Put Feet First For Foot Health Awareness Month

April Is Foot Health Awareness Month
Put Feet First For Foot Health Awareness Month
Apr 01, 2013 - Apr 30, 2013

 

“Your Feet Shouldn’t Hurt”

-California Podiatric Medical Association

 

April is National Foot Health Awareness Month and the California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) encourages Californians to think about how much they depend on their feet each and every day and to develop healthy foot habits to help keep them injury, illness and pain free.

Synching the structural strength of a cantilever bridge with the mechanical complexity and precision of a fine Swiss watch, the human foot is a bioengineering masterpiece!

With one-quarter of all the bones in the human body, dozens of joints, and hundreds of ligaments and tendons, all linked and served by a vast network of nerves, muscles, blood vessels, soft tissue and skin, working in unison to provide the support, strength, flexibility, and resiliency needed for performing things most of us take for granted, such as standing, balancing, walking, running and jumping, the human foot is a true marvel. This amazing structure is also prone to illness and injury.

“The average person takes 5,000 to 10,000 steps in a single day - more than four times the circumference of the globe in a lifetime,” says California Podiatric Medical Association President-Elect Carolyn McAloon, a podiatric physician and surgeon in private practice in Castro Valley, California.

“Nearly half of all Americans will experience some type of foot pain at some point during their lifetime. Because the foot is such a complex structure that contains more bones than any other single part of the human body, and when combined with how much we use our feet each day, it’s no wonder that so many people suffer from foot pain. However, foot pain is not normal and is frequently a symptom of a more serious underlying systemic condition,” says Dr. McAloon.

Foot pain, according to Dr. McAloon, can range from a relatively simple ingrown toenail to much more complex problems such as broken bones, pinched nerves, pain associated with the arch or ball of the foot, and complicated chronic foot problems related to poor circulation and ulcers.

“While the eyes may be the windows to the soul, the feet are the window into our overall fitness and health,” Dr. McAloon says.

“Since many symptoms first occur there, feet are excellent barometers for spotting common as well as more severe medical conditions. For example, we’ve all had those long hard days at work which can lead to tired, achy and swollen feet. But swollen achy feet can also be an indication of something much more serious such as heart, kidney or thyroid problems.

Discolored toenails might be an indication of a serious underlying condition, such as diabetes, liver problems or fungus.

The loss of hair on your toes could be a sign of poor circulation and/or diabetes.

Swollen joints could be related to gout, rheumatoid or osteoarthritis.

Cracked heels can mean much more than simply dry skin. It could be a sign of a thyroid problem or diabetes. Slathering on jars of cream in an attempt to soften them could be overlooking a serious problem.

And, while most corns and blisters can be attributed to shoes being worn too tightly, they can also point to a serious systemic problem, like diabetes.

If you are experiencing any of these problems on a regular basis you should see a podiatric physician immediately,” says Dr. McAloon.

Dr. McAloon stressed the critical importance of proper foot care for those with diabetes, noting that diabetics should have their feet examined at least once a year by a podiatric physician and should see a podiatric physician immediately regarding any slow to heal cut, sore or wound on the foot.

McAloon also noted that it was especially important that women take care of their feet, since they have almost four times as many foot problems as men. She also stressed the importance of good foot health for children, who can suffer from many of the same problems as adults.

“If you take care of your children’s feet today that will go a long way in helping prevent unhealthy foot conditions in the future,” Dr. McAloon said.

Dr. McAloon offered some simple tips to help keep feet healthy, and injury and illness free:

  • Check your feet every day.
  • Pay attention to hygiene, especially in the winter months when feet are often hidden in socks for long periods of time. Keep your feet clean and dry.
  • Watch for age-related changes especially in your 50s and 60s. Changes include loss of padding in the heel and ball of the foot and stiffness related to arthritis.
  • Wear properly fitting shoes that fit and match your activity level. The best time to buy shoes is at the end of the day because your feet tend to swell as the day progresses. Also keep in mind that walking shoes have different features than running shoes, so be sure your selection is appropriate for the activity.
  • Give your arches proper support. If you’re unsure whether you have flat, high, or normal arches, consult a podiatric physician who can evaluate each foot.
  • Finally, if you are experiencing foot pain, any of the symptoms above on a continuous basis or want to ensure you are wearing the proper shoes for your foot size, shape and activities, you can find a Teamster Member licensed Podiatric Physician near you online at www.calpma.org.

 

Founded in 1912, the California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) is the leading and recognized professional organization for California’s doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs). DPMs are podiatric physicians and surgeons, also known as podiatrists, qualified by their education, training and experience to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and structures of the leg.

 

CPMA, keeping Californians on their Feet – Healthy, Active and Productive!

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