Our feet are some of the most delicate, dynamic, and under-appreciated parts of our bodies. We take an average of 10,000 steps every day, which amounts to 125,000 miles in a lifetime, or approximately 5 times around the earth. With each step, most people do not consider the unique changes and adaptations that occur and allow us to walk and run properly. April is dedicated to foot health awareness and informs individuals the importance of taking care of their feet, and how changes in foot health can alter their walking abilities, and overall health, especially with diabetes.
Keeping your feet healthy and pain free can help you continue perform daily necessary and leisurely activities such as working, walking, exercising, and anything else you enjoy. The following are tips on maintaining healthy feet, when you should see a podiatrist, and additional foot health recommendations for individuals with diabetes.
- Inspect your feet daily when showering, putting on and taking off your socks, and shoes. It is possible to have an injury and be unaware of it. Look for any cuts, bumps or bruises, changes in skin or nail color, any changes in skin temperature, or swelling of the foot and ankle. If you notice any of these changes, make an appointment to see a podiatrist.
- Properly cleanse your feet daily, including between your toes, and underneath the nails. When cleaning between the toes, ensure you properly dry the to avoid developing fungal infections
- Ensure your shoes are properly fitted and provide adequate stability – Tight shoes provide discomfort and increase friction on the feet and loose-fitting shoes decrease the stability and protection of your feet when standing or walking. They can also lead to the development of foot ailments such as: calluses, corns, blisters, and friction burns
- Trim your toe nails properly – trim them straight across, rather than rounding or curving; your podiatrist can show you how to properly trim your nails to avoid developing ingrown nails or damaging the nail bed
- Avoid walking barefoot as often as you can – this will minimize the risk of developing injuries to your feet such as cuts or stubbing your toes
- Maintain a certain level of daily activity to increase blood circulation in your legs and feet.
- Wear dry, clean socks daily, and do not re-wear used socks
- If you choose to wear sandals or flip-flops, be sure to apply sunscreen when you are outside to avoid burns, and excessive drying of your feet
- Perform stretches of your legs and feet daily to minimize strain on your muscles and increase flexibility
- If you have foot pain of any kind, do not ignore it. Pain is your body telling you something is wrong and should be addressed when it occurs.
The month of April is dedicated to helping people take special note on the important of taking care of their feet. We only get one set of feet and it is important to take proper care of them. If you notice any sudden changes in your foot health, experience any pain, or suffer an injury to your foot, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona.