Most of us don’t think about our feet often, but they are actually pretty amazing. Your feet contain one quarter of all your bones, with 33 joints, 26 bones, 19 muscles and 107 ligaments in each foot. And every time we use our feet, we are asking them to provide us with support and balance, whether we are standing, walking, running or jumping.
Since most of us take between 5,000 and 10,000 steps every day, it’s easy to see why our feet are so prone to illness and injury!
Nearly half of us will experience some type of foot pain in our lives and we need to understand that foot pain is not normal and can be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition.
Foot pain can be relatively simple to diagnose, often caused by an ingrowing toenail, from wearing ill-fitting shoes or cutting our nails incorrectly or from simply having a long day standing and walking.
Other times foot pain can be much more complex, associated with poor circulation and diabetes, as well as more serious issues.
Our feet are excellent indicators of our overall health and keeping a regular eye on them can help us spot the early signs of underlying issues. For example:
- Swollen, sore feet – can be a sign of heart or kidney problems
- Lines on your toenails plus the shape of nails – can indicate a vitamin deficiency, as well as some forms of skin cancer
- Loss of hair on toes – can be related to poor circulation
- Swollen joints – may be due to arthritis, injury, gout or bunions
Foot Health – Tips to Keep your Feet Healthy
As our feet tell us so much about our overall health, it’s vital to both look after them every day and to have them examined regularly as part of a healthcare routine.
- Look at your feet every day, especially in winter months when they are usually hidden in socks.
- Keep your feet clean and dry
- Trim your toenails – straight across to avoid ingrown nails. Nails should not extend over the tip of the toe
- If you wear nail varnish, examine your nails between applications to identify any changes in nail health
- As you get older, pay special attention to any loss of padding in your heels or balls of your feet or stiffness in your toes
- Ensure your shoes fit you properly and don’t pinch
- Make sure your footwear is appropriate to your activity. For example, trainers, running shoes and walking shoes all have very different properties.
- Give your feet proper support. Our podiatrists can help you understand what type of foot you have and what type of support you need.
Podiatry Health Checks
Checking your own feet should be enough for most people, but if you experience any of these problems regularly, you should make an appointment with a podiatrist. They will examine your feet thoroughly and let you know what treatment course to follow which could include specialist foot ointments and creams, orthotics and/or a referral to your own GP.
To make an appointment with an Amber Health Podiatrist, please call us on 01462 490141.