Foot Care by Group
There are some foot care tips and recommendations that are helpful for everyone. However, some specific groups of people tend to have generalized sets of foot problems. You should follow the foot care tips and recommendations that meet your needs and lifestyle.
Learn more about proper foot care based on your needs:
Foot Care for Athletes
Because jumping and running takes a toll on your feet, proper foot care is especially important for athletes. Athletes often suffer from injuries caused by repetitive motion, overuse of the joints, and recurring stress on the bones. They are also more prone to fungal infections. Fortunately, with proper foot care, many of these conditions can be prevented.
Foot ailments for athletes
Athletes may suffer from a variety of foot ailments including:
- Achilles tendonitis (inflammation of the Achilles tendon).
- Bursitis (inflammation of a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between a tendon and a bone).
- Fungal infections.
- Metatarsalgia (pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot).
- Plantar fasciitis (inflammation of tissue on the bottom of the foot that connects the heel to the toes).
- Sesamoiditis (irritation or fracture of the tiny bones near the big toe joint).
- Stress fractures (small cracks in a bone).
Foot care for athletes – tips and recommendations
Prevention guidelines and foot-care tips vary based on the type of injury or condition.
Blister, Corn, and Callus Prevention
It is important for athletes to take care of their feet in order to prevent injuries. Sores on your feet often develop as a result of wearing shoes that don’t fit properly or rub against the skin. Some precautions that can be taken to avoid blisters, corns, and calluses include:
- Keeping your feet clean and dry.
- Using lotion to soften your skin and prevent cracking.
- Wearing shoes that are comfortable and fit properly so they don’t rub or irritate the skin.
Tendon, ligament, and bone injury prevention
Steps can also be taken to prevent tendon, ligament, and bone injuries such as sesamoiditis, bursitis, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and metatarsalgia. These include:
- Avoiding an activity or particular movement that causes pain.
- Gradually increasing the intensity and/or duration of workouts.
- Stretching before and after every workout to help loosen muscles and tendons.
- Taking it easy if an injury starts to occur and allowing it time to heal.
- Using insoles, arch supports, or heel pads to provide additional support and cushion. This is especially important for those with high arches or flat feet who are more susceptible to injury.
Fungal infection prevention
Fungal infections are common among athletes since damp or sweaty feet provide an ideal environment for fungus to grow. Some precautions that can be taken to prevent fungal infections include:
- Changing socks throughout the day, if your feet sweat, in order to help keep them dry.
- Drying your feet well, especially between the toes, after showering.
- Wearing shower shoes in public showers.
- Wearing socks made of a breathable fabric such as cotton.
If you suffer a foot injury and experience pain or inflammation, it is important to consult a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Foot Care for Children
Properly caring for the feet during childhood can help prevent foot problems in adulthood. It is important to take good care of a child's feet because they are in a critical stage of development when bone deformities first become apparent and injuries to the growth plate are more likely to occur.
Children may suffer from foot conditions that are inherited or caused by trauma or ill-fitting shoes. Fortunately, many common foot ailments in children can be prevented, and more serious conditions, such as bone deformities, can be corrected with proper treatment.
Foot ailments in children
Children may suffer from the following foot conditions:
- Club foot (short tendons cause the foot to bend downward and inward).
- Flat Feet.
- Freiberg’s disease (injury to the growth plate that causes pain in the ball of the foot).
- Gordon’s Syndrome (toe joints are fixed in a flexed position).
- High arches.
- Kohler’s disease (bone disorder due to loss of blood supply).
- Osteochondroma (benign growth that forms at the end of the toes).
- Sever’s disease (injury to the growth plate that causes heel pain).
Foot care for children – tips and recommendations
Foot problems that begin during childhood can often be treated to prevent more serious conditions in adulthood.
Wearing shoes that do not fit properly can cause blisters and structural problems, such as curling of the toes or a high arch. These make a child more susceptible to foot injuries later in life, therefore it is extremely important for children to wear shoes that fit properly and have a little growing room. Typically, shoes must be replaced every few months. Children who have flat feet or high arches may benefit from insoles or arch supports that keep the foot properly aligned. Stretching exercises are also important to help loosen the muscles and tendons; this can prevent injury and may be beneficial in correcting a deformity in which the tendons are too tight.
