skin and pain. Don't forget to check your toenails. Thick, discolored toenails can indicate a nail infection. Checking for issues regularly can help you treat issues quickly and prevent additional problems.
Get New Shoes
- Shoes get worn out over time and the support you started off with when they were new wears out. Make sure you get a new pair of shoes every 6 months.
Care for Your Skin
- Many people are good at making sure their skin on their hands or body are moisturized and not peeling, cracking, or dry. Feet on the other hand are often forgotten. Moisturize your feet and heels and make sure to use sunscreen when you are outside.
Trim Your Nails and Prevent Blisters
- Ingrown nails and blisters can be painful through every step or even as a constant, nagging pain. Cut nails straight across and avoid trimming too close to the skin or drastically rounding the corners of the nails, which can cause painful, ingrown toenails. Wear socks, keep your feet dry, and slowly break in new shoes to prevent blisters.
Take Care of Sweaty Feet
- Your feet have sweat glands galore - 250,000 in each foot! Perspiration creates the perfect environment for bacteria to develop. Wearing socks that keep feet dry will help your feet stay healthy. Socks made of synthetic fibers tend to wick away moisture faster than cotton or wool socks. Also avoid wearing excessively tight pantyhose, which may trap moisture.
Feel Pain? See a Doctor or Podiatrist
- If you begin to feel pain in your foot, whether it is in your heel, your arch, your toes, your ankle, it is important that you see your doctor to be sure you don't have plantar fasciitis, diabetes, flat foot, a stress fracture or another issue. Your doctor can help diagnose the problem and provide treatment to help you recover and reduce the pain.