Basic Foot Care Guidelines
In any health class, you probably studied the systems of the body, the damaging effects of alcohol and drug abuse, and the benefits of exercise. It’s likely that the feet were never mentioned, and if they were it was probably in a “the toe bone’s connected to the foot bone” sort of way. Now that you’re older, you may be experiencing foot and ankle pain. The American Podiatric Medical Association reports that about seventy-five percent of Americans do during their lifetimes. Since prevention is always easier than treatment, basic foot care is essential.
Check-out Your Foundation
The feet support the entire weight and activity of your body. Whether you’re standing still or running, the feet are working for you. Yet, how often do you take the time to inspect them? Looking at your feet doesn’t take long, and making it a part of your routine will help to reinforce this practice. One option is check them out prior to or while you are showering. If you notice changes in color, a laceration that hasn’t healed, bruising, a lump, or areas of tenderness, take note. Pain should never be discounted—it is your body’s way of signaling for help. Diabetics must do this daily to avoid serious complications.
What are specific ways that I can care for my feet?
- Keep them clean! Washing your feet thoroughly with a mild soap is a great first step in foot care. Don’t forget to wash the toes and in between them as well. Don’t stop there—drying is just as important. Moisture can promote the growth of fungi, and lead to athlete’s foot or a fungal nail infection.
- Keep them neat and smooth. Cutting the toenails straight across will aid in the prevention of ingrown toenails. Use a file to take off the sharp edges. A pumice stone can help to remove dry skin that may build on the heel area. Choose a lotion that is soothing, and apply it to the feet. Don’t put it between your toes!
- Keep them fresh. Foot odor can be a problem for many people, especially if you stand for long hours in closed shoes. Not only can this cause an assault on your senses, but it can also lead to fungal and bacterial infections. Change your socks if they become sweat-drenched, and give your shoes time to dry between wears. Foot powders may be helpful in fighting off the stench, but washing the feet well at the end of the day is best.
- Keep moving. Exercise is great as long as pain is not present. Regular activity helps to promote good circulation, which is important for the feet which are the farthest body part from the heart. Even if you can’t take a brisk walk or go for a run, there are foot stretches that you can do while seated. These will help to strengthen your feet and aid in the prevention of foot and ankle injuries.
What do shoes have to do with basic foot care?
Everything! You would be surprised by how many common conditions of the feet and ankles are caused by improper footwear. Shoes that are too small, too tight, unsupportive, or high-heeled can cause problems in the feet and all the way up the body. Understanding your foot type is essential in purchasing shoes that fit well and feel good. An evaluation of your feet at Dallas Podiatry Works is a great place to begin!
Should I see Dr. Brook or Dr. Northcutt if I am concerned about my feet?
Most people don’t hesitate to see the doctor about back pain, but pain in the feet and ankles is often ignored. This leads to worsening discomfort and further damage to the affected area. Drs. Brook and Northcutt are foot specialists trained to diagnose and treat painful conditions. Pain-free feet are just around the corner. Don’t wait—make an appointment today at our Dallas or Plano, TX offices.