human foot has been called the mirror of health. Foot doctors,
or doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs), are often the first doctors
to see signs of such systemic conditions as diabetes, arthritis,
and circulatory disease in the foot. Among these signs are dry
skin, brittle nails, burning and tingling sensations, feelings
of cold, numbness, and discoloration. Always seek professional
care when these signs appear.
Problems Can Be Prevented
For reasons that are difficult to fathom, many people, including
a lot of older people, believe that it is normal for the feet
to hurt, and simply resign themselves to enduring foot problems
that could be treated. There are more than 300 different foot
ailments. Some can be traced to heredity, but for an aging population,
most of these ailments stem from the cumulative effect of years
of neglect or abuse. However, even among people in their retirement
years, many foot problems can be treated successfully, and the
pain of foot ailments relieved.
due to neglect or abuse, the normal wear and tear of the years
causes changes in feet. As persons age, their feet tend to spread,
and lose the fatty pads that cushion the bottom of the feet. Additional
weight can affect the bone and ligament structure. Older people,
consequently, should have their feet measured for shoe sizes more
frequently, rather than presuming that their shoe sizes remain
constant. Dry skin and brittle nails are other conditions older
people commonly face. Finally, it's a fact that women, young and
old, have four times as many foot problems as men, and high heels
are often the culprits.
preventive foot health care has many benefits. Chief among them
are that it can increase comfort, limit the possibility of additional
medical problems, reduce the chances of hospitalization because
of infection, and lessen requirements for other institutional
fitted shoes are essential; an astonishing number of people
wear shoes that don't fit right, and cause serious foot problems.
shoe with a firm sole and soft upper is best for daily activities.
for shoes in the afternoon; feet tend to swell during the
is the best exercise for your feet.
or stockings should be of the correct size and preferably
free of seams.
not wear constricting garters or tie your stockings in knots.
cut corns and calluses with a razor, pocket knife, or other
such instrument; use over-the-counter foot products only with
the advice of a podiatrist.
your feet daily in lukewarm (not hot) water, using a mild
soap, preferably one containing moisturizers, or use a moisturizer
the water temperature with your hand.
or file your toenails straight across.
your feet every day or have someone do this for you. If you
notice any redness, swelling, cracks in the skin, or sores,
consult your podiatrist.