Most people don’t worry about their feet when it comes to hygiene, but cleaning your feet should be part of your daily routine. Our feet are vital to our everyday lives, which is why we need to care for them and pay attention to any problems that may arise. To stay on top of your foot health, practicing good foot hygiene is the best place to start.
Daily Foot Care
- Wash and dry your feet every day. Use a mild soap. Wash between your toes and be sure to dry your feet and toes thoroughly.
- Wear appropriately fitting socks and shoes. We recommend shoes with a non-slip outsole as well as any inserts or orthotics that have been prescribed. Wearing padded socks can also help protect against injuries to the skin tissue of your foot.
- As well as wearing padded socks, keeping those socks clean is also important. Change your socks daily or more frequently if you are active and your feet have perspired.
- Don’t wear the same pair of shoes twice - instead, rotate their use. Giving your shoes time to dry out is important, especially if you are active and perspire heavily.
- Keep your shoes clean, inside and out.
- It’s best to avoid going barefoot, especially in public areas. If you must go barefoot, be sure to wash your feel carefully afterwards and to thoroughly dry them.
- When trimming your toenails regularly (every two weeks), cut them straight across with clean nail clippers or scissors. Sanitize your nail tool periodically by soaking them in alcohol.
- If you cannot reach your toenails to cut them, do not attempt it. See a professional for help.
- If your toenails become discolored, it could be a sign of an underlying health problem. You should seek proper medical attention from a podiatrist. Healthy toenails are a pale pink where they are attached to the skin. The rest of the nail should be clear where it is not adhered to the skin.
Inspecting Your Feet Daily
Examining your feet is very important. Check your feet once a day. Look at the tops and bottoms of your feet, in between your toes and your toenails. Be sure to check for blisters, bumps, lumps, bruises, cuts, sores, cracked skin, and any temperature differences. Pain tingling and numbness of the foot can signal nerve problems. Also, loss of hair on the foot of leg can indicate circulation problems. If you see or feel anything different about your feet, don’t hesitate! Contact your podiatrist for help and to have the problem properly diagnosed.
No one wants a wart on their foot, but it's surprisingly easy to contrat this contagious skin condition. Plantar warts are warts that develop on the foot and are caused by a few of the 120 types of the human papillomavirus. They affect the superficial areas of your skin, especially on the pressure points of the foot, such as the heel and the bal. The virus usually enters through small cuts or irritated areas in the skin, as well as through skin that is repetitively exposed to water.
Do I Have a Plantar Wart?
A plantar wart looks like a small, grainy callus-like lesion on the bottom of your foot. There may be one wart or many warts grouped together. The center of the wart will have a tiny red or black dot, which is caused by trapped capillaries.
Plantar warts are common among children and teenagers. Their immune system is not fully developed, and they are also more likely to go barefoot. Warts are also more common in those with weakened immune systems.
How Can I Prevent Plantar Warts?
- Avoid walking barefoot in public places such as showers, changing rooms, swimming pools and saunas.
- Change your socks daily.
- Check your feet daily.
- Do not touch warts on other people.
- Don’t scratch the warts, it can encourage spreading.
- Cover warts with waterproof tape while in swimming pools or shower stalls.
If you've been trying various home remedies for warts for two weeks or more, and the wart still hasn't faded away, contact your podiatrist. Also, if a new growth has occurred, you have a history of skin cancer, or you are diabetic, it’s important that you see your podiatrist right away!
Your feet are your main source to get you where you’re going. If you don't choose proper shoes, you and your feet can suffer. If you suffer from pain and agony in your feet while undergoing everyday activities, you might just not be wearing the right shoe! Your podiatrist can help you choose the best shoe for your feet and your daily activity level.
- Don’t Multitask: It’s not recommended to use the same shoe for different activities. Walking shoes can be stiff and running shoes are more flexible. It's always better to have a couple extra pairs of shoes in your car than to try to wear the same shoes to the office in the morning and to go running at night. Would you wear leather loafers for a run at the track? Of course not! Keep this in mind and apply it to all activities throughout your day, such as wearing dress shoes for a long walk on city streets. It might seem like no big deal to feel a little discomfort in a situation like this, but if you do it on a regular basis, your feet will not thank you!
