Can you believe that you travel an estimated 75,000 miles on foot in your lifetime? Your feet are meant to last a lifetime, but the hardest working part of your body can slow you down when they are fatigued or in pain.
Your feet carry you wherever you need to go, whenever you need to go there and they do it for years and years. In fact, during your lifetime you will have traveled on your feet the equivalent of three trips around the entire world. You take, on average, 15,000 steps a day and will walk or run well over 75,000 miles in your lifetime. Proactive care for your precious feet and ankles is the best step to avoid chronic foot pain and is a critical component in eliminating it as well. Prevention really is the best medicine!
Here are some steps you can take to keep your feet healthy and happy:
- First and foremost - Foot pain is never normal! Do not ignore it! Healthy feet do not have persistent pain or skin that looks unusual. I always tell my athlete's; if you have pain in the same spot more than 5 days in a row, seek help! The sooner you see your podiatrist, the quicker they can begin to make the corrections needed to get your feet healthy again. So often I see people who have waited a very long time and suffered needlessly 'sometimes for years.
- Make it a habit to always check your feet daily - A great time to do this is right after a shower or during a bath. If you start a habit of carefully drying your feet after bathing (pay special attention to the skin between your toes) you can quickly check your feet to see if you notice any changes. If you see nails that look unusual you might be seeing a potential fungus developing. If your skin is broken, cracked or an unusual color you are noticing abnormalities. Finally, if your foot is changing shape or you observe new growth you should seek help to treat these conditions before they progress and become worse.
- Be sure that you wear the correct kind of shoe for your activities - We can help! If you are running, you should wear running shoes that are designed to support that activity. If you are dancing, you should purchase shoes that are comfortable, supportive, and stylish. So many of the foot problems we treat stem from poor fitting shoes. Be sure to insist on having a qualified shoe sales professional check your fit in the store. Remember that most people size their shoes too small and definitely not wide enough!
- Get rid of worn out shoes - Men, in particular, have a significant problem with parting with their old favorite, completely broken down, shoes. Do not continue to wear shoes that have become misshapen or are missing some components just because you like them. They are no longer providing you with the support your feet need, plus its fun to buy new shoes!
- If you have diabetes it is even more important to check your feet very regularly and often - The most common reason diabetics are hospitalized is foot infections. The majorities of these infections stem from ill-fitting shoes and improperly cut toenails! I recommend that you have someone else help you check your feet, because you may not be able to see or, most importantly, feel problems. Early detection and treatment may avoid potentially serious complications later. Make friends with your local podiatrist and become part of their extended family!
The natural state of your feet and ankles is comfortable and healthy. We use them so much that they sometimes need extra care and attention. The very best time to get them back to their natural healthy state is the moment you experience pain or unusual symptoms. Do not wait! Many times the pain is a symptom of a much greater problem.
If most patients come in at the first sign of concern, they can avoid prolonged discomfort and pain. The sooner you can stop the progression of most conditions, the better the positive result. Remember, when your feet hurt; you whole body hurts. Stop foot pain in its tracks!