Absent bright-colored ribbons and clever marketing schemes, the lowly foot rarely gets the national attention that it so clearly deserves. As monthly races, runs, dashes, and 5ks come and go, championing this cause or that campaign, a sense of irony befalls the humble appendage.
Nonetheless, Feet, you march on: carrying your owners through another finish line without complaint.
Scratch that. Without verbal complaint.
Well, Feet, the other shoe just dropped! The time for airing your grievances (and the spaces between your toes) is now.
It’s April, National Foot Health Awareness Month: The month in which podiatrists across the country seek to shed light on common sources of foot pain, disease, and deformity. No matter your owners’ age, ability, occupation, or lifestyle, you don’t have to live with chronic pain. Don’t wait – trot yourselves to the foot and ankle specialist to seek treatment today.
Does your condition come in the form of a stabbing pain that’s worst in the morning, or after long periods of inactivity? You might be suffering from plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects your heel to your forefoot. The condition can usually be treated non-invasively with stretches and night splints that hold your foot into a position that promotes healing.
Achilles tendinitis is stiffness, swelling, and pain in the heel that manifests after a period of over-activity. The Achilles tendon – the one connecting your calf to your heel – becomes inflamed in response to repeated strain.
Many “weekend warriors” are familiar with this painful condition, and exercise prevention by warming up before working out, and wearing supportive footwear throughout the week and during activity.
Only a podiatrist can diagnose Achilles tendinitis and recommend a course of treatment.
A bunion is a funky-looking deformity that isn’t necessarily a problem, unless it’s causing you pain or discomfort during your day-to-day activities. A bunion is a bony bump that protrudes at the base of your big toe. Bunions are actually a result of a mis-alignment of bones, caused by multiple factors, including genetics, hormones, foot shape, and footwear.
They’re easily treatable when caught early, but severe bunions may require extensive surgery to correct. Choosing the right bunion specialist is essential to correcting a bunion and preventing recurrence.
Diabetic Foot Care
According to data from the CDC, 9.3% of Americans – over 29 million people – have been diagnosed with diabetes. On top of keeping a strict diet, exercise, and medication regimen, people living with diabetes need to carefully monitor the health of their feet.
Diabetic people often suffer from a condition called neuropathy. Neuropathy is a loss of feeling, especially in the feet, due to poor blood circulation. Neuropathy makes it particularly difficult to sense blisters, cuts, sores, and other open wounds that might pop up in normal everyday life.
These wounds can become infected and form ulcers, and in severe cases, the limb may need to be amputated to save the person’s life. Checking the feet daily can prevent ulcers and ensure long-term foot health.
Take Care of Your Feet
Even when nothing is wrong, proper foot care requires some diligence on your part. Follow these tips to keep your feet healthy and happy.
- Stretch your feet and ankles before working out to prevent injury.
- Dry your feet completely when exiting the shower, even between the toes.
- Moisturize your feet, especially the heels, to prevent the skin from cracking.
- Wear comfortable shoes that support the arch and protect the foot from damage. Avoid high heels, extremely pointy-toe boxes, and flip-flops.
- Replace your athletic shoes every 500 miles or six months.
- Buy orthotic inserts to make your shoes a little more foot-friendly. You can also visit your foot and ankle specialist for custom orthotic inserts.
As a teaching institution, University Foot and Ankle Institute’s Fellowship Program is among the most advanced in the nation.
We at UFAI are driven to get our patients back to their normal activities with the highest level of function, in the least amount of time, using the least invasive treatments possible. From start to finish, we are with you every step of the way.
The UFAI Education Team works to help empower our patients and website visitors with the most up-to-date information about foot and ankle conditions, treatment options, recovery and injury prevention. Our goal is to pass on truly useful information to our readers.
We hope you enjoy our work and find it of value. Please let us know!
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