Regular foot health checks
Children may not realize or be able to express when they have a foot ailment, so it is important to keep an eye out for any abnormalities or symptoms such as blisters or limping. All foot conditions should be addressed as soon as possible.
If a child has a foot deformity or is experiencing foot pain, it is important to seek treatment from a medical professional as soon as possible. If left untreated, the condition may lead to further problems down the road.
Foot Care for Diabetics
If you are suffering from diabetes, you need to take particularly good care of your feet in order to prevent injuries and infections. Diabetics often suffer from nerve damage that can cause numbness in the feet. When the feet are numb, injuries are more likely to go unnoticed. Diabetics also commonly suffer from poor circulation, which slows healing and increases the risk of infection. Combined, nerve damage and poor circulation can lead to more serious conditions. In fact, diabetics have the highest risk of amputation.
Fortunately, there are precautions that can be taken to prevent injuries. And if an injury does occur, prompt treatment can help ensure that more serious conditions are avoided.
Foot ailments affecting diabetics
Diabetics may suffer from foot ailments including:
- Foot ulcers.
- Numbness due to nerve damage.
- Poor circulation.
Tips for diabetics
Keeping diabetes under control can help prevent poor circulation and nerve damage, which is often the cause of more serious foot conditions. If you already have poor circulation and nerve damage as a result of diabetes, there are steps that can be taken to prevent foot ailments.
The first step is to set aside time daily to check your feet for cuts or sores. If any sores are found they should be treated right away to prevent infection. If the wound does not heal or begins to look infected, it is important to seek medical treatment to prevent a more serious condition.
Other preventative measures include:
- Keeping the toe nails trimmed so they do not cut the skin.
- Moisturizing your feet every day to prevent dry, cracked skin.
- Not smoking, as smoking can harden the arteries; this only adds to the problem of poor circulation and slows healing.
- Raising your feet when sitting so they are even with the hips, as this can help to improve circulation.
- Staying active by doing light exercise, such as walking, every day to increase circulation.
- Testing bath water before stepping in to avoid burning your feet.
- Using a pumice stone to remove dry skin and smooth calluses.
- Washing your feet in warm water every day and being sure to dry them completely, especially between the toes.
- Wearing comfortable shoes in order to prevent blisters and sores on your feet.
- Wearing socks and shoes at all times to protect your feet and prevent cuts.
As a diabetic, it is important to pay attention to the health of your feet. If you have any questions about proper foot health and maintenance as a diabetic, please contact your doctor for guidance.
Foot Care for Everyone
With 26 bones each, your feet contain a quarter of all of the bones in your body. Each foot also has 33 joints and more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments. All of these pieces have to work together so your foot functions properly and has the added task of bearing the weight of your entire body.
It's not surprising that your feet are susceptible to numerous injuries and conditions. However, with proper foot care, you can reduce your risk of foot problems.
No matter what your activity level is, there are various foot problems that can affect anyone. These problems include:
- Broken bones and stress fractures.
- Bunions, corns, and calluses.
- Diseases including arthritis, cancer, gout, and diabetes.
- Dry skin.
- Foot deformities, including flat feet, hammertoes, and club foot.
- Fungal and bacterial conditions including athlete's foot and toenail fungus.
- Ingrown toenails.
- Sprains and strains.
Foot care tips and recommendations
Here are some general foot care tips and recommendations that can help you maintain healthy feet.
Use Proper Footwear
It is very important for you to use proper footwear. Here are some important tips when it comes to selecting shoes:
- Alternate your footwear. Do not wear the same pair of shoes every day. It is better for your feet if you wear a different pair of shoes on alternating days.
- Purchase shoes by the way they fit, not by the size number. Not only can your feet change sizes throughout your lifetime, but also some styles of shoes may fit differently on your feet and require a different size. Also, try on shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are most swollen. Be sure to purchase a shoe that has adequate room in the toe box.
- Replace worn shoes as soon as possible. As your shoes get worn, you lose the proper fit and support. This can lead to various foot problems.
