You may have noticed that the calendar is filled with days and months that have been dedicated to something. Some of these designations are fun. For instance, did you know that April 12, 2018 is National Grilled Cheese Day? However, some designations are more serious. Among the many health-related observances in April is National Foot Health Awareness Month.
Why National Foot Health Awareness Month is Necessary
An American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) survey revealed that the majority of Americans have experienced foot pain or some type of foot ailment. However, the study also found that feet rank lowest on the list of all body parts that Americans understand to be crucial to their overall health and wellbeing. So, we want to do our part to help make you aware of the importance of foot health. To this end, we have compiled the following list of things you should do all year round (not just in April) in order to keep your feet and the rest of your body in good shape.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Unfortunately, Americans are becoming more and more obese. Excess weight puts unnecessary pressure on your feet and can lead to a variety of foot pains, circulatory problems, and arthritis. So please pay attention to diet and exercise.
Walk, Walk, Walk
Did you know that the United States ranks 30th in the world when it comes to walking. The average American only takes 4,774 steps per day. This compares with the top two countries – Hong Kong Hong (6,880 steps a day) and China (6,189 steps per day).
Don’t Forget to Stretch
Stretching exercises should include your feet, ankles and lower legs. It’s especially important if you are a runner; stretching before your morning run will keep your muscles strong and help to avoid injury.
Wear the Right Shoes
Shoes need to have good support, comfortable cushioning, low heels, and a toe box wide enough to not squeeze your toes. Walking, sports, or exercise shoes need to be replaced every 300-500 miles when they begin to lose support. As you get older, your feet will gradually flatten out and become wider and longer, so pay attention to sizing.
Look at Your Feet
Regularly inspect the soles of your feet with a mirror to check their condition. Look for any problems – issues may range from dry, peeling, or cracked skin to injuries or wounds. Pay particular attention if you are diabetic as a wound that is slow to heal may develop an infection.
Fungal infections between toes and under toenails are common. So be sure to dry your feet thoroughly after showering paying special attention to between your toes. Then rub in a little antifungal cream or apply a dusting of antifungal powder. Don’t walk around barefooted in public places where you may contract athlete’s foot fungus or plantar warts.
Give Your Toenails a Breather
Ladies, leaving nail polish on your toes 24/7 may lead to a fungal infection or brittle toenails. Leave your toenails in their natural state for at least a couple of months each year. Maybe choose the winter months when you won’t be wearing your open-toed sandals. Did you know that there are nail polishes on the market that include anti-fungal preparations?
Beach days will soon be here. While lazing on the sand under your beach umbrella, don’t ignore your feet. Apply sunscreen generously to your feet and ankles, including the areas between your toes. Skin cancer often goes unnoticed in this part of the body.
If You Have a Foot Problem Visit Your Podiatrist
At Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle we recommend that you take a moment to consider the state of your feet. After all, if your feet aren’t happy – you can’t be happy. Avoiding foot pain or other foot issues should be a priority not just in April but all year round. However, if you do have a foot problem, don’t ignore it. Give us a call today.