April is Foot Health Awareness Month.
Our feet play an important role in the health and well-being of our bodies. Our feet help us walk, run, jump, climb and carry us about our day every single day. We often don’t pay much attention to our feet until they start hurting. By the time your foot or feet start hurting, you have already sustained an injury or another health problem. If your feet hurt all the time, every day, that is not normal. Your feet should not hurt. 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 like plantar fasciitis, diabetes, flat foot, a stress fracture or another issue. Here are 10 tips to keep your feet healthy:
Wear the Right Shoes
Make sure you are wearing the proper shoes for the activity you are participating in with adequate 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. Women should limit their wearing of high heels as it puts unnecessary strain on the achilles and foot.
Keep Your Feet Clean
Foot hygiene is important in preventing fungal and bacterial growth or athlete’s foot. Wash and completely dry your feet daily, especially between the toes. This will also help prevent foot odors.
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.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Our feet carry most to all of our weight when we walk. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can help take the load off your feet.
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. Look for sores and open cuts. Make sure your feet have enough circulation and keep up the foot hygiene.
Change Your Shoes
Shoes get worn out over time and the support you started off with when they were new wear out. Make sure you get a new pair of shoes every 6 months or 500 miles, whichever comes first.
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 not only painful but annoying with pain felt through every step or even as a constant, nagging pain. Take care to trim your nails when they get long and wear socks, keep your feet dry, and slowly break in new shoes to prevent blisters.
Stretch and Exercise
Incorporate stretching and strengthening exercises for your feet. This will help keep your foot muscles, joints, and ligaments loose and prevent injury and heel pain.
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. Your doctor can help diagnose the issue and give you treatment to recover and reduce pain.