Diseases, disorders and disabilities of the foot or ankle affect the quality of life and mobility of millions of Canadians. However, the general public and even many physicians are unaware of the important relationship between foot health and overall health and well-being. With this in mind, the British Columbia Association of Podiatrists would like to share a few tips to help keep feet healthy.
Alternate shoes—don't wear the same pair of shoes every day.
Avoid walking barefooted—your feet will be more prone to injury and infection. At the beach or when wearing sandals always use sunblock on your feet, just as you do on the rest of your body.
If you have diabetes, it is vital that you see a podiatrist at least once a year for a check-up.
Inspect your feet regularly. Pay attention to changes in colour and temperature of your feet. Look for thick or discoloured nails (a sign of developing fungus), and check for cracks or cuts in the skin. Peeling or scaling on the soles of feet could indicate athlete's foot. Any growth on the foot is not considered normal.
Wash your feet regularly, especially between the toes, and be sure to dry them completely.
Don't ignore foot pain—it's not normal. If the pain persists, see a podiatrist.
Be cautious when using home remedies for foot ailments; self-treatment can often turn a minor problem into a major one.
Make sure that your shoes fit properly. Purchase new shoes later in the day when feet tend to be at their largest and replace worn out shoes as soon as possible.
Select and wear the right shoe for the activity that you are engaged in (i.e. running shoes for running).
Trim toenails straight across, but not too short. Be careful not to cut nails in corners or on the sides; it can lead to ingrown toenails. Persons with diabetes, poor circulation or heart problems should not treat their own feet because they are more prone to infection.
Source: B.C. Association of Podiatrists, American Podiatric Medical Association