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Oh, my Feet!!

By Sheila Borgen, PT

Did you know that your feet can make you or break you? In other words, if you have healthy

feet, game on! If you don’t, then you may have to sit the game out.


Our feet are very important for overall health. They provide us stability and balance in walking

and running. They provide support for our knees, hips, and back. They are the foundation of our body.


On the flip side are unhealthy feet. Let’s talk about some of the causes of unhealthy feet and

what we can do to give our feet the best chance of supporting us through life’s endeavors:

1. Improper footwear. Many issues are caused by poorly fitting footwear including

bunions, plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, foot ulcers, and peripheral

neuropathy.

2. Aging. With age comes a myriad of problems. Some of these problems involve the feet. For example, poor circulation, cracked heels, flat feet, thickened nails, and Morton’s

Neuroma (noted by sharp burning pain in the ball of the foot) are often seen in the

elderly.

3. Health conditions. The most common health condition that affects the feet is diabetes.

Diabetes can lead to nerve damage, poor blood supply, deformities, and edema in the

feet.


What can we do?

1. Choose quality footwear. Ensure that your toe box is wide enough that you can easily

wiggle your toes around. Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes. Be aware of shoes that slip

on your heels which can lead to blisters. Don’t overtighten laces on tennis shoes. Make

sure there is good arch support. In addition, don’t ignore foot pain. Address it

immediately by trying different shoes or visiting a podiatrist.

2. Unfortunately, we cannot reverse our age, but we can still address the problems related to aging. Proper fitting footwear is important for good circulation. Inspecting your feet regularly and addressing cracked heels is integral. Trim your nails regularly or have a podiatrist trim them for you. Orthotics can be beneficial for Morton’s Neuroma.

3. Medically treating health conditions, like diabetes, as prescribed by your doctor will help to alleviate foot problems. Diabetes can wreak havoc on feet. To maintain good foot health when living with diabetes, one should:

a.      Check your feet daily for cuts, scrapes, blisters, corns, or calluses. If any are found, treat immediately.

b.      Wash feet daily and dry completely, especially between the toes.

c.       Keep nails trimmed. Cutting them straight across will prevent ingrown toenails.

d.      Always wear well-fitting shoes and socks (without seams). Walking barefoot can result in damaging your feet.

e.      Avoid hot and cold. No sitting with your feet close to a heater! Warm is best. Avoid all the rest!

f.        Have regular check-ups with a podiatrist.


As you can see, having unhealthy feet can impact your life. If you are struggling with

how to take care of your feet so that you can continue to live an active lifestyle, visit

a physical therapist. A therapist has extensive experience in treating feet for a wide

variety of conditions and can help get you on the right path.


Remember, healthy feet equals a happy life!





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