Where would you be without healthy feet and ankles? Think about it. No movement, no daily routines, no sports. Your lower extremities need and deserve excellent day-to-day care. Here are ten essential tips for the best possible foot and ankle health.
1. Wash and Dry Your Feet Every Day
Especially important for diabetics and other people with impaired nerve and vascular function, washing your feet daily removes dirt, germs, and odors. Just as important is the routine inspection which accompanies foot hygiene. Look for areas of redness and friction, bumps, bruises, cracks, and cuts. All are entrees for wounds and infection.
2. Moisturize Your Feet Daily
Use moisturizer liberally on all areas of your feet and ankles. You’ll avoid dry, leathery skin and cracked painful corns and calluses. Diabetics should not put moisturizer between the toes.
3. Wear Dry, Well-fitting Socks
Socks provide support and protection. However, if they are too loose or too tight, they can rub your skin raw or create undue pressure points. So, select moisture-wicking socks that fit well, and change them daily or whenever they are sweaty or wet from weather changes.
4. Cut Your Nails Straight Across
Whether you trim your nails at home or go for a salon pedicure, sharp, clean clippers are a must. Never round the corners of toenails; instead, cut straight across the top of the toe to avoid painful ingrown nails.
5. Elevate Your Feet
If you’ve been standing or even sitting in one position for a long time, take a break, and elevate your feet and ankles for five to 10 minutes. You’ll reduce pain and swelling and improve the return of circulation to the heart.
Most healthcare providers recommend `150 minutes of light to moderate aerobic exercise weekly. This improves circulation–including peripheral circulation–increases endurance and flexibility, and maintains muscular and bone strength.
7. Maintain a Proper Body Weight
Obesity leads to a whole host of health problems, including podiatric issues. According to studies by the World Health Organization (WHO), excessive body weight greatly increases a person’s chances of developing tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and osteoarthritis in the feet and ankles. So, watching your weight is a great way to take care of your lower extremities and avoid long-term problems.
8. Don’t Overdo Work or Exercise
Repeated motions can lead to problems in the bones, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissues of the feet and ankles–even more so when overuse combines with gait issues, such as overpronation. So, be active, but learn ways to rest and support your feet and ankles as you run, play, work out, and do your job.
9. Wear the Best Shoes
That means ones that fit you properly and give you good support at the arch and heel. Be sure children’s shoes are neither too short nor too tight. Young feet need special care, too.
Also, avoid going barefoot outside (and indoors if you are diabetic). Wear shower sandals in the gym locker room and poolside to avoid athlete’s foot fungus.
10. See Your Foot and Ankle Doctor Once a Year
An annual hands-on exam and visual inspection of your feet and ankles ensure all is well or spots and treats problems before they become complex and life-altering. See your provider more often if you are diabetic or have other impactful chronic health conditions or an acute injury from work or sports.
The Best Foot and Ankle Doctor in Port Charlotte, FL
At Advanced Orthopedic Center, we provide the best in orthopedic care. Whether you have plantar fasciitis, a traumatic injury, or need a joint replacement, we will give you the attention you deserve to get you back on your feet and mobile again. The staff and physicians look forward to serving you.