Friday, 30 May 2014

Foot Care for Walkers

Walking is a low impact, stress free form of exercise that is suitable for all ages and has health benefits for all parts of the body. People walk for different reasons – some purely for the exercise, others because their work demands it and some walk as a form or relaxation. But, for all of us our feet take the load!

Pressure on Feet

Your feet carry the full weight of your body. Each step you take pressurizes your feet. Though they are made f strong bones and tissues, it does not mean that we can ignore foot care. It’s easy for take care of the rest of the body and ignore the feet. It is only when foot problems arise that we realize how much we depend on them and how problems with the feet can affect the quality of life. Here are a few simple tips to keep your feet healthy and allow you to walk in comfort.

Shoes

Everyone knows how uncomfortable a badly fitting pair of shoes can be. What many do not realize is that wearing improper shoes will damage the feet to a greater extent. There’s nothing wrong in spending a lot of money on the latest branded athletic shoes – they are good. There is no single ideal type of walking shoe. It varies according to the type and shape of the feet and how high the arches are. The best way to buy walking shoes is to spend time trying on as many shoes as possible before shortlisting the most comfortable ones. Ensure that you walk wearing them to check how easy you feel. This should be done late in the day when the feet tend to expand to their largest. The same kind of socks that are worn for walking should be put on when trying the new shoes. Out of the shortlisted ones, choose those that are snug at the heel but have enough room in front to wiggle the toes. Remember that your feet are not of exactly the same size, so try on both shoes before buying a pair. If you suffer from bunions, corns, hammertoes or other foot problems, consult a podiatrist before buying shoes.

Foot Care
  • Wash your feet thoroughly every day and ensure that they are properly dried.
  • Check your feet daily for any signs of calluses, blisters or soreness. If you do find anything, apply petroleum jelly to the affected area and also dust some talcum powder on the feet before putting on socks. If the condition does not improve, consult a podiatrist.
  • Apply topical anti-fungal cream at the first sign of athlete’s foot or other such fungal infection. Itching and redness between the toes are common signs of this.
  • Wear thick absorbent socks when walking and change them after each use.
  • Cut your toenails regularly and shape them straight across the front of the toe.

When in doubt about a foot problem, however minor it may seem, consult a podiatrist. The longer you delay treatment, the longer the recovery and the longer you may be left without the pleasure and exercise that comes from walking.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Your Food & Your Feet

What you eat constitutes what you are. Right type of foods goes a long way in keeping you healthy. Surprisingly, your feet also demand the right intake to stay fit and fine.

Inflammation: Many foods can cause muscle and tissue inflammation in various parts of the body. In the feet, it often appears in the form of plantar fasciitis. This is a severe burning pain that is felt along the soles of the feet. It is caused by the thick band of tissue running along the bottom of the foot becoming inflamed. Your diet could be one of the major reasons for this ailment. Refined grains, junk foods, transfats in many baked foods, saturated fats found in red meats, the omega-6 fats present in many vegetable oils are some examples. Over consumption of sweets can increase blood sugar levels thus increasing the possibility of pain and inflammation. In addition, severe allergies to even common and otherwise healthy foods like wheat can trigger symptoms of pain and inflammation.

Prevention: There is no guarantee that inflammation of the feet, or other parts of the body will not occur. But controlling the intake of these foods can help to reduce the likelihood of it happening. In addition, an increase in the amount omega-3 fats can be effective. Fatty fish like salmon and fish oil supplements are excellent sources of omega-3. In addition to correcting the omega-3 and omega-6 imbalance, a general diet makeover can also help to reduce the problem of foot inflammation.  The basis of a balanced diet should be minimal intake of sugar and refined grains; and an increased intake of green vegetables.

Diabetes and Peripheral Artery Disease: Diabetes and peripheral artery disease can affect all parts of the body, but the feet are among the most vulnerable. Both these conditions affect the flow of the blood to the feet resulting in slow healing of injuries. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends a diet low in saturated fats, trans fats and sodium can help in reducing the risk of peripheral artery disease. Again, an increased intake of omega-3 can also help to lower the risk levels. In the case of diabetes, the NIH recommends a diet rich in whole grains, beans, lean meats, vegetables and fruits with a limited amount of fats and sweets.

Though diet control can prevent inflamed and /or painful feet, the best thing to do is to go to a podiatrist.