Written By Lisa S. Jones / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
With 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, the foot is one of the most complex parts of the skeletal system. Healthy feet are important for feeling good and staying active. Thanh Dinh, DPM, a BIDMC podiatric surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital offers these simple tips for keeping your feet feeling their best.
Wet Feet Symptoms
Besides toweling off after each shower, make sure you thoroughly dry your feet because excess moisture that can get trapped in socks and between toes makes it easy for a fungal infection to begin. A more extreme condition known as trench foot - or immersion foot syndrome - is described as a condition that results from your feet being wet too long.
Symptoms include blisters, redness, blotchy skin and skin tissue that dies and falls off. And with prolonged wetness your feet could lose circulation and nerve function.
If you do have pain, redness and persistent swelling, your feet should be checked out by a podiatrist. Allowing a doctor to take a look can often prevent a minor problem from becoming a major one.
Fitting And Supportive Shoes And Trimmed Toe Nails
Ill-fitting shoes can damage your feet with conditions including corns, nail problems, athlete’s foot as well as major problems like back pain, joint pain and collapsed arches. Shoes that are too big or too small can also cause skin irritation, like blisters. Leave a half inch between your longest toe and the front of a closed-toe shoe for a good fit.
Speaking of nail problems, pedicures are nice, but all you really need is a straight cut across each nail, without trimming too close to the skin. A straight cut helps deter painful ingrown toenails.
After a good fit comes support. While high heels, flats and flip-flops are okay on occasion, it’s important to make sure the shoes you wear regularly offer support. “Your feet endure constant pounding,” says Dinh. “Supportive shoes or properly fitted inserts can help ease pain and prevent injury.”
How To Cope With Changes To Your Aging Feet
It is important to understand the changes the feet undergo as we age. We need to be able to prevent or reduce the pains attached - and this goes beyond having regular foot care.
Dr. Joan Williams, orthopedic surgeon and foot specialist at UCLA Orthopedic Center in Santa Monica, believes that an aging foot also changes in size and shape, which is what most people do not know.
“Unfortunately, many people - especially women - don’t realize that foot size can change, so they buy the same size shoe year after year without stopping to ask, ‘Do my feet hurt when I put these on?’ ” she says. The change in the body’s ligaments and tendons leads to the flattening and lengthening of the foot and toes which increases in shoe size.
Arthritis, Bunions, Hammertoe And Other Foot Problems
One of the problems a change in foot size and shape can cause is bunions. They are bony protrusions of the joint which connects the big toe and the feet.
There is also the hammertoe, which also occurs together with the bunion. It affects mostly the second toe and happens when the toe curves in a downward position rather than the normal pointing position.
Women are more affected by bunions than men because of the shoes they wear. But aside from this, it is also a genetic characteristic.
The only effective way to treat a bunion is through surgery to help put the toe back to the normal position. The problem with surgery is that it’s invasive and requires a long recovery process.
The pain that comes with a bunion might be painful and even interfere with your style of working, but Williams believes that you should only have surgery when it becomes unbearable.
Another problem that comes with the aging foot is arthritis. There are different types of arthritis which include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, lupus, and pseudogout.
Osteoarthritis occurs due to the wear and tear of the joint over the years. It can also happen as a result of joint injury.
About 50 percent of older people will develop osteoarthritis since there are about 33 joints in the foot. Luckily, there are available treatments for arthritis including over-the-counter drugs.
One of the risk factors for developing foot problems in older people is when they have chronic conditions such as diabetes. Most diabetics have a condition known as diabetic neuropathy which involves not feeling anything around the feet. Other chronic conditions are obesity and heart diseases.
Reducing Pain That Comes With Foot Problems
The pain from various foot problems can be mild or severe. Here is a way to lessen the pain and prevent it from becoming severe.
Don’t try to live with the pain hoping it will subside. You should see a foot specialist to get diagnosed and treated immediately.
Use orthotics - shoe insoles that help to pad the feet - lending support to the arch to prevent the extra pressure that comes from participating in many activities.
Looking for 100% all-natural foot and body products? Check out The Runner’s Choice foot care oil for tired and achy feet and ReliefMD body oil to help with the discomfort of sore muscles. Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tips, natural health, oral health and skincare. If you are looking for more health resources check out the Trusted Health Resources list.
Lisa S. Jones is a certified nurse, nutritionist, fitness coach and health expert. Her training credentials include a B.Sc. in Nursing from California State University in 2013 and Youth Nutrition Specialist Certification from the American Fitness Professionals and Associates in 2015. In 2017, she also received Holistic Nutrition Certification from the American Fitness Professionals and Associates.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.