You don’t need a step monitor to tell you that you’re on your feet quite a bit. You know they take a significant beating every day. Yet, we are quick to forget the importance of our feet. Besides the occasional massage or pedicure, we often ignore one of the most crucial parts of the human body. It is time to change that! Start your New Year off right by heeding the advice of podiatrists and start to be conscious of your feet.
Don’t be embarrassed by the scent of your feet. They can spend the whole pounding the ground while being trapped inside your footwear They are going to sweat and they are going to smell. How can you combat this? Use deodorant. Yes, the same deodorant that you use for your underarms. Podiatrists preach it is a great way to prevent stinky feet.
Listen to Your Feet
Your feet are actually an effective barometer of your overall health. If your feet have very dry skin coupled with ulcers that won’t heal, it could be an indication that you have diabetes. The high glucose level associated with diabetes contributes to a decrease in oil and sweat production. Moreover, if you traditionally have hairy toes and you notice that it disappears while the skin on your feet becomes shinier or thinner, you may have peripheral arterial disease. Otherwise known as PAD, it is defined as the buildup of plaque in the arteries of the legs. This can cause major heart problems or even a stroke. So be sure to pay attention to those feet!
Take Caution When Showering in Public Places
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is crucial to your health. Public bathing areas are hotbeds for the fungus that causes athlete’s foot
. How do you counter that? Pop on some flip-flops or sandals at all times in public places where moisture is commonplace. In addition, make sure your feet are thoroughly dry before leaving. Podiatrists recommend using a towel in between toes to make sure you remove all the moisture. If you frequent the nail salon for pedicures, it will be in your best interest to get the earliest appointment as possible. This way, your foot tub will most likely be the cleanest it can be.
Your Feet are Getting Bigger
No, you aren’t seeing things. As you get older, your feet are actually getting bigger. This is completely normal and is due to the tendons that link your bones losing their elasticity. Be sure to get your feet sized at least once a year to make sure you have an accurate foot size. Wearing the wrong size shoes can create or enhance bunions, cause blisters and more!
Toe Length is More Important than You Think
Combating Toenail Fungus
If you’re like me, your second toe is slightly larger than your big toe. This is the case in an estimated 20-30% of Americans. Why is this a concern? It has to do with the way we distribute our weight. With a longer second toe, you have an increased risk for hammertoes
, bunions and back problems, all due to our weight distribution. Be sure to talk to your podiatrist about the best kind of footwear to match the shape of your feet.
Are you embarrassed by stubborn toenail fungus that just isn’t going away? For many people, antifungal pills don’t do the trick. Podiatrists recommend using topical creams to effectively treat the fungus. However, the best way to combat the problem is to avoid it in the first place! Be sure to keep your feet as dry as possible and change out of sweaty socks immediately. Fungus thrives in moist, warm environments and can easily invade your skin through small cuts and the opening between your nail bed and toenail.
Your feet are crucial to your body. Foot pain and foot problems can lead to trouble for the rest of your body, especially in your back and posture. Make sure to give your feet a bit more attention this year. After all, they keep you upright and moving! The least we can do is show them a little more tender, love and care.
By Pat DeRiso
, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Mayo Clinic