Many people have on-the-go feet. From the moment they touch the ground in the morning until they find rest at night, those feet endure quite a workout. Covered with socks and shoes, striking the pavement for thousands of steps daily, their feet never stop working. Because so much stress is placed on those hardworking, active feet, it’s important to take care of them.
The Importance of Caring for Active Feet in the Magic Valley
Your foot is a complex mechanical marvel composed of 26 intricate bones, 30 joints, and an interconnected network of over 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments—that all work together. An average person takes approximately 5,000 steps every day, and the structure of your foot supports three to six times your body weight. If you gain just one pound, that weight will add 10 extra pounds of pressure on your feet and ankles. Thus, it’s important to take care of your feet because foot health can impact many areas of your life.
Your Quality of Life
Your feet are the foundation of your body, and their health and comfort have a profound impact on your overall quality of life. By proactively caring for your feet, you can help avoid unnecessary discomfort, maintain mobility, and continue enjoying your on-the-go lifestyle.
Your Susceptibility to Injuries
Regardless of your fitness routine—whether you enjoy gym sessions, home workouts, or participating in competitive sports—being physically active always carries a risk of injury. Taking care of your feet can help spare you from preventable foot and ankle injuries. Potential injuries you could suffer include:
- Muscle tears
- Stress fractures
- Shin splints
How to Care for Active Feet: Follow These Simple Tips
While being active significantly enhances your overall health, physical activity can take its toll on your feet. When you consider the stress that’s placed on your feet by walking, running, standing, and exercising, it’s easy to understand why nearly 80% of people will experience foot pain or a foot-related problem during their lifetime. However, it is possible to keep active feet happy and healthy by following a few easy tips.
Make Sure You Have the Right Shoe
- Be sure your shoe is the right size. You should have a thumb’s length of room from the tip of the shoe to your big toe. If a shoe is too big, it can cause your foot to slide around. If your shoe is too small, it can lead to blisters, bruises, hammer toes, bunions, and other foot deformities.
- Be sure your shoe is the right type. There are many choices when it comes to shoes. Running, walking, and cross-training shoes all serve different purposes and support your feet differently. Wearing a shoe that will give you the best cushion and support for your activity is important.
Replace Worn-Out Shoes
Don't wait until your shoes start showing visible signs of wear to replace them. For athletes or those who walk or jog regularly, it's advised to replace your footwear every 3 to 6 months or after covering a distance of 300 to 500 miles. If you wait too long, you may notice pain in your feet and legs that you didn't have before.
Wear the Right Socks
Not all socks are created equal. A good pair of socks should not be too loose or too tight. If your socks don't fit correctly, they can bunch up and create hot spots. Socks made from a synthetic combination or a cotton blend can help wick away sweat. A sweaty foot can become a breeding ground for fungal infections, such as athlete's foot.
Trim Your Toenails
Trimming your toenails is an important part of caring for active feet. It can save you from irritating and painful nail problems such as:
Stretch Your Feet
It might be hard to believe that just a few minutes of stretching could make a difference in the health of your feet. But the benefits can be significant. Some of the benefits of stretching can include:
- Improved posture. Improving your posture can help eliminate back pain, enhance training form, and help you get more out of your exercise.
- Improved balance. Improved balance can help older adults who are at a greater risk of falls reduce the risk of injury. It can also provide greater control when exercising, and it helps athletes with better reaction time and agility.
- Improved relaxation and stress relief. Tight muscles mean tension—both physical and mental tension. Stretching gets the blood flowing to your sore muscles and your brain. That could mean less stress, a better mood, better sleep, and reduced physical discomfort.
Pay Attention to Pain or Swelling
It is important to never ignore foot pain or swelling in the foot. Persistent foot and toe pain can indicate injury, irritation, or illness. Untreated foot pain and swelling can have serious consequences, and it could stop you from enjoying an active lifestyle.
How an Idaho Podiatrist Can Help
We deal with a wide variety of foot, ankle, and toenail issues at Canyon Foot + Ankle. If you're dealing with a foot or an ankle issue that makes it difficult to do what you love, an experienced Magic Valley podiatrist can help you by:
- Determining the cause of your problem
- Developing a plan to help you get back on your feet
- Working with you in a state-of-the-art care center close to your home