- Wear the proper shoe for your activity. You wouldn't wear high heels to play basketball, would you? It is important for you to wear the right shoe for the activity that you are doing. For example, if you plan to go running, wear running shoes. If you are going to play soccer, wear a pair of cleats.
Maintain good foot hygiene
Although it may seem like common sense, it is important to wash your feet regularly. Also be sure to thoroughly dry your feet, especially between your toes to reduce the risk of fungal infections. Keeping your feet clean will reduce the risk of infection and help you notice new cuts, bruising, swelling, discoloration, or any other signs of injury or infection.
You also need to make sure that you trim your toenails. The nails should be cut straight across. Be sure to not cut the corners or sides of your nails, as this can lead to ingrown toenails.
Don't ignore foot pain
Although it might seem normal for your feet to ache after a long day, you should not ignore foot pain. Experiencing pain in your feet (namely pain that does not subside over time) may be a sign that something is wrong. Be sure to visit your doctor if you are suffering from pain or discomfort in your feet.
Be cautious about home care
If you suffer from diabetes, poor circulation, or heart problems have someone else tend to your foot care, preferably a medical professional, since you may be prone to infection.
Also, if you have a foot condition or injury, you should speak with your doctor before treating the condition by yourself. In some cases, self-administered treatments without the guidance of a medical professional can actually turn a minor problem into a major issue.
For additional foot care tips, or to determine the cause and treatment for foot pain, visit a skilled podiatrist.
Foot Care for Seniors
If you are experiencing foot problems during your golden years, you are not alone. Studies suggest that three out of four people develop serious podiatric problems as they age.
As seniors, many experience decreased circulation and sensation in the limbs, muscle and joint changes, diminished flexibility, and other changes that can contribute to senior podiatric conditions.
Foot problems can also increase the risk of falls, injury, and certain diseases, since healthy feet are necessary for proper balance, adequate physical activity, and personal independence. Although seniors face unique challenges in keeping their feet healthy, these challenges are not insurmountable. With proper self-care and treatment by a skilled podiatrist, seniors can keep their feet fit and functional.
Common foot ailments among seniors
The following foot ailments are common among seniors:
- Disease-related podiatric problems (i.e. foot problems associated with diabetes, arthritis, nerve damage, and poor circulation).
- Dry, cracked skin (leads to sores, infections, and other problems).
- Fractures and sprains.
- Swelling of the feet and legs (edema).
Foot care for seniors – tips and recommendations
By adhering to the following guidelines, you can maintain foot health and prevent many podiatric problems:
- Check your feet daily for blisters, corns, bruises, sores, infections, and other problems. Don’t wait until your feet hurt to obtain treatment.
- Exercise daily (with your doctor’s permission).
- Keep your toenails clipped.
- Maintain proper circulation; prop your feet when sitting or lying down, stretch regularly, avoid crossing your legs while sitting, and refrain from smoking and other activities that hamper circulation.
- Treat underlying conditions (e.g. diabetes, arthritis, etc…).
- Wash your feet daily, exfoliate, and moisturize dry feet. Apply talcum powder to absorb extra sweat.
- Wear comfortable, supportive shoes and socks daily.
Contact your doctor if you notice any of the following:
- Changes in skin color or shape of your foot.
- Coldness, cramping, numbness, tingling, or discomfort.
- Decreased foot sensitivity.
- Sores on your feet that become infected or don’t heal.
To learn more about taking care of your feet during your senior years, or to obtain treatment for a foot condition, contact an experienced podiatrist today. Your doctor can provide the treatment you need.
Foot Care for Women
In addition to the podiatric issues that affect people regardless of gender (e.g. common foot injuries, skin problems, etc.), women face a number of unique podiatric issues. Pregnancy-related foot problems as well as problems caused by wearing unsupportive footwear can be a barrier to optimal foot health and functionality for women. Fortunately, lifestyle and pregnancy-related foot problems need not permanently affect a woman’s podiatric health. With appropriate lifestyle adjustments and the help of a skilled podiatrist, women can maintain the fitness and functionality of their feet.
