Treat Your Feet! April is Foot Health Awareness Month - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on April 08, 2013

Treat Your Feet! April is Foot Health Awareness Month

From wearing shoes without proper arch support to balancing in sky-high heels, we’re all guilty of using and abusing our feet. And considering we use them every single day, the least we can do is show them a little TLC. After all, “Happy Feet” shouldn’t just be the title of a Disney Pixar film.

To honor those two little aides that assist us in almost everything we do, we need to keep in mind that maintaining healthy feet is just as important as taking care of our heart, our kidneys, and any other conditions we might have.

“Everything has a function, a purpose,” says William Urbas, D.P.M., chief of the Division of Podiatry at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. “Every muscle, joint, ligament; the brain knows what each is supposed to do. When the foot doesn’t do its job, it can cause knee pain or lower back and hip pain.”

And if the feet fail to do their job, “Every other area has to compensate.”

The result?

Pain, strains, joint problems and more can develop in your feet or in other areas of your body.

According to Urbas, the best way to take care of our feet is to understand that “feet in general should not hurt. If they hurt every day, that’s a problem.”

If you experience discomfort over two or three days, there’s probably a greater issue than walking too much during a day in the big city.

Even though you may only be familiar with common and treatable foot diseases, such as corns, cilices and blisters, some conditions may be the result of a greater issue in the body.

Diabetes, for example, is the biggest threat to our feet, particularly among those who don’t know they even have the disease.

“Diabetes can affect the nerves and arteries, [preventing] a good blood flow that can lead to infections and amputations,” Urbas says. Making this even more harrowing, he adds, “amputations are done every 15 minutes due to diabetes.”

How does this happen?

For one, diabetes can cause loss of sensation in the feet, meaning that those with this condition aren’t even able to feel the pain. And what’s more unfortunate, according to Urbas, is that most people don’t learn to control their diabetes and prevent it from happening. In some cases, the same patients might undergo multiple amputation surgeries during their lifetime as a result of neglecting their condition.

To keep our feet healthy and safe, Urbas recommends the following:

  • Use common sense: If your shoes are too tight, or you’re walking like Frankenstein in those 5-inch heels, or if you’re feeling pain for more than 3 days straight, take off the offending shoes and visit a podiatrist.
  • Use normal hygiene and clean your feet with soap and water to prevent Athlete’s Foot and other types of bacteria. Be sure to keep your feet dry as well, since viruses thrive in moist conditions.
  • Wear shoes that fit comfortably and that are appropriate for the activity your engaging in. For example, if you’re running, wear running sneakers, and don’t wear flip-flops if you’re mowing the lawn. It might seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many people don’t follow common sense here either!
  • Take advantage of gel inserts that can provide a much-needed arch in shoes that don’t have any.
  • For all of the ladies, limit how often you wear high heels. Those fabulous shoes can cause problems in your Achilles tendon, and cause pain when you wear flats.

Crozer-Keystone Health System offers comprehensive musculoskeletal care. From conservative approaches to managing pain to spine, foot and hand services, sports medicine, and joint replacement surgery, the physicians of the Premier/Crozer-Keystone Orthopedics Partnership will determine what plan works best for you. Appointments within 48 hours; call 1-877-CK-MOTION (1-877-256-6846) or visit https://www.crozerkeystone.org/services/orthopedics/form/.

Learn more about foot pain by visiting http://bit.ly/14ScSfE

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