When you stop and think about it, our feet really are amazing pieces of machinery. They take a daily pounding; in fact most of us take about 8,000 steps per day, with experts recommending we take at least 10,000. Other than the occasional pedicure, many of us neglect our feet, but there are some things that we can do to insure our feet give us many years of pain free service. After all, our health and well-being depends on it.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) & Diabetes Foot Symptoms
One of the most important things to remember is that the health of your feet can provide clues to your overall health – if the skin on your feet appears thinning shiny or if the hair on your toes suddenly disappears for example, you may be experiencing peripheral arterial disease (PAD) which is poor circulation caused by a buildup of plague in the leg arteries. PAD can be the first red flag for many heart related problems or strokes. Clogged arteries in the legs are often associated with blockages in other areas of the body. Extremely dry skin and foot sores that won’t heal may be caused by undiagnosed cases of diabetes.
Belmont Anderson & Associates believe in a proactive approach to foot care and have provided the following tips to help keep your feet in tip-top shape:
• Wear flipflops or shower shoes in public showers: Gym floor, showers and locker rooms are breeding grounds for the fungus that is responsible for athlete’s foot. The podiatrists at Belmont Anderson & Associates recommend wearing flip flops or some other kind of foot covering that won’t be damaged by water. Be sure to take a few extra moments to make sure that your feet are completely dry, especially between your toes before putting your everyday shoes back on.
• Best shoes for feet: Pointy toed shoes for example play havoc on your feet. When you big toe is pushed against your other toes, you are creating the perfect environment for bunions (bumps that form over the bone of your big toe). The skin over the bunion may also become red and swollen making walking very painful. The knowledgeable podiatrists at Belmont Anderson & Associates recommend wearing closed in heels that are less than two inches in height with a wider style toe. You increase your risk for bunions if your second toe is longer than your big toe along with other issues including hammer toes (toes than bend downwards) and even back problems. Shoes that do not fit properly including pointy toes shoes make this condition worse, talk to your Belmont Anderson & Associates podiatrist about which kind of footwear is right for you.
• Toenail fungus: If your toenails are starting to yellow and have become thick and brittle, it’s a good chance that fungus is the primary culprit. Keeping your feet dry and changing socks after strenuous activity can help prevent fungus which thrives in a moist, warm environment. Ask your Belmont Anderson & Associates podiatrist about a treatment plan that is right for you.
• Are my feet getting bigger? The answer is yes! Feet get both longer and wider as we age and chances are your foot size has increased by at least a half size in the past 10 years. Why? Tendons and ligaments that join the bones in your feet loose elasticity. A good rule of thumb is to get your feet measured at least once per year so you are aware of any changes. Wearing shoes that are incorrectly fitted can cause problems including bunions and blisters.
• Diabetic foot care education: The experts at Belmont Anderson & Associates recommend that you check your feet daily for cuts, blisters and ulcers. If you neglect your feet a small cut could lead to infection with can have serious consequences for diabetics including amputation. In fact research indicates that diabetics who lose a foot through amputation have a 50% chance of dying within 5 years.