Feet play a much larger role in your movement other than just being the point of contact between your body and the ground. Structurally, they are complex and provide your body with increased efficiency in your movements while assisting with weight distribution and allowing for proper alignment of your skeletal system.
The health of your feet is paramount to keeping you active and independent so that you can continue to set and meet your fitness goals. Having a basic understanding of some common issues and simple ways to deal with them could help you to recognize and react before a small problem starts limiting your mobility.
Foot Issues and Dealing with Them
There are a number of different foot issues that you may experience throughout your life. Taking action to deal with them could mean the difference between a simple ache or pain becoming a long-lasting issue. Issues such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, and ingrown toenails can arise if you neglect the health of your feet. There are also diseases which can present symptoms in your feet.
Recognizing these signs could potentially allow you to seek medical advice and treatment before you are dealing with a serious health condition which may be affecting other parts of your body. Caring for your feet can be simple if you:
- Check your feet regularly for any changes, broken skin, bumps, etc.
- Wear shoes that fit comfortably with a roomy toe box and good arch support
- Wash your feet regularly with warm water and soap and moisturize with a hydrating lotion
- Trim your nails on a regular basis, straight across avoiding cutting them too short or at a curve
Orthotics can be useful tools when dealing with issues such as bunions or plantar fasciitis. You may find that the added support and stabilization provided by these types of aids can assist with alignment issues and abnormal pressure or movement. Toe separators for bunions, for example, can help to relieve undue pressure and keep your big toe in a more natural position. Custom-designed shoes can also provide your toes with space they need to avoid additional damage to the joint. And insoles can offer additional cushioning to help with plantar fasciitis.
Some signs of diseases that you may want to watch out for include:
- Loss of hair on your toes – This can be an indicator of poor circulation possibly arising from PAD or peripheral arterial disease. If left undiagnosed and/or treated PAD can lead to some pretty serious health problems including a possible heart attack or stroke.
- Numbness in your feet – This can also develop as a sign of PAD. However, it could also result from peripheral neuropathy in relation to diabetes type 2. Diabetes can compromise the blood flow to your feet. This may also mean that cuts or other wounds could take longer to heal which could leave you vulnerable to infection.
- Lines or black spots in your toenails – If you notice a discoloration under your toenail such as dark lines, this could be an indicator of melanoma.
Taking notice of these types of signs will only be more likely if you are actually taking the time to examine your feet regularly. It is always a best practice to talk with your doctor if you are experiencing abnormal sensations in your feet. This could not only help you avoid any injury or illness that directly affects them, but also could signal your doctor to look into more pressing issues.