Desert Foot & Ankle If Your Feet are Happy, You are Happy
February 07, 2018
Most Americans walk an amazing 75,000 miles by the time they reach age 50, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. This is distance of walking around the Earth at the equator three times. This explains why our feet may have some aches and pains; our feet are important in our everyday lives. The problem is we tend to neglect them, and when neglect becomes a habit, it can cause significant trouble. Ignoring foot problems can mean pain, limited mobility, and expensive doctor visits. On the other hand, if feet are cared for and looked after regularly, they can perform without pain or complication.
Why do I need a podiatrist?
Like many aspects of our health, we tend to neglect our feet until they hurt — and when that happens, the pain can stop us in our tracks by limiting mobility and forcing us to give up activities and decrease our enjoyment of life. Almost 20 percent of the U.S. population experiences some kind of foot problem each year. Add to that the increased foot and circulation problems caused by diabetes and obesity, and the need for podiatric services will continue to increase.
Podiatry includes the complete care of foot and ankle problems including biomechanics, neuroscience, trauma, pathology, sports medicine, and infectious diseases — to name a few. The foot and ankle contain 26 bones (one-quarter of the bones in the human body are in the feet), 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Some common foot ailments include the following:
Make sure the shoe fits
- Achilles tendon
- Geriatric foot care
- Ankle instability
- Ankle pain
- Arthritic foot and ankle care
- Heel spurs
- Athletes foot
- Ingrown toenails
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin splints
- Diabetic foot
- Sports injuries
- Foot pain
- Flat feet
- Wound care
- Fungus toenails
People are constantly wearing improperly-fitting shoes. When picking out shoes, make sure they are the correct size. Shoes need to be snug, but not too tight. On the other hand, if shoes are too loose, they can cause foot problems as well.
An important factor when buying shoes is making sure they are comfortable and supportive. There is no such thing as a shoe being “broken in.” If they are uncomfortable at the store, they likely will always be uncomfortable. It is highly recommended that shopping for new shoes be done later in the day because feet settle and swell to their full size after you’ve been standing and walking for several hours.
To help keep your feet healthy, avoid wearing high heels or flip flops too often. Instead, choose shoes that are good for your feet, shoes that pad the soles of your feet and support the arches and ankles.
Why is diabetes so dangerous to your feet?
Diabetes affects millions of people every year. Blood vessels located all over the body are damaged due to diabetes — even the blood vessels of the feet. Neuropathy, or nerve damage, can result from slower blood flow in the legs and feet. Nerve damage reduces sensation and feeling in your feet, making it difficult to know when you are getting a blister, have a cut, or have a foreign object in your shoe. Diabetes may also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder to heal an injury or resist infection. This could lead to an infection or a non-healing wound that could put you at risk for an amputation.
As part of a comprehensive and preventative treatment plan Desert Foot and Ankle offers custom-fitting diabetic shoes.
To avoid serious foot problems that could result in losing a toe, foot or leg, follow these guidelines:
- Inspect your feet daily. Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or nail problems. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet. Call your doctor if you notice anything.
- Bathe feet in lukewarm, never hot, water. Keep your feet clean by washing them daily. Use only lukewarm water — the temperature you would use on a newborn baby.
- Be gentle when bathing your feet. Wash them using a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by blotting or patting and carefully dry between the toes.
- Moisturize your feet but not between your toes.
- Cut nails carefully. Cut them straight across and file the edges. Don’t cut nails too short, as this could lead to ingrown toenails.
- Never treat corns or calluses yourself. No “bathroom surgery” or medicated pads. Visit your doctor for appropriate treatment.
- Wear clean, dry socks.
- Consider socks made specifically for patients living with diabetes. These socks have extra cushioning, do not have elastic tops, are higher than the ankle, and are made from fibers that wick moisture away from the skin.
- Wear socks to bed. If your feet get cold at night, wear socks. Never use a heating pad or a hot water bottle.
- Shake out your shoes and feel the inside before wearing. Remember, your feet may not be able to feel a pebble or other foreign object, so always inspect your shoes before putting them on.
- Keep your feet warm and dry. Don’t let your feet get wet in snow or rain. Wear warm socks and shoes in winter.
- Consider using an antiperspirant on the soles of your feet. This is helpful if you have excessive sweating of the feet.
- Never walk barefoot. Not even at home! Always wear shoes or slippers. You could step on something and get a scratch or cut.
- Take care of your diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels under control.
- Get periodic foot exams. Seeing your foot and ankle surgeon on a regular basis can help prevent the foot complications of diabetes.
If you spend a lot of time on your feet, make sure that your shoes show no signs of wear. Shoes should offer ample support for the arches and the overall foot. Additionally, by creating a habit of daily foot care and cleaning, your feet will stay healthy and safe.
Desert Foot and Ankle knows how hectic life can be and we are committed to making our practice and care convenient and accessible. We want all of our patients to fully understand any foot or ankle issues they may face. Our website, www.desertfootandankle.com
has an extensive educational library of foot and ankle ailments give patients access to information about common foot problems, prevention, and treatments.
Our board-certified podiatrists are dedicated to getting to the root of your foot and ankle problem. No one should suffer with foot and ankle pain.
Desert Foot and Ankle, P.C. – Mesa is located at 1520 South Dobson Road, #307.
Reach us at 480-844-8218 or by fax at 480-844-9950.
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