April is Foot Health Awareness Month

April is Foot Health Awareness Month
Apr 01, 2016 - Apr 30, 2016

 

Today's Podiatrist Keep America Walking

 

"Walking is the best possible exercise." Thomas Jefferson



Walking is Good Medicine

"Walking is good for you! It helps condition your body and improve overall cardiovascular health in the same way running and jogging do. But compared with running, walking carries a significantly lower risk of injury, it reduces stress and gives you time to think and clear your head, aids in better sleep, and is mood uplifting. Walking is the nearest thing to a “perfect” exercise in terms of a safe, all-round workout that requires no special training or equipment - except for a good pair of shoes," says California Podiatric Medical Association President Dr. Sheth. “A single step uses up to 200 muscles, so you're not only doing a little cardio, but toning your muscles, too. Also, walking is easy on your joints.”

  • Walking can significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease and help prevent some cancers, as well as cut cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
  • Walking may slow cognitive decline in adults, especially those with existing conditions such as Alzheimer's.
  • Walking can help to prevent the onset of Type II Diabetes.
  • Walking can help improve mental health
  • Walking can help improve circulation in the feet by stimulating the development of tiny new blood vessels.
  • Walking requires little equipment, can be done almost anywhere, and is entirely free.


Desk jobs and hi-tech home entertainment have combined to cause Americans to lead ever more sedentary lifestyles. Concomitant with the rise in sedentary lifestyles has been a significant increase in obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Taking a brisk 30 minute daily walk is an excellent first step toward reducing these health risks. It is always a good idea to see a healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program.

Before starting a walking program, one should be sure to wear activity appropriate, well-constructed and properly fitted shoes. Nothing will sideline a walking program quicker than sore feet. Walkers should consider consulting a podiatrist before embarking on a new walking fitness program for an evaluation of the feet, gait and recommendation of walking shoes.

Here are a few shoe shopping tips from the California Podiatric Medical Association:

  • Shop for shoes in the afternoon; feet tend to swell during the day.
  • Measure both feet.
  • Bring the type of socks that will be worn with the shoes.
  • Try on both shoes and walk around the store - take your time.
  • Buy for the larger foot - feet are seldom precisely the same size.
  • Buy shoes that do not need a "break-in" period. Shoes should be immediately comfortable.

 

A walking fitness program should begin slowly, with a gradual increase in both speed and distance. This will give the muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments that make up the feet the chance to get used to the activity.

What Walking Does to Feet

The average person will walk about 100,000 miles in his or her lifetime - roughly equal to four trips around the Earth - which is tough on our feet, yet our bodies were designed for moving, not standing still, so walking is good exercise. Walking helps the muscles and ligaments in the feet to work more efficiently, and helps keep them supple and flexible.

How a Podiatrist Can Help People Keep Walking

Podiatrists, also known as Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs), and podiatric physicians are expert in:

  • The diagnosis and treatment of injuries affecting the lower extremities that may affect patients’ daily lives and prevent them from being active;
  • The evaluation of biomechanics;
  • Proper footwear; and
  • Custom orthotics.

"If you experience any discomfort or foot pain, then it may be an indication that something more serious is wrong.

Early attention is vital to effectively treating foot and ankle injuries. In many cases, early diagnosis can prevent a small injury from becoming a larger one.

Foot pain is not normal, and will not go away on its own. If foot pain is preventing you from keeping active, it is imperative that you make an appointment with a licensed podiatrist as soon possible. Specializing in the treatment of the foot and ankle, podiatrists are the most qualified in treating foot and ankle pain," said Dr. Sheth.

A directory of licensed California podiatrists can be found at www.calpma.org.

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