There is a lot of focus on the importance of heart health. And rightly so! Similarly, preventive care for health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension are of the utmost necessity and often top of mind. However, not as many people focus on the importance of foot health.
Your feet undergo a lot of stress and strain during the day. And poor foot care or hygiene can cause them further stress – it could lead to injuries, infections, or painful and sometimes even chronic foot conditions.
As a podiatrist, I often come across patients with foot conditions or injuries that could have been completely avoided if they had consulted with a professional foot and ankle doctor in time. Or at the very least, simply took better care of their feet.
So, let me ask you then – when was the last time you took a good look at your feet? What do you do to keep your feet in good condition?
If you don’t know how to keep your feet in good condition, then read on. Here are the top five healthy practices that will help you keep your feet free of pain and in good condition.
#1 – Maintain Good Foot Hygiene
- Wash your feet and toes clean every day using soap and a scrub.
- Make sure you clean the area between your toes.
- Dry your feet well including between the toes – moist and wet feet are an open invitation to fungal and bacterial infections.
- All of these are especially important if you suffer from excessive sweating of the feet.
#2 – Take care of your Toenails
- Don’t allow nails to grow too long.
- Cut or file your nails following their natural anatomy.
- Don’t cut nails too close to the skin or the edges if you want to prevent ingrown nails.
- Take a break (a couple of weeks) between painting your toenails – give your toenails some time to regain their natural, healthy hue.
- If your nails crack easily, or if they are discolored, crooked, or painful, it could be due to a fungal infection or an injury – if the condition does not improve in a few days, visit a podiatrist.
#3 – Select the Right Footwear
A large majority of foot problems stem from wearing the wrong kind of shoes.
- If your shoes are too tight, if they are made of a material that does not allow your feet to breathe or if they restrict the natural shape of the feet, it can lead to pain and long term damage.
- Change your shoes and insoles every day if possible so your shoes can dry out.
- Change your socks every day – use socks that are made from natural fabrics.
- Avoid wearing high heels for too long – instead of pointy stilettoes, opt for wedges that provide more support to your feet while walking or standing.
#4 – Protect Your Feet in Public Places
- Public places such as gyms, swimming pools, locker rooms, and rentals are hot spots for germs.
- If you are not careful about foot hygiene, you can easily contract a bacterial and/or fungal infection at one of these places.
- Never walk barefoot in public places.
- Make sure you use your own footwear and avoid sharing shoes or any other foot accessory with others.
#5 – Don’t Ignore Pain, Infections, and Injuries
Check your feet once a week. Watch out for the following:
- Foot sores.
- Bruising or discoloration of the skin on the feet and ankles as well as the toenails.
Important Note – You need to check for each of these every day if you are diabetic.
If an injury is causing you a lot of pain, if you have an infection or sore that does not heal, if you are unable to wear your shoes, stand, or walk normally due to any one of the issues mentioned above, you should consult with a professional foot and ankle specialist at the earliest.
Don’t ignore the issue for long or attempt any kind of self-healing or surgical treatment. Equally important, don’t take medication without consulting a medical professional. You could end up doing more damage.
Do You Or A Family Member Need The Help Of An Experienced Podiatrist In The Caldwell Or Meridian, Idaho Area?
If you're seeking the help of an experienced podiatrist you owe it to yourself to speak with our doctors as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 208.855.5955 to schedule your appointment. We service all areas surrounding Meridian, Idaho as well as all areas in the Caldwell, Idaho area. We look forward to helping you!