You are only given 1 pair and they have to last a lifetime.
Whether you’re taking a sightseeing trip, walking the dog, or traipsing along in your favorite pair of heels, your feet can get a lot of wear and tear during this time of year — as well as year-round.
But unless there’s pain, most people in general don’t really pay a lot of attention to their foot health.
Here are 13 mistakes to watch out for:
• Wrong footwear: The biggest problem that I see when patients come to see me with foot problems is they’re wearing the wrong shoe, such as jandals, or the wrong size of shoe.
The right shoe varies from person to person and depends on such factors as whether the individual has flat feet or high arches, or a disease, such as diabetes, that can affect foot health.
For diabetics, The Podiatrist can prescribe special shoes which tend to be seamless and deeper than regular shoes.
Diabetics need to be careful with their feet because people with the disease often have circulation problems and a difficult time feeling pain in their feet. That makes them susceptible to ulcers and open wounds that can lead to infections and amputations. A lot of diabetics, they would like to get in their sandals and shoes and not wear their diabetic shoes, but that’s where they get into trouble.
• Failing to try on new shoes: A lot of times you will see a pretty shoe and you just grab it and you go. Make sure you try the shoe on. Make sure you walk around in the store. Make sure that you get it properly fitted and have the right cushion or insole in the shoe and that you seek medical attention when you experience foot problems, instead of letting any problems linger.
• Not taking good care of shoes: Especially if you’re a runner, don’t let your shoes get too old, and mind the weather. Leaving shoes in a hot car is enough to make the rubber materials not function properly.
• Wearing jandals: With a jandal type of shoe, people have to grasp with their toes, and their foot can come out of the shoe. The grasping process can cause pain all the way up into the leg.
• Going barefoot: This is generally a bad idea because the feet need support and padding. There’s also the danger of stepping on a sharp object or breaking a toe, People with neuropathy (nerve damage) in their feet could get injured without even knowing it. Also, despite the introduction of minimalist running shoes that are supposed to be similar to going barefoot, not a lot of people can tolerate such lack of cushioning.
• Wearing sky-high shoes: When you wear a very high heel, there’s a lot of pressure on the base of the toes which can lead to pain and calluses.
The Podiatrist recommends not wearing high heels for any extended amount of walking. Any time you go much higher than 2 ½ inches, it’s very unnatural on the ankle and the foot and throws the weight forward so much that it’s easier to fall and turn your ankle.
• Wearing shoes that are too flat: Ballet flats tend to be too low, and most people feel better in a shoe with at least a little bit of a heel and some cushioning. The sole of the shoe needs to be firm. If the sole of the shoe is too soft, your foot is going to bend a lot and there will be a lot of weight on the ball of the foot.
• Not examining the feet: The Podiatrist recommends every six months for diabetics to have their (feet) examined. When they do come in, we do a thorough circulation exam. We do a thorough neurological exam and examine their feet and examine their shoes … and if we identify any complications or any problems, then we let them know how to manage it.
Checking your own feet is a good idea, too. Briefly each day, examine the bottom of your feet to make sure there’s nothing going on, especially if you’re diabetic, Ahmed said. You can use a makeup mirror or a long-handled mirror.
• Failing to address medical conditions: With diabetics, if you don’t have your sugars under control, you are not going to heal an ulcer no matter what you do to it.
Heart disease and weight problems also can affect foot health.
• Being obese: Obesity can contribute to foot deformities, with extra pressure on the ankle joints, there’s more pressure on the smaller joints of the foot, which are fragile. People will get more flat feet. People will tend to get more bunion pain, more hammer toes. They also can develop plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the ligament on the bottom of the feet, he said. If people lose at least 5 to 10 percent of their body weight, their symptoms usually resolve on their own.
Obesity also is affecting the size of people’s feet. A lot of shoe companies do not make wide varieties, and with the increasing rate of obesity in our country, people are getting wider feet.
• Standing too much: Plantar fasciitis is really worsened by standing a lot in one place. If you have to do that, you should try to shift your weight from side to side and consider purchasing over-the-counter arch support, a plastic piece that goes under the arch.
• Being a weekend warrior: Many people who are sedentary during the week will get involved in physical activity, such as golfing and running, on weekends and wind up with ankle sprains and pain. They’ll try to do all of these things that they’re not used to doing, so their ankle will get sprained. Stretching before and after exercise and having a regular regimen of working out so that you’re not just going from zero to 60.
• Allowing moisture to hang around: Beware of fungal infections. Fungus loves moisture and fungus is everywhere; the spores are in the air. If your feet are kept moist enough, fungus will start growing, so change your socks more often, keep them dry and don’t put wet shoes on. Try to rotate shoes so you don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row.
For more any problems, visit The Podiatrist