Foot Care and Suggestions from SOS:
Dr. Naven Duggal, Dr. Christopher Fatti, & Dr. Frederick Lemley
- A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone, often developed from overuse. Studies show that athletes participating in tennis, track and field, gymnastics, dance and basketball are at high risk for stress fractures. In all of these sports, the repeated stress of the foot striking the ground can cause problems. To help prevent stress fractures:
- Use proper sports equipment. Don't wear old or worn running shoes.
- Alternate activities. For example, alternate jogging with swimming or cycling.
- Start any new sports activity slowly. Gradually increase time, speed and distance; a 10% increase per week is fine.
- Strength training can help prevent early muscle fatigue and prevent the loss of bone density that comes with aging.
- Maintain a healthy diet, with enough calcium and foods rich in vitamin D to help build bone strength.
- If pain or swelling returns, stop the activity. Rest for a few days. If pain continues, see a doctor.
DIABETIC FOOT CARE
- Dr. Christopher Fatti provides these tips from the American Podiatric Medical Association:
- Check your feet daily for cuts, blisters, bruises, cracked-skin, color changes, and swelling. Use a mirror to inspect the soles of both feet. If you have impaired vision ask a relative or friend to check your feet for you. Report any foot injuries to your doctor without delay.
- Wash cuts and grazes twice a day with soap and water; apply an antiseptic cream, and cover with a sterile Band-Aid. Seek medical attention immediately.
- To avoid burns, test the temperature with your elbow before you place your feet into hot water, and do not lace your feet close to warm radiators.
- Wear socks as much as possible to help prevent blisters. Make sure hosiery is not too tight, and wash your socks or stockings daily.
- Stop smoking now! Nicotine reduces the blood flow to your feet, which may increase the risk of foot ulcers.
- See your podiatrist at least twice a year for a comprehensive foot check up. Early diagnosis and treatment of a foot problem is always best.
PROBLEMS FROM IMPROPER FOOTWEAR
Maureen Kaljeskie, C.Ped. wants you to remember to:
- Be certain to buy the right size shoe. Shoe stores or shoe departments in larger stores will have associates who can measure feet. Also, many stores without designated associates have measuring tools or charts available.
- Determine if the toe box is appropriate for your foot. It is not just the shape of the toe box but also the depth. A deeper toe box will have more room to accommodate a bunion, hammertoes, and a wide forefoot. A square toe box is the most desirable shape. If you are unable to get a square toe box, a round one is a better choice than a pointed shape.
- Shoes that lace, buckle, Velcro or have some type of strapping mechanism will provide more support to your arch.
- A shoe that has a removable insole is ideal so that you can add an orthotic or more cushioned insole if needed.
EVERYDAY CARE OF FEET
Brandi Brown, MSPT, ATC, CSCS suggests these daily exercises:
- Gastroc Stretch – Stand with palms against wall, right foot back, right leg straight, left leg forward and bent. Keeping right heel on floor, turned slightly out, lean into wall until stretch is felt in calf. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with left foot.
- Soleus Stretch – Stand with palms against wall, right foot back, both knees bent. Keeping heel on floor, turned slightly out, lean into wall until stretch is felt in lower calf. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with left foot.
- Toe Flexion/Extension – Gently grasp right toes and then straighten then. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with left toes.