Taking care of our feet is something that is often overlooked on our yearly medical to-do list. Most people are adamant about scheduling their annual check-ups, dentist appointments, and even eye doctor visits, but “annual foot check” is a task that is just not on a lot of people’s radar. Maintaining foot health is so important, but sometimes it’s hard to find the time to take a break from your busy schedule to focus on you. In the meantime, while you’re waiting for the perfect window to schedule your annual foot exam, here are four things you can do to monitor and maintain your foot health.
Stretching is one of the simplest ways to keep your feet healthy. Consistently stretching everyday will strengthen your feet, as well as promote blood flow and circulation. Click here for some quick and easy stretches you can do every day to keep your feet happy and healthy.
Check Your Feet
Performing daily foot checks is a step that people often skip in their daily foot care routine, even though it’s one of the easiest. Each morning when you wake up or each night before you go to bed, just do a quick scan of your feet to make sure you don’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Here are some common conditions you should check for as well as their corresponding symptoms.
- Ingrown Toenails- Swollen skin around the nails, puss, fluid, and pain
- Fungus- Yellowing and/or thickening of the toenail
- Calluses- Rough, dry skin on any parts of your feet
Trim Your Nails Very Carefully
Ingrown toenails are one of the most common issues we treat in our office. If left untreated, they can get infected, leading to more invasive treatments, like toe amputation (read more here!). One of the best ways to prevent an ingrown toenail is to trim your toenails regularly.
Some rules of thumb for toenails trimming:
Diabetics should NEVER trim their own nails. Because of poor circulation, any accidental wounds or cuts caused by nail trims could lead to slow healing and serious infection. Instead, diabetics should get regular nail trims at their local podiatrist’s office. Often times, insurance will cover regular professional nail trims every 8-12 weeks.
The best way to trim your toenails is to cut them at a medium length (not too short, not too long). The general rule is to cut nails straight across, but as long as you follow the natural shape of your nail, your toes will stay happy and healthy.
If your toenails start to become ingrown, you definitely should not try to dig them out yourself. There are so many horror stories about “bathroom surgeries” that eventually lead to infection, and ultimately, make the problem worse.
Pick The Right Shoes
Picking the right shoes makes all the difference in providing your feet with the best care. It is critical that your feet are properly supported, especially if your daily routine requires you to constantly be on your feet.
The rule of thumb at our office is to choose comfort and support over style when it comes to picking out shoes, but if you absolutely need to reach for that stiletto or ballet flat, wear them for as little time as possible. There are also so many great options out there that can give you support, while also catering to your inner fashionista. Check out our YouTube channel to go shoe shopping with Dr. Freels and get the inside scoop on the best shoes for every season.