Put Your Best Foot Forward

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Put Your Best Foot ForwardYou’ve heard all the ‘foot phrases’ before – ‘Both feet on the ground’, ‘Swept off your feet’, ‘Cold Feet’.  Let’s add one more very special one: ’Be Kind To Your Feet’.  The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates once claimed, “When our feet hurt, we hurt all over.”

The foot is the most utilized part of our body—functional, intricate and punished.  It is capable of moving the body in many directions at a slow or high rate of speed while exposed to constant stress in our daily routines.  Our feet are like a fine piece of machinery supporting many times our body weight.  As with many other components of our body, they are only noticed when they become painful and fail to function.

Our feet work to provide us with support, balance and mobility.  Including the bones of the ankle, one foot is made of 28 separate small and delicate bones, over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, and 33 individual joints.  There is a series of blood vessels and nerve pathways that support the demands for movement.  Using all these, the average person walks about 10,000 steps per days.  During a lifetime, it is thought that a person walks enough steps to travel around the planet more than 4 times; 115,000 miles! 

Feet are exposed to a variety of potential problems including infections and injuries, athlete’s foot, bunions, ingrown toenails, Morton’s neuroma, plantar fasciitis, plantar warts, and stress fractures.  As the structure that supports upright movement, the condition of our feet are affected by activity level, occupation, health conditions and fashion.  When it comes to feet, a little prevention can mean a lot.

Put Your Best Foot ForwardThe following tips may prevent toe, foot or ankle injuries in runners:

  • Wear good athletic shoes, such as shoes with cushioned soles (especially heels) and good arch support.
  • Buy new running shoes often. Experts recommend getting new athletic shoes every 3 months or after 500 miles of wear.
  • Prevent blisters caused by poorly fitting shoes or socks.
  • Be reasonable in your training.
  • Stretch your foot, ankle and leg muscles before and after exercise.
  • Avoid rapidly increasing the number of miles you run, running or training uphill, and running on hard surfaces, such as concrete.
  • Avoid excessive sprinting (short, rapid bursts of running).
  • Never cut calluses and corns with a razor or a pocketknife.

 

What should I do each day to keep my feet healthy with diabetes?

  • Wash your feet in warm water every day.  Do not soak your feet.  Dry your feet well, especially between your toes.
  • Look at your feet every day to check for cuts, sores, blisters, redness, calluses or other problems.  Checking every day is even more important if you have nerve damage or poor blood flow.
  • If your skin is dry, rub lotion on your feet after you wash and dry them.  But do not put lotion between your toes.
  • File corns and calluses gently with an emery board or pumice stone.
  • Always wear socks or stockings to avoid blisters.  Do not wear socks or knee-high stockings that are too tight below your knee.
  • Wear shoes that fit well.  Break in shoes slowly.  Wear them 1 to 2 hours each day for the first few weeks.
  • Cut your toenails once a week or when needed.  Cut toenails when they are soft after washing.  Cut them to the shape of the toe and not too short.  File the edges with an emery board.
  • Always wear slippers or shoes to protect your feet from injuries.

 

When you cannot perform your desired activities without foot pain, you should consider making an appointment with a podiatric specialist at Mid State Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center.  The skilled podiatric specialists at Mid State, Drs. Paul T. Sunderhaus and Maria Saucier, have a combined 23 years of experience and are highly trained in diagnosing and treating foot injuries, deformities and disease.  Individual treatment programs are developed to satisfy patient foot care needs.

So ‘Be kind to your feet’ and visit Mid State Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center.    Podiatry Clinic sites include Alexandria, Pineville, Natchitoches and Ville Platte.  Call (318) 441-8327 for an appointment.