Taking Care of Your Feet

Question: What do foot doctors do when they get stranded by the side of the road?

Answer: They call a toe truck.

OK, I’m sorry. That was pretty bad. You’ll have to excuse me because I have feet on the mind these days.

During National Foot Health Awareness Month – which I’m sure all of you know is April (chuckle) – I became aware that about 20 percent of Americans have at least one foot problem per year. That’s according to the American Podiatric Medical Association.

The average person walks or runs 115,000 miles over the course of a lifetime, so taking care of one’s feet is a pretty good idea. Here are 10 ways you can do that:

  1. Wear shoes that give you good support with a low heel. Your toes shouldn’t be squeezed too tightly together.
  2. The inside of shoes wears out over time, which means less support. Replace your walking shoes every six months or so.
  3. Dry your feet and between your toes thoroughly after bathing to avoid fungal infections. Then moisturize your feet and heels with a natural lotion.
  4. Before exercising, stretch your feet, ankles and lower legs. That will help keep those small but important muscles strong.
  5. Have your feet measured periodically to make sure you’re wearing the right size shoes. Your feet can get flatter, wider and even longer as you age.
  6. Inspect your feet regularly by using a mirror, looking for cracks or dry skin. Diabetics in particular are prone to infections, so watch for non-healing wounds.
  7. Another thing for diabetics – have your feet inspected by a podiatrist at least once a year. A podiatrist might spot something that a general doctor won’t.
  8. Keep a healthy weight for your height, which you can try to accomplish through diet, walking and other exercise.
  9. Skin cancer can go unnoticed on this area of your body, so apply sunscreen on your feet and ankles, and between your toes, if they are exposed to the sun.
  10. Avoid going barefoot in public places. You could suffer cuts on your feet or be exposed to foot fungus.
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