“If I only knew then what I know now!” Fostering good habits now can help to ward off pesky foot problems before they start. Below you will read about four major ways one can help to combat long term foot problems and foster healthy feet:
- Supportive & Clean Shoes
- Healthy Blood Circulation
- Overall Health of Foot Skin & Nails
SHOES & ARCH SUPPORT
First, shoes are the foundation and will either help your feet or hurt your feet. Here are a few steps you can take to lower the risk of foot problems:
- Ensure your shoes fit correctly. Length, Width and Type
- Good socks will help prevent friction and wick the moisture
- Shoe shape should fit foot shape. Stay away from high heels and the like
- Support specific shoes if you’re experiencing painful foot conditions
- Arch support (Orthotics) are a valuable tool in supporting your feet.
**I have Prefabricated and Custom options available. Schedule your appointment today for a Foot Assessment and recommendations on the right arch support for you. I also work with my clients on Shoe Analysis and Recommendations**
Second, healthy blood circulation equates to healthy feet! Smoking, exposure to cold temperature, pressure from shoes and/or long periods of standing can eventually alter the blood flow to and from the feet.
For healthy blood circulation, avoid smoking! It has been shown that smoking can damage the structure and function of your blood vessels, increase blood cholesterol levels & increase blood pressure. Below are some ways to ensure good blood circulation:
- Movement vs. standing static
- Massage your feet
- Take warm foot baths (adding Epsom Salts can help too!)
- Compression socks & sleeves (15-20 mmHg) is common in OTC but no sleeping with compression socks
Third, as we age, the body naturally loses elasticity and flexibility. This decreased range of motion will cause abnormal compensation and potential injury. Tightness of the Achilles Tendon is one of the most common problems I see. A tight Achilles Tendon (also known as equinus) will cause a decrease in ankle joint motion. This can ultimately lead to many foot problems, including, but not limited to:
- Flat feet
- Painful forefoot/ Metatarsalgia
- Stress fractures
- Achilles Tendonitis.
SKIN & NAILS
Lastly, feet are highly susceptible to fungal, bacterial, and viral infections – Don’t ignore your feet. A little love now = less problems later. The feet have over 250,000 sweat glands so it’s vital to keep your feet dry. Using moisture wicking socks, alternating shoes and sometimes powders can help. Here are some general problems you may experience:
- Dry skin: Prolonged dry skin may be a sign of a fungal infection that requires a prescription medicine.
- Discolored or thickening toenails: this could be a sign of a bacterial or fungal infection.
- Corns & Calluses: These can be caused by ill-fitting shoes and abnormal pressure on the feet.
- Ulcers / Open Wounds: See a physician immediately! Diabetics and those with neuropathy are especially susceptible
Make it a habit to assess your feet daily before or after your shower, it will pay dividends to the health of your feet.
Foot problems are never enjoyable but can be lessened by taking care of your feet. If you have any questions about your specific situation or foot conditions, please reach out; I’m here to help!
Bryan Acheson, CPed – (303) 981-3999 – [email protected]