- Get to Know Your Feet: Feet come in many shapes and sizes. Many people have one foot that is larger than the other, or may need shoes wider or narrower than the shoes sold in most big-box clothing stores. Don't be afraid to go a little further afield for a great shoe. Try having your feet measured for a size at a reputable shoe store rather than guessing at what size you should wear. One size does not fit all, after all. You may be surprised to learn that you've been wearing the wrong size for years,and didn't even know it!
- Realize Your Feet Change: Your feet can change at any age and time. As you get older, your feet may change in size and shape. Measuring your foot frequently can help to ensure that you are getting the suitable size for your feet. When you go shopping for shoes, it’s best to try the shoes on at the end of the day, because your feet swell as you walk on them. Get shoes that fit when your foot is the biggest, so you don't end up uncomfortable at dinner when you were snug at breakfast.
- Breaking In Shoes: Many people expect shoes to become more comfortable over time, but this is only partially true. While shoes may soften as you wear them, your new shoes should feel comfortable right away. When trying on shoes, you should walk or run around the store to see if they feel good in action. If they don’t, keep searching for the right one.
- Know When to Replace Your Shoes: No shoes are made to last a lifetime, so don’t try to keep them for one! If you're an active person, you'll notice that you go through shoes pretty quickly. In fact, running shoes should be replaced after around 350-400 miles of use. You should be able to tell if you need to shoes just by the look and feel of them. If the sole is worn out, if you can see your foot through a hole, or if your shoes just feel less supportive, it’s time to go shopping!
Keep your feet healthy and maintained by choosing the appropriate shoes for you. Not sure what shoes are the right fit? Contact your podiatrist today!
Foot pain can range from your toes to your heel. When it comes to heel pain, also known as Plantar Fasciitis, affects 60% of individuals in their lifetime. When the thick tissue on the bottom of your foot called the Plantar Fascia becomes inflamed, it can become a daily annoyance. But you still need to stay fit. So what's the solution?
Yoga is a low-intensity, simple, and impactful workout. Not only does it help you stay fit when your heel pain prevents you from following your regular execrise regimen, but stretching and low-impact exercise, both of which yoga covers, can help ease your pain. Tight calf muscles often make Plantar Fasciitis worse, and yoga can help stretch and loosen them.
Remember, any pose in yoga should only be performed to the extent that you feel comfortable - pain is not gain! Go at your own pace and react to your own flexibility, making adjustments as you go.
Mountain Pose: This is a great pose to start with, especially if you aren't very familiar with yoga, as it forms the basis for many other poses and helps get you acclimated.
- Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Try to distribute your weight as evenly as possible across all parts of the foot, from the toes to the heel to the arch.
- Straighten your legs without locking your knees. Lift your arches.
- Engage the muscles in your thighs, turning them inward slightly. Try to lengthen through the base of your spine and tailbone without curving your back.
- Press your shoulder blades back and down to open the chest. Allow your arms to hang loose.
- Try to balance as evenly in the pose as possible, breathing deeply. Feeling the distribution of weight in your feet, do your best to keep your weight even at all four corners of the foot, to keep your head lifted with your chin parallel to the floor, and remain as even and symmetrical in weight and posture as possible.
Downward Dog Pose: The pose many people think of when they think of yoga. While this pose doesn't require a yoga mat, performing it on a non-slippery surface is helpful, because you will need to put weight into the feet, and they may slide back if you try it on a hard floor.
- While sitting on the floor, move onto all fours, placing your hands down firmly on the floor slightly ahead of your shoulders, palm and fingers spread. Keep your knees directly in line with your pelvis.
- Breathe out and lift your knees from the floor, tucking your toes under and standing on the balls of your feet falling back almost as if you will sit on your heels. Keep your hands firmly on the floor.
- Then push up with your legs, allowing your heels to fall back toward the floor, pushing your pelvis into the air, hands still on the ground, forming an inverted v-shape with your body.
