ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — One survey found that eight out of ten Americans have experienced some type of foot problem. From ingrown toenails to chronic pain, foot issues can make everyday activities difficult. Next, we learn ways to put your best foot forward.
The average American takes about five thousand steps a day. That’s five thousand times your feet pound the pavement. So, how can you keep your tootsies in tip top shape? First: wear the right shoes!
John Campbell, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon at Mercy Medical Center says, “If you’re going to play basketball, wear a basketball sneaker, don’t wear a running shoe. It’s not the same kind of event. It’s not designed to protect you for that.”
When deciding on a new pair of shoes, make sure you have at least half an inch between your longest toe and the front of the shoe. Walk in them to make sure there’s no slipping or rubbing. If your feet aren’t the same size, buy the shoes to fit your larger foot. Also, be sure to replace running shoes every 300 miles.
To avoid ingrown toenails on your feet, cut your nails straight across. Don’t round them. And if you do develop an ingrown nail, see a doctor instead of dealing with it yourself. To prevent bacterial and fungal infections, bathe daily and take time to dry the skin between your toes. If you suffer an injury, see a professional. It might be more serious than you think.
Dr. Campbell continued, “The old wives tale where people say, well if you can walk on it it’s not broken, absolutely false.”
Another tip: avoid high heels as much as possible. They don’t support your ankle and can actually change the natural position of your foot.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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PUTTING YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD: TIPS FOR HEALTHY FEET
BACKGROUND: The foot is an intricate structure containing 26 bones with 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and multiple tendons that hold the structure together and allow it to move in a variety of ways. There are approximately 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet, and they excrete as much as half a pint of moisture each day. Seventy-five percent of Americans will experience foot health problems of varying degrees of severity at one time or another in their lives. Walking is the best exercise for your feet. It also contributes to your general health by improving circulation, contributing to weight control and promoting all around well-being. Your feet mirror your general health. Such conditions as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in the feet, so foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems. Only a small percentage of the population is born with foot problems. It is neglect, and a lack of awareness of proper care, including ill-fitting shoes, that bring on the problems.
COMMON FOOT AILMENTS AND TREATMENT: Foot problems can occur in any bone, joint, muscle, tendon, or ligament of the foot. Foot and ankle fractures are fairly common. Other foot problems result from disorders that affect many parts of the body, such as diabetes, gout, or other types of arthritis. Discoloration of the toenails should always be evaluated by a doctor because it may be caused by certain disorders, including a fungal infection. People who have diabetes or peripheral arterial disease (narrowing of the arteries that carry blood to the legs, arms, and possibly internal organs) should check their feet daily for signs of infection or ulcers and have a foot doctor, podiatrist, check their feet at least twice a year. Many foot disorders are successfully treated by changing a person’s footwear, or using inserts or other devices placed in the shoe that change the position or range of movement of the foot to relieve pressure on affected joints or painful areas. Injections of an anesthetic into the affected joint or painful area can often relieve pain and decrease muscle spasms so that joints can move more easily, and a corticosteroid may also be injected to decrease inflammation. If these treatments are not successful, sometimes surgery is needed to improve joint alignment and function and relieve pain.
NEW STUDY BRINGS HOPE FOR OLDER PATIENTS: Researchers from Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York are the first to compare the outcomes of foot reconstruction surgeries on older patients to those of a younger group. The study evaluated patients over 65 with stage II adult-acquired flatfoot deformity to see if there are worse clinical outcomes or an increased number of subsequent surgical procedures following flatfoot reconstruction when compared to younger patients. Scott J. Ellis, MD, foot and ankle surgeon at HSS and senior study author, says, “There is a chance that reconstruction could fail, and to avoid a long recovery with multiple surgeries, patients older than 65 commonly skip reconstruction and opt for a fusion.” Dr. Ellis added, “My colleagues and I wanted to investigate if this was still a viable option for elderly patients in the hopes of maintaining flexibility in their foot.” Findings indicated that patients in the older group did not demonstrate any differences in their outcomes compared with patients in the young and middle-aged groups.
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