Are Your Feet Happy With You?

NOVEMBER 29, 2010

Your feet play a large part in your general health, especially after a certain age. Proper care and maintenance of your feet can help prevent serious issues.

Neglected feet can lead to serious issues such as fungi and ingrown toenails; problems that you might consider seeing a foot specialist for. There are several steps that can be taken in order to prevent such issues from occurring.

Always keep feet dry and clean by washing with soap and water, making sure to dry feet completely. Be sure to trim toe nails so that the length does not exceed the tip of the toe. Any improper trimming could lead to ingrown toenails, a condition where the corners or sides of the nail dig into the soft tissue of nail grooves causing pain that can lead to irritation, swelling and redness. It is important to remove any dry skin as well as it can cause issues and complications, especially to diabetic patients.

Before starting any maintenance, always disinfect all instruments and tools that come in contact with nails. Hygiene is an important part of caring for your feet and without it, a fungal infection could occur. Fungal infections take place under the nails and cause them to become dark and fowl smelling. This infection can spread to other toenails, fingernails, even skin, which can lead to pain in the feet when wearing shoes or walking. If you do see a doctor about nail fungus, an important thing to consider is asking that your nail gets cultured before taking antibiotics to make sure you take the correct type.

Wearing the proper shoes is also essential. Always change shoes, socks and hosiery at least once a day. Alternate shoe wear daily and buy new ones every couple of years. Wearing proper shoes can help with balance and prevent the formation of bunions.

Some guidelines on proper shoe selection include: trying on both shoes and walking around. Shoes not require a “break in” period. There should also be no pinching of the toes. If you wear prescription orthotics, make sure to use them while trying on new shoes.

One of the most important things you must do is to regularly inspect feet and toes. The feet can be the first indicator of systematic diseases that include: diabetes, circulatory disorders, anemia, and kidney problems. Foot doctors look for signs of dry skin, brittle nails, burning and tingling sensations, feelings of cold, numbness and discoloration. If you feel that any of these symptoms may be occurring with your feet, it is important to make an appointment with a qualified foot doctor.

Dr. Borden, D.P.M., is a podiatrist with the Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Center. Check out www.footankledc.com for more information.

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