- Keep your head between your arms rather than letting it hang loose toward the floor. Try to distribute your weight between feet and hands, to avoid putting too much weight on either the ankles or the wrists. Drop your shoulder blades
- Try to press your chest toward your legs as much as is comfortable. You can also try to press your heels into the floor, again, only as much as is comfortable. Try to rotate your arms so your elbows face toward your thumbs, and rotate your thighs inward, as in mountain pose, to engage the quads.
- Your hands should be shoulder-width apart, your feet hip-width apart, and hands and feet should be parallel to each other. Your toes should point straight ahead. Take deep, long breaths, and stretch into the pose as much as you feel comfortable doing.
- Breathe into the pose. When you want to release the pose, perform a reverse of how you pressed yourself up - bend your knees in, then move back to hands and knees.
Chair Pose: Chair pose offers a great stretch. As a pose that involved standing on both feet, one of the great things about it is that you can do it anywhere - even at the office!
- Start in Mountain Pose.
- Raise your arms over your head. Do not bend your elbows.
- Bend your knees and gently push your pelvis down as if you are sitting into an invisible chair behind you. Try to make your thighs as parallel as possible to the floor without losing your balance.
- Keep your lower back lengthened, not allowing it to curve into the pose, maintaining a straight back. Try to also shift as much weight as possible into your heels. Look straight ahead.
- Sink as deep into the pose as you feel comfortable, then try to hold it, again breathing deeply through the nose.
- To release, exhale and straighten the knees, coming back to Mountain.
Yoga offers a heel-pain friendly way to get in a workout, and may even help ease your pain. For other foot and ankle pain remedies and treatments, contact your podiatrist today!
Summertime brings flip-flops, pool time and more. While these are the signs of enjoyable warm weather, they can also be concerning if you have diabetes. Higher temperatures and opportunities to walk barefoot increase the chances you can injure your feet or experience cracking, swelling and discomfort.
Because you are living with diabetes, you likely know the condition puts you at greater risk for nerve damage to your feet. This affects your foot sensations, meaning you may experience a scrape or cut without realizing you had it. Because diabetes affects your body’s wound healing time, having a cut that’s unknown to you can easily turn into a more serious wound if left untreated.
To ensure your feet have an event-free summer, here are some warm weather-specific tips from our podiatrist:
Always wear shoes. If you’re planning a beach vacation, it can be tempting to leave the flip-flops behind in favor of sand beneath your toes. This can be a troublesome habit, however, because it increases your risk for cuts from seashells, beach glass or other unknown beach items. Close-toed beach shoes that have breathable mesh and a protective sole are available that protect your feet from injury while also allowing you to walk comfortably.
Give Your Feet a Once-Over Twice Daily. When you have diabetes, you should inspect your feet at least as often as you should brush your teeth: at least twice per day. Pay special attention to the areas between your toes and underneath your feet. You may even want to get a mirror to place on the ground and put your foot a few inches away to identify hard-to-see areas. In addition to checking out your feet, you’ll also want to check out your shoes. Debris, such as dirt and rocks, can easily accumulate in your shoes and cause injuries. Give them a good shake before wearing to protect yourself.
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen. You can just as easily burn your foot skin as you can anywhere else, yet many people forget to apply sunscreen to this important area. When you are applying sunscreen to your arms, legs and face, don’t forget to apply it on the tops and bottoms of your feet before putting on your outdoor shoes.
Don’t feel the burn. Remember the beach isn't the only place you can burn or injure your feet. Campfires, cookouts and even ultra-hot pavement are all areas where you can unexpectedly injure your feet in the summer. The same rules apply when it comes to wearing shoes and taking every precaution to protect your feet.
Finally, remember that it’s important to see a podiatrist regularly to inspect your feet and ensure you have not experienced an injury that could easily affect your overall health. Visiting our podiatrist to have your toenails cut can help to prevent ingrown toenails and injury. If you notice other foot conditions, such as blisters or scrapes, seeing us as quickly as possible can help to prevent your injuries from worsening.
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