April is National Foot Health Month

Tips for Healthy Summer FeetThe American Podiatric Medical Association has named April National Foot Health Month, a time to brush up on tips to keep your feet in great shape!

Here are some simple measures that anyone can do to have healthy feet and prevent foot problems:

  • Check your feet daily for cuts, cracks, blisters, sores, swelling, redness or sore toenails. Hold your feet up to a mirror to check the bottoms of the feet or have someone help you.
  • Do not soak your feet in water. This will only cause your feet to dry out more.
  • Wash feet in warm water daily and use non-drying soap. Test water with your hand before putting your feet in the water to avoid burns. Dry feet well especially between the toes. Pat your feet dry; do not rub them.
  • Apply lotion on feet if you suffer from dry skin. Do not put lotion between your toes. Lotion between the toes helps bacteria to grow. Powder between toes helps keep moist skin dry and helps prevent fungal infections.
  • Debridement or filing of corns and callouses should be performed by a podiatrist especially for patients with diabetes or vascular disease.
  • Always wear slippers or shoes to protect your feet from injuries. Avoid shoes that expose your toes or heels. These types of shoes increase your risk for injury and potential infection. Wear shoes made of leather and wear white cotton socks. Flat shoes with good arch support and wide toe boxes are the best.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes. It is best to shop for shoes at the end of the day when the feet may be more swollen.
  • Break in shoes slowly. Wear them for one to two hours daily for the first few weeks to ensure they do not cause irritation.
  • Feel the inside of your shoes before putting them on to make sure they have no sharp edges or objects that might injure your feet.
  • Always wear socks or stockings to avoid blisters.
  • Do not wear socks or knee-high stockings that are too tight below the knee.
  • Any lesions that change size or color or bleed should be immediately evaluated by your doctor.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking damages blood vessels and increases risk of circulatory problems.
  • Exercise daily, if possible.
  • Do not use corn-removers or other drug store foot remedies as these can be harmful.
  • Cut toenails straight across and smooth edges with an emery board to prevent injury.
  • Use sunscreen on your feet to prevent burns.
  • All skin lesions should be evaluated by your doctor. These lesions could range from viral warts which can spread to cancerous skin lesions.

The feet are the mirror for the body. Diabetes and vascular insufficiencies affect your feet. The skin on your feet show redness before an ulcer occurs. Ulcers can be caused by diabetes and vascular problems. It is vital that ulcers be addressed by a professional to prevent infections such as osteomyelitis (infection of the underlying bone). It is important to have your feet evaluated for lesions, warts and skin cancer. The feet are often forgotten. However these skin abnormalities can affect your feet and significant problems can be avoided if they are found early.

Written by: Douglas Livingston, DPM, FACFAS

This article was brought to you by Livingston Foot Care Specialists.

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