For those whose activity-tracker goal is 10,000 steps each day, they know the value of good foot health. With 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments in each foot, it doesn’t take much to put a person on the sidelines.
In recognition of April as National Foot Health Awareness Month, Achilles Podiatry put together common causes of foot pain and tips for healthy feet that will also lead to a healthier life overall.
Wearing high heels — defined as shoes with a heel higher than two inches — can alter a woman’s posture, elevate her center of gravity, and influence her ability to remain stable on her feet. High heels also force the foot into an abnormal, forward and downward position, which puts excess strain on the ball of the foot, according to the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society.
Bunions, ingrown toenails, and lower back, hip and knee pain are a few more of the potential consequences of regularly wearing high heels.
“Over time, these types of shoes can even contribute to nerve and muscle damage,” Malin said. “Instead of making heels part of your daily wardrobe, I advise patients to save them for truly special occasions.”
Ballet flats, which are often considered a fashionable, safer alternative to heels, may be just as problematic. Wearing flats — or other shoes with little or no padding or arch support like flip-flops or sandals — can lead to plantar fasciitis, a particularly painful overuse injury characterized by heel and sole soreness.
As a rule, women should look for supportive shoes that have a wide or square toe box, and a heel lower than two inches. The American Podiatric Medical Association has also certified certain shoe brands with a seal of approval or acceptance, which makes finding foot-friendly choices much easier when you’re shopping.
Other suggestions from Tennova Healthcare include:
Heel pain: Among the most common complaints, heel pain can be caused by a number of problems, including bone spurs, plantar fasciitis, excessive pronation or Achilles tendinitis. To prevent it, wear shoes that fit well—front, back and sides—and have shock-absorbent soles, rigid shanks and a supportive heel cup. Wear the proper shoes for each activity, and replace your walking or exercising shoes every six months or 500 miles.
Blisters: Ill-fitting shoes and sweaty feet can cause friction and result in painful blisters. Make sure you buy proper-fitting shoes, which starts with getting your feet professionally measured. Also, wear moisture-wicking socks to keep rubbing to a minimum.
Nail care: Trim your toenails as needed after you’ve washed and dried your feet.
Sun protection: Don’t forget your feet and toes when applying sunscreen at the beach or pool. Lather up to avoid a painful sunburn and protect yourself against skin cancer, which can often go unnoticed in this area of the body.
Weight control: Excess pounds put additional pressure on your feet and ankles, leading to enhanced foot and heel pain, circulatory problems and arthritis. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly can stave off future foot problems.
Malin also recommends checking your feet daily. This is especially important for diabetics.
Diabetes can damage the nerves and lead to a loss of sensation in the feet, which means those who suffer from it can’t always perceive foot injuries. Avoid infections and non-healing wounds by inspecting your feet daily. Use a mirror to check your soles for injuries, cracks or dry skin.
To schedule a consultation, call the Achilles Podiatry Group at (800) HELP FOOT. You can also contact us online.
source: citizen tribune