10 Things Podiatrists Wish Everyone Knew About Their Feet
You’re hard on your feet, likely taking at least 8,000 steps a day. And let’s be honest, how much do you know about your feet? It’s time to start paying more attention. Begin here!
1. Not all flat feet are bad feet
Most people have a gap under the arch of their foot when they are in a standing position. The arch, the inner part of the foot is slightly raised off the ground. People with flat feet or fallen arches either have no arch, or it is very low.
However, some people might have flat feet but have good foot and leg muscle tone that helps in foot function, hence having no issues with their foot structures. In short, foot function trumps foot structure. In The Sole Clinic, we do not prescribe orthotic devices/insoles to patients who do not have foot function issues. Podiatrists who believe in muscular strength and gait retraining will be able to give patients more holistic and practical advice to manage their foot problems.
2. Not all foot problems require customised foot orthoses/insoles
There are three broad of insoles/orthotic devices available, namely Pre- Fabricated General Insoles, Semi Customised Insoles and Customised Insoles. Research have shown good recovery of patients that uses general and semi customised insoles provided their foot structures fit those insoles well. In The Sole Clinic, we find that about 70% of our patients are able to use lower price range insoles effectively and have good recovery rates. Only patients who have foot structures or requirements that fall out of this ‘bell curve’ requires the more expensive range. Be aware of what you are being prescribed by your podiatrist. You might not require top range insoles for your condition. A professional and ethical podiatrist will offer you the options available together with its pros and cons of each type of insole with regards to your foot condition.
3. Don’t go barefoot in a public shower.
Gym showers and locker-room floors can be very good breeding grounds for the fungus that causes athlete’s foot or the virus that causes warts, so it is a good measure to wear slippers in such premises. In our humid weather, our feet can perspire more. When drying your feet, take extra care to dry thoroughly and in between your toes.
4. Pointed high heels shoes are the worst culprits for foot pain and deformities
Pointed shoes push the big toe into smaller toes will cause the big toe joint and tendons to stiffen up. This can result in foot deformities like bunions and hammer toes. Your ideal high heels: ones with a wide toe box and heels under two inches.
5. Toenail fungus can be very stubborn
If your toenails have started to discolor or are becoming thicker and more brittle, chances are fungus is to blame. While the consumption of antifungal pills helps in clearing up the nails, the chances of reoccurrence are high. You might require long term anti fungal topicals, or the use of PACT therapy.
In addition, fungi thrive in warm, moist environments and can invade the skin through tiny cuts or the small separation between the nail and nail bed. So always remember to keep your foot dry and change out of sweaty socks to keep the fungi at bay.
6. Diabetics need to take special care of their feet.
If you have diabetes, check your feet daily for blisters, cuts, redness, and ulcers. If wounds are neglected you might get an infection, which could lead to serious consequences, including amputation.
7. If you keep spraining your ankle, you might not be just clumsy
Some people are just genetically pre-disposed to weak ankles, so it is important that you aim to strengthen your injury-prone ankles. Try these moves!
Another reason might be that you are not lacing your sneakers right.
Do you know you can conduct a Heel Lock lacing method that will stabilise the ankle and firm up the heel, hence reducing the incidences of ankle sprains.
8. You can use deodorant on your feet.
Many people actually do not know this, but underarm deodorants are very effective in reducing sweat production in the feet as well, thereby preventing foot odour. Just don’t use the same one for both feet and underarms!
9. Realize when it’s time to retire old shoes