Oh, our aching feet!
By: MJ Fegan, PT, DPT, GCS —
Did you know the human foot is comprised of 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments?
This complex structure carries us throughout our entire life allowing us to participate in all of life’s activities. Hence, our feet put on a lot of mileage over the years and can be prone to infections, injuries and deformities.
It is important to take care of our feet to prevent foot problems.
Here are a few foot care tips to help your feet look good, prevent bacterial and fungal infections and decrease foot problems that can cause pain and difficulty walking:
- Inspect feet daily. Check for cuts, bruises, blisters, red spots. Feel for lumps or bumps. Look at the soles and between your toes for any scaling or peeling areas which could indicate a fungus.
- Wash feet daily include the space between each toe. Rinse off soap completely and dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes.
- Trim toenails straight across and not too short. Avoid cutting corners or trimming to round corners.
- Gently remove hard skin and calluses with a pumice stone or foot file. (See a foot specialist if calluses are moderate to severe.)
- Perform daily foot massages with a good moisturizer and gently pull your toes back and forth one by one to stretch them out.
- Wear clean socks and change them at least one time a day. Wearing socks that keep feet dry will prevent infections. Also, avoid wearing excessively tight pantyhose, which trap moisture.
- Wear good support shoes that fit properly. Poorly fitting shoes can cause pain while walking and even lead to blisters and corns. Shoes that are too big increase your risk of falling.
- Shop for shoes at the end of the day to compensate for foot swelling that occurs later in the day and wear the same type of socks or hosiery you’ll be wearing with the shoes.
- Choose a broad, rounded shoe with plenty of room for your toes and a wide, stable heel.
- Avoid pointy shoes, which can cramp your toes and cause ingrown toenails and calluses.
- Choose materials that allow your feet to breathe and mold well to the shape of your foot.
- If you are prone to sweaty feet, look for shoes made of mesh fabrics for maximum breathability to prevent foot odor or a fungal infection.
- Avoid wearing high heels and pointed shoes for long durations.
- Be cautious when walking barefoot.
- Walking barefoot increases the risk of contracting viruses (warts), fungus (athlete’s foot), or bacteria.
- Going barefoot also raises the chance of stepping on foreign objects like glass or splinters.
- Pain, redness, swelling, or discoloration that persists should be checked out by your physician, podiatrist or physical therapist.
Take care of your feet, because a single issue can stop you in your tracks.
Physical therapy is one of the main ways to treat the symptoms of foot pain! So if you experience any issues that are preventing you from doing what you love, don’t hesitate to contact RehabConcepts Physical Therapy and we can help get you back on your feet.