Foot care: Specialist explains why it’s so important
While Podiatrists are professionals when it comes to cutting nails and callus removal, foot care goes far beyond that. Taking care of our feet is vital to our overall health. How can you avoid common foot problems and take better care of your feet? Here are our best podiatry tips for caring for your foot health;
- See your Podiatrist regularly – If you have calluses and corns or perhaps you have trouble cutting your own toenails, we recommend visiting your Podiatrist every 6 – 8 weeks.
- Wear professionally fitted footwear and replace your shoes (especially runners) regularly.
- Check your feet regularly – This way you will be able to identify any changes to your foot health and take rapid action when necessary.
- At home care – There are a few things you can do between appointments that will help keep your feet in good health, these include; make time for regular moisturising, pumice stone, thorough cleaning and regularly changing socks.
As well as your general foot care, your Podiatrist also has the capabilities to address foot injuries as well as varying conditions.
Types of foot problems
Common foot injuries
Your feet are responsible for holding your entire body weight, which means they are subject to a large variety of injuries. These injuries may include;
- Ankle sprain
- Stress fractures
- Plantar fasciitis
- Ligament tears
- Achilles tendinopathy
Although foot injuries are often unavoidable, here are some tips to help you steer clear;
- Wear supportive, fitted footwear – Always ensure you have your footwear professionally fitted. It is also important to replace your footwear regularly. Worn footwear can place unnecessary stress on the anatomical structures of the foot, exposing them to higher risk of injury.
- Gradual introduction to exercise – A common cause for these injuries is doing “too much, too soon” when it comes to your exercise program. Research has shown that an increase of 10% or more in exercise from the week prior puts you at risk of injury. Always consult with a professional when engaging in an exercise program of any kind.
- Warm up and cool down before and after exercise – an adequate warm up ensures sufficient blood flow to the muscles. A cool down encourages muscle recovery. Both are equally important when it comes to avoiding injury.
For more information on how to avoid injuries, visit your Podiatrist.
Common foot conditions
As with foot injuries, the feet are subject to many other conditions. These include;
- Ingrown toenails
- Athlete’s foot/Tinea Pedis
- Plantar warts/Verruca Pedis
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Callus or hard skin build up
- Fungal nail infections
- Cracked heels
- Bunions and other deformities
All of these common conditions can be managed by your Podiatrist.
Illnesses that can affect the feet
Some specific medical conditions can have a direct impact on your foot health. These conditions include;
Type 1 and type 2 Diabetes Mellitus – Diabetic foot care is imperative. Changes in blood sugar levels can have a direct effect on both nerve endings and arteries in the feet. The nerve endings are responsible for our protective sensation. Without healthy nerve endings, we cannot feel pain, which means a small scratch can quickly turn into a wound. High blood sugar levels can calcify (harden) arteries in the feet. Without adequate blood flow to the feet, healing becomes very difficult. People with diabetes are encouraged to seek professional assistance and see their Podiatrist on a regular basis.
Circulation issues – Circulation impairment can cause many ongoing problems. Poor circulation to the feet can lead to; impaired healing, chilblains and generally an inability to regulate temperature.
Arthritis – Unfortunately, arthritis can have a debilitating effect on the joints in the feet. Arthritis causes damage to the joints, which results in stiffness, pain and often foot/joint deformities. For more information on how to manage your arthritic pain, visit your Podiatrist.
How does ageing affect the feet?
As we age, there are many physiological changes that occur that have a direct effect on the health of the feet. These changes can be managed with help from your Podiatrist.
The skin – The ageing skin loses its strength and elasticity. This means it is more susceptible to damage and bruising. The skin also tends to become dry as we age.
The nails – The growth of the nails tends to slow down, but they become thicker and often harder to cut.
Circulation – As we age, we tend to see a decrease in blood circulation to the feet. This can impact our ability to heal as we need blood for the healing process.
Bone deformities – Often as we age we see changes in our bones, for example; bunions. While boney deformities aren’t always problematic, they can increase the risk of falls and make walking a challenge. Deterioration in balance and strength can also increase this risk.
Foot care specialists
Do you need a Podiatrist? Call 03 9553 0044 or make an appointment HERE for an assessment with one of our team!