Mark Reed, DPM   714-528-3668         Melanie Reed, DPM   714-528-7777

Preventing Foot Problems

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Preventing Foot Problems

By becoming educated about different problems that occur in the foot combined with using a little common since, many foot problems can be prevented.  Most foot problems are caused by abuse and neglect.  The following list is intended as a guide to help prevent the most common foot problems.
Medical Visits:
Considering that your feet are not supposed to hurt during your lifetime, report any foot pain or discomfort to your Podiatrist if the problem appears to be progressive or you are unable to walk on the foot.
Newborns, Infants and Those Over 50:
 Children should have their feet checked by a Podiatrist if any problems with walking is observed such as frequent tripping or in toeing is noted early in life.  Many Pediatricians do not routinely evaluate the feet as part of a normal checkup.  If you are 50 years of age or older, you should have a foot examination to insure that any foot problem is anticipated and corrected prior to the problem affecting your ability to walk and / or run.
Exercise and Your Feet:
For exercise, walking is an excellent activity provided you do not have diabetes or a vascular problem with your feet.  Walking contributes to your general health by improving circulation, contributing to weight reduction and promoting all-around well-being.  In regards to sports, especially with children younger than 10 years of age, proper technique in all sports must be emphasized.  Because a cold muscle is prone to injury, warming up before participating in sports is important for all ages. 
Youth Sports:
 Specialization in sports, where only one sport is played year around, should be saved until the late teens when the growth plates are closing and the ligaments are stronger to prevent injury from overuse stress on the tissues. This has been supported in many studies.  
Buying Footwear:
Generally, avoid walking barefoot if you or your child is prone to being flat footed. By using a supportive shoe, this will help prevent the progression of acquired toe deformities such as bunions and hammertoes.  In performing sports, select motion control type athletic shoes.  Review the guides on woman's shoes and men's shoes in the Information Center for more information on shoe recommendations.  Shop for shoes in the afternoon when your feet tend to be their most swollen.  Have your feet measured every time you purchase shoes and always the fit while standing in the shoe.  Try shoes on both feet to insure the shoes fit.  Generally, high-hells over one and a half inches in height should be avoided.  The problem with high-heels, that are over one and a half inch in height, is due to the twisting in the forefoot that occurs that can accelerate bunions and hammertoes.  If you buy a new pair of shoes, try wearing the shoes for only half a day or an hour around the house prior to wearing the shoes for an entire day.  If the shoes cause the toes to hurt after a trial wear, return the shoes for a half size to full size larger in width.  Since corns and calluses are caused by friction from the shoe rubbing against the skin of the foot, sometimes having a shoe stretched can stop a callous or corn form forming.  Generally, shoes should be alternated each day to allow the shoe to completely dry out before it is re-used.  Because most athletic shoes come with a foam insole that is removable, the insole should be replaced with a sports pad.  The Dr. Scholl's sport gel pads are inexpensive and do an excellent job of absorbing ground pressures.  In trying on new shoes, if you find the width of the feet is increasing, an examination by a Podiatrist is indicated to help prevent the continued widening of the feet.
Toenail Tips:
Generally you can prevent ingrown toenails by trimming the nail straight across so the corners cannot push themselves into the skin.  Generally, the length of the toenail should be slightly longer than the tips of your toes. When obtaining pedicures, bring your own set of instruments with you and clean the instruments after each use to insure that you do not pick up an infection in the process of having a nail pedicure.
DISCLAIMER: MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS BEING PROVIDED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATION PURPOSES AND IS NOT MEANT TO REPLACE THE DIAGNOSIS OR CARE PROVIDED BY YOUR OWN MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease or prescribing any medication. Visit a health care professional to proceed with any treatment for a health problem.
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