4 Tips for a Lifetime of Continued Foot Care
The effects of even simple choices we make today can ripple far into the future. That is certainly no less true for foot and ankle care than many other parts of life.
It is easy (and very human) to think of health care as something that only enters the picture once a problem is discovered and needs to be addressed. But the best care you can provide yourself is committing to following healthy habits and addressing concerns before they have the chance to turn into problems that require more immediate treatment.
The team at Advanced Foot & Ankle Centers of Illinois are here to not only provide expert care when you need it, but to help you build plans to avoid future problems as well. Much of this does involve some personal effort, but most of it is easy.
Here are some helpful habits you can start today that can help you well into the future.
Check Over Your Feet Regularly
This advice is often provided to patients who live with diabetes – and it is a crucial element in their preventative care. But it is very good general advice for everyone else as well!
It is deceptively easy to overlook problems on the feet. They are the parts of us farthest from our eyes, after all, and tend to frequently be hidden away in socks and shoes.
The more regularly you check over your feet, then, the more likely you are to discover potential problems early – when they can be treated more easily and efficiently. Think of it like checking over your car now and then to make sure everything’s all right. It’s much better to do that than to experience a blowout on the freeway!
Prime opportunities to check over your feet are after a shower or just before bed, when your feet tend to be bare anyway. Look for abnormalities such as:
- Toenail damage or infection
If you see anything you have questions or concerns about, don’t be afraid to contact us right away. We’ll be happy to provide advice on the next steps you should take. In many cases, you may just need simple at-home care and to keep an eye on things, but anything that doesn’t improve after a day or two is something worth contacting us about.
Keep Your Feet Moisturized
Moisturizing is not just for aesthetic benefit. Sure, it can help your feet look good, but feet that are dried out are also more prone to painful cracking, infections, and other skin and nail problems.
You also do not typically need anything overly fancy or expensive in terms of a moisturizer. Look for ingredients such as:
- Hyaluronic Acid
- Salicylic Acid
- Lactic Acid
Such ingredients are good at hydrating your feet and removing dead skin. Whether you want to include fancy scents and high-end additives is purely up to you – but discontinue use of anything that causes irritation or discomfort.
An ideal time to moisturize is after a bath or shower, when your feet are damp (which just happens to coincide with a great time to look over your feet!). Apply a layer of moisturizer evenly, but do not let moisturizer build up between the toes. Too much moisture trapped here can actually increase your risk of damage and fungal infection.
Wear Comfortable, Supportive Footwear
Shoes that do not provide good support to your feet can lead to pain and worse problems in the future.
This can be especially true, unfortunately, if you regularly wear shoes with high heels or that otherwise force extra weight toward the front of the foot. This can not only increase the risk of soft tissue-related problems such as neuromas, but can make existing problems such as bunions progress much further over time.
Even if you feel you can endure uncomfortable shoes now, think about how vulnerable they can make your feet in the future. If you must wear less-than-ideal shoes, try to limit your time in them as much as possible.
The best footwear for your feet will largely depend on your regular activities, the structure of your feet, and other needs. We can help you determine what choices would be best for you. Ultimately, however, your shoes should fit properly and be comfortable! A shoe that doesn’t fit is not going to serve you well at all, no matter how well made it may be.
Follow Through on Your Foot and Ankle Care
As we noted earlier, taking care of foot and ankle problems now can help avoid worse problems in the future. That care, however, should always be fully completed and continued as needed.
Some methods of treatment such as custom orthotics, for example, are long-term in nature. They can provide great support and relief that your feet need, but those benefits will break down when the orthotics wear out or if your needs change in ways that the orthotics can no longer accommodate.
We always want to make sure our patients receive comprehensive and complete care. This also includes patients who started receiving a course of care at another practice and ceased either through choice or unforeseen circumstances.
The Care You Need Now and Through the Future
Completing treatments, following preventative plans, and ensuring long-term care is properly adjusted when necessary are some of your best safeguards against future trouble. We are more than happy to start from the beginning or pick things up wherever they may have been left off.
Schedule an appointment with Advanced Foot & Ankle Centers of Illinois by calling any of our offices at the bottom of this page. You can also reach us electronically by clicking the “Same Day Appointment” button at the top of the page.