Start 2014 on the Right Foot with These New Year’s Resolutions for Better Foot Health
Posted by Jenn F. on Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
January is a busy month at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York. And, apparently, it’s a busy month for foot specialists across the country, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. The New Year brings a fresh start and a plethora of health-related resolutions. However, many people rush into a new workout regimen, without taking the proper precautions to protect their feet — which often bear the brunt of the increased load. So we have a few helpful New Year’s Resolutions for your feet to keep you healthy and happy well into 2014.
New Year’s Resolution: Choose the Right Footwear
Nine out of 10 fitness amateurs reach into their closets and pull out their old, trusty athletic trainers to start a new workout routine — be it a jog around the block, 45 minutes on the gym’s elliptical machine, or a new Zumba class. However, wearing shoes with wanton abandon is a set up for plantar fasciitis (heel pain), aching arches, and pinched nerves.
Far too many sneakers on the market fail to support the arch and cushion the heel, so it’s wise to speak with a podiatrist or sales professional about finding the right type of shoe for the activity you’ll be doing most. If you plan to spend a lot of time on your feet, consider orthotics or insoles that can add more protection to any shoe you own.
It’s best to shop for the right fit at the end of the day, when your feet are most swollen, and aim to leave about an inch between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. It can be confusing to know if your shoes fit just right or not, but Road Runner Sports has a great rundown of shoe fit tips to guide you. In addition to choosing the right shoes, be sure to get non-slip, sweat-wicking socks that will keep your feet dry and prevent corns, calluses, or blisters.
New Year’s Resolution: Start Smart
Mentally, you may feel ready to go out and run five miles today. Physically, you might be able to pull it off — but not without opening yourself up to injury, especially if you continue to progress at this break-neck pace. Your body tissues have adapted to the sedentary life you’ve been leading, so any change in activity will cause your tissues to overstretch.
Injuries usually occur during exercise because you:
– Perform too many repetitions in too short a time span
– Exercise for too long in one session
– Lift too much weight
– Wear old shoes, or
– Leave no time for rest and recovery.
Giving yourself rest time in between workouts and gradually increasing the duration and intensity of exercise will ensure that your ligaments, tendons, and muscles can strengthen and heal.
New Year’s Resolution: Prevent Foot Fungus
Athlete’s foot, plantar’s warts, and toenail fungus are often picked up from public showers, locker rooms and pool decks. To protect yourself, make sure you never walk barefoot in public areas. Water shoes or sandals generally provide adequate protection from fungus, viruses, and bacteria.
Also, keep in mind that sweaty shoes easily become a breeding ground for microbes. Podiatrists recommend alternating between two pairs of athletic shoes to allow for adequate drying time. You can also zap pathogens with the UV light of a shoe sanitizer.
Our feet are regularly teeming with bacteria, of course. It only really becomes a problem for us when the harmful strains of bacteria and fungus are given a portal into the body — through a crack in the skin, a callus, a corn, an ingrown toenail, a damaged cuticle, or a blister, for example. If you notice any skin aberrations, be sure to cover them with a Band-aid and treat them with something like Neosporin to keep the area protected. Don’t hesitate to book an appointment with a NY podiatrist if your wound doesn’t seem to be healing as it should.
New Year’s Resolution: Get My Feet Assessed
Over 50% of Americans will suffer heel pain in their lifetime, according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Even more Americans will encounter arch pain, nerve injuries, deformities, arthritis in the foot, and ankle instability. This can be the year you make a resolution to take better care of your feet, which will set you up for many more years of being healthy and happy.
A foot exam is crucial in setting you on the right path. Our New York podiatrists can conduct a thorough examination to look for natural nuances in your foot structure that could cause pain and disability later in life. We’ll also see that your feet are free from calluses, corns, warts, and nail fungus. We’ll take a look at your shoes and give you a professional opinion, and we have gait assessment equipment to see that your feet do not cause pain in your knees and back. See you in 2014!
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.