Common foot ailments for women
There are various causes for foot problems in women. Many of the root problems can foster numerous foot ailments. Highlighted below are some of the most common ones seen in women.
Foot problems caused by wearing unsupportive footwear
Unsupportive footwear can cause numerous foot ailments, including:
- Ball-of-foot pain (metatarsalgia).
- Foot and ankle sprains and fractures.
- Inflammation and swelling.
- Nerve damage.
Foot problems caused by pregnancy
Pregnancy can cause various foot problems, including:
- Changes in the arch and foot size: caused by hormone fluctuation during pregnancy.
- Heel pain (plantar fasciitis): caused by weight gain during pregnancy.
- Swelling (edema) of the feet and ankles: caused by increased blood volume during pregnancy.
- Toenail changes (e.g. brittleness, ridges, discoloration): caused by increased blood circulation and hormone levels during pregnancy.
- Varicose veins: caused by changes in the blood vessels during pregnancy.
Foot care for women – tips and recommendations
By adhering to the following guidelines, you can minimize foot problems and keep your feet healthy:
- Keep the toenails trimmed.
- Obtain treatment at the first sign of a problem.
- Wear comfortable, supportive shoes and socks every day.
- During pregnancy:
- Avoid standing and walking for long periods of time.
- Change your shoe size as necessary.
- Stay hydrated and limit salt intake.
- Maintain proper nutrition.
- Go swimming or take a bath to reduce swelling.
- Rest on your left side.
Contact your doctor if you would like more information on how to maintain your feet health or if you need treatment for a foot problem. Your doctor can provide the treatment necessary to improve your podiatric fitness and functionality.
Foot Care for Workers on Their Feet
Many jobs require people to be on their feet for several hours each day. Hairdressers, retailers, nurses, and factory workers are among those who spend all day on their feet.
Standing or walking for extended periods of time puts excessive pressure on your feet and can cause foot ailments ranging from blisters to bunions. Over time, pressure on your feet can also cause back and leg pain as a result of poor posture. Fortunately, by wearing comfortable shoes, stretching regularly, and making sure your feet have proper support, many of these ailments can be prevented.
Foot ailments affecting workers on their feet
If you spend hours every day on your feet, you may suffer from foot ailments including:
- Achy feet.
- Flat foot.
- Fungal infections.
- High arches.
- Plantar fasciitis.
- Sweaty feet.
- Toe malformation.
Recommendations for workers on their feet
There are a few recommendations that can help ease the stress on your feet if you spend your day standing or running around.
If you spend hours at a time on your feet, it is especially important to wear comfortable shoes. Shoes shouldn’t rub or fit too tightly as this may cause blisters, corns, or calluses to form. Shoes should also allow plenty of room for your toes to move. Shoes that squeeze your toes together can cause loss of balance in the toe muscles which can result in an unnatural bending of your toes.
Wearing high heels all day should be avoided, as heels put more pressure on the ball of your foot. This can cause foot pain and may lead to the formation of bunions. If you must wear high heels, try to wear them only for a few hours at a time and switch into a pair of flats halfway through the day.
Where you stand
Standing or walking on a shock absorbent surface such as carpet, is preferable to a hard surface such as cement, and can reduce foot fatigue. Stretching your feet can also relieve foot pain, fatigue, and can help prevent injuries.
Utilizing proper support
Keeping your feet properly aligned and supported can reduce foot fatigue. Orthotic inserts can provide your feet with necessary support and act as shock absorbers, which is especially important if you walk or stand on hard surfaces. They can also help control movement of your feet which can improve posture. Arch supports are also beneficial if you suffer from over pronation or flat feet. Providing support to the arch can help prevent conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
Proper sock selection
Sweaty feet can be uncomfortable and makes you more susceptible to fungal infections. Wearing socks made of a breathable material such as cotton, and changing socks throughout the day can help keep your feet dry. If the skin becomes cracked from standing for extended lengths of time, moisturizing your feet can help keep the skin soft and smooth.
To learn more about foot ailments or how to treat conditions that affect workers who spend several hours a day on their feet, contact your doctor.
If you suffer from foot pain or a specific podiatric condition, be sure to speak with your doctor to determine the best treatment for you.