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Look down at your feet touching the ground. They are supporting the weight and absorbing the impact of your entire body with every single step you take.
With the immense pressure your feet carry every day, it is imperative you treat them well by giving them the best care possible, and that means more than getting a pedicure. Your feet need to support you in your everyday life.
To help make that happen, Salt Lake Regional Medical Center brings you five ways to treat yo’ feet.
1. Cut back on high heels
Your grandma might have told you, “The higher the heel, the shapelier the leg,” and passed that notion to your mother. While her legs may have looked superb, her feet are now riddled with bunions and arthritis. Today, she goes out wearing beige corrective shoes.
Not only does wearing high heels regularly strain your feet, a Harvard study found wearing two-inch heels puts 23 percent more strain on your inner knee than wearing flats. It isn’t just women wearing high heels. Much of today’s active footwear, particularly running shoes, have a high heel-toe drop and pointed toes that can also put the same strain on feet and joints.
2. Choose footwear wisely
“The most important thing that you need to do is find a shoe that is comfortable, and that sometimes flies in the face of fashion,” said Dr. Joshua Hunter, a foot and ankle specialist at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center. “If they’re uncomfortable to you in the store, they’re never going to get comfortable later. You need to find something that will provide you the support that you need for the activities you need to accomplish during the day without pain and discomfort.”
3. Let those piggies free
Sometimes keeping your feet as healthy as possible means letting them do what they were made to do. Your foot is made up of supportive, yet limber, bones and joints. Your ankle rolls around to help you move from side to side, jump up and down, and walk forward and backward. Even the pads of your feet are such that you can land softly when walking or jumping. They build calluses to withstand hard ground.
You don’t have to be a barefoot runner to enjoy the benefits of being barefoot. Just taking your shoes off and walking around your house, or wearing minimal sandals if you don’t want to get your feet dirty, can do a lot for your foot health — including airing out those stinky things once in awhile.
4. Exercise and movement
Often, stiff muscles and joints are a result of a sedentary lifestyle. Sometimes painful things happen because of injury. Either way, one of the best things to do is to exercise.
Dr. Hunter sees many patients, particularly athletes who have rolled an ankle or suffer from conditions such as plantar fasciitis, and says movement is critical to the healing process.
“Movement is really good to help build good muscles,” he said. “Stretching is good, especially in the cases of plantar fasciitis. Ankle injuries will often require physical therapy through the use of band exercises to help strengthen the muscles around the ankle. This will help prevent your ankles from continually rolling and re-injuring.”
5. Seek professional help
When foot and ankle pain is severe, seek advice and care from a professional.
Whether you need an orthotic to provide arch support, physical therapy to strengthen muscles, help with joint pain related to diabetes, or surgery, licensed and trained professionals, like those at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, can help.
With care, your feet will support you throughout your life.