Dennis Frisch has heard that question often and his response is simple, "Foot pain isn't normal, and yet people put up with it." Considering that Dr. Frisch is a DPM and also a spokesman for the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association), it stands to reason that he knows his subject matter.
According to a recent APMA survey, 8 out of 10 people had reported at least one foot ailment in the past year. While half of those surveyed complained of heel pain, many others reported issues ranging from ingrown toenails and corns to actual toe injuries, including fractures.
So let's pose another question.
What's causing all of this pain?
1. Shoes - All too often we buy shoes based on style and price. We need to think beyond those factors. Always buy shoes at the end of the day when feet tend to be more swollen. This prevents that "too tight" feel and crowding of the toes. Think about any areas that are of concern to you. Some people overpronate (roll the foot inward as they walk), and others have low or high arches.
If you think orthotic insoles will solve all of your problems, think again. Most orthotics will give you relief but if you're putting them into lower quality shoes, then that relief will be short lived. Also keep in mind that as we age our feet tend to widen and get longer. This happens because the tendons in the feet loosen causing our shoe size to change. With that in mind, always make sure to measure your feet when buying new shoes.
Luckily today's shoes are extremely advanced and, with a little effort, you can find a pair that works well for those aching feet!
2. Foot Care - As much as we use our feet, hygiene is often overlooked. We (well most of us) make sure our feet are washed daily but for many that's as far as it goes. Pedicures are a splurge to some but can be extremely beneficial to your overall foot health. You can give yourself a pedi in the comfort of your own home or treat yourself to a salon visit. (Note: if you use a salon, ALWAYS bring your own tools!! They can be purchased in most beauty stores.)
No matter where you have your pedi always make sure that the toenails are cut straight across to avoid ingrown nails. Check your feet often for signs of dry skin. Bacteria love dry skin because it leads to cracking...which makes you vulnerable to an infection!
3. Safety - This goes back to shoes. Foot safety requires us to be aware of our environment. When outdoors in cold, wet weather, the proper shoes are essential to keeping the foot warm and dry. On the other hand, or foot, if you find yourself working outdoors in the heat, you need to wear socks and shoes that allow for some airflow. If your feet can't "breathe", they begin to sweat which can cause painful rubbing and blisters.
Also avoid going barefoot. Feeling the grass beneath your feet is a wonderful thing; until you get a fungal infection or cut your foot on a piece of glass!
If you have a job that requires working around machinery, you need to wear protective shoes usually with a steel toe. As discussed earlier, the proper shoes can make a world of difference.
Let's say you've found the perfect pair of shoes for you. Now you need some protection as well.
OSHATOES (http://www.oshatoes.com/) are designed to fit over your beloved shoes providing safety as well as comfort. And as the name implies, they meet OSHA's standards. These are a great alternative when you find yourself in need to a steel toe shoe!
If you've found a great pair of shoes, are performing daily foot care and safety and your "dogs" are still barking then don't hesitate any longer; get yourself to a podiatrist right away!