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Many adult foot ailments are present at birth or have their origins in childhood. Because the feet of young children are soft and pliable, abnormal pressure can easily cause deformities. This is why podiatrists consider the first few years to be the most important in the development of the feet. By visiting a podiatrist periodically and regularly performing foot care you can minimize problems later in life.
The feet of young children are often unstable because of muscle problems which make walking difficult or uncomfortable. A thorough examination of your child's feet by a podiatrist may detect an underlying defect or condition which may require immediate treatment or consultation.
Shoes are not necessary indoors when your child first begins to walk. Allow your child to go barefoot or wear just socks when indoors. This helps the foot grow normally and develop its musculature and strength, as well as the grasping action of toes. When walking outside or on rough surfaces, your child's feet should be protected in lightweight, flexible footwear made of natural materials.
As your child's feet continue to develop, it may be necessary to change shoe and sock size every few months to allow room for the feet to grow. Although foot problems result mainly from injury, deformity, illness or hereditary factors, improper footwear can aggravate pre-existing conditions. Footwear should never be handed down from one child to another.
Shoes are not necessary indoors for children when they learn to walk.
As a senior, you already have about 100,000 kilometres on your feet. But that doesn't mean it's too late for comfort. In fact, there are lots of things you can do to keep your feet in good condition. Try some of the following practices.
Wear good quality running shoes or shoes designed specifically for walking.
Have corns or callouses treated by a podiatrist.
Perform gentle exercises such as moving your feet in circles or up and down to help improve mobility, flexibility and circulation.
Do calf-stretching exercises to reduce tightness in the back of the lower leg muscles. Lean against the wall and place one foot forward and one foot back; bend the forward knee and you will feel the calf muscle of the opposite leg stretch. Hold for 10 seconds. Change the position of your legs and repeat the exercise.
Use insoles to add cushioning to the soles of your shoes. As you get older, the fat pad under the bones at the ball of the foot tends to get displaced forward and reduces the cushioning at the ball of the foot. An insole will provide some extra cushioning.
Have your foot mechanics evaluated by a podiatrist. Structural imbalances that can lead to bunions and callouses can be corrected.
Treat any ingrown toenails. A podiatrist can painlessly clip away a segment of the nail to provide immediate relief or permanently remove the offending nail border.
If you have varicose veins, elevate your feet when you can and walk as often as you can. Compression stockings may be beneficial too.
Get involved in a walking program. Check with your general practitioner and then start a gradual walking program. Be sure to wear appropriate and comfortable fitting shoes.
If you have diabetes you are at a greater risk of foot problems. In fact, diabetes can often first be detected in the foot.
Diabetes is a systemic disease affecting many different parts of the body, and ideal case management requires a team approach. The podiatrist is an integral part of the treatment team and is often successful in preventing amputations. The key to amputation prevention in diabetic patients is early recognition and regular foot screenings, at least annually, from a podiatrist.
In addition to these check ups, there are warning signs that you should be aware of so that they may be identified and acknowledged by your family doctor or podiatrist. They includes signs such as:
  • skin colour changes
  • elevation in skin temperature
  • swelling of your foot or ankle
  • pain in the legs
  • open sores on your feet that are slow to heal
  • ingrown and fungal toenails
  • bleeding corns and calluses
  • dry cracks in the skin, especially around the heel.
Ulceration is a common occurrence with the diabetic foot and should be carefully monitored and treated by a podiatrist to reduce the possibility of amputation. Poorly fitted shoes, or something as trivial as a stocking seam, can create a wound that may not be felt by someone whose skin sensation is diminished. Left unattended, ulcers can develop and quickly become infected, which can lead to more serious consequences. Your podiatrist knows how to treat and prevent these wounds and can be an important factor in keeping your feet healthy and strong.
It goes without saying that women's dress shoes are not necessarily designed with comfort in mind. However, women can use the following practices to keep their feet healthier and more comfortable both during work and after hours.
Consider shoes with cushioned soles if you wear dress shoes.
Compare the shape of your foot and the shape of the front of the shoe. Choosing shoes that better match the shape of your foot will create less pinching.
Lower your heel height by even an inch, which will make a big difference.
Do lots of stretching for your calf muscles if you're active in sports. Lean against a wall with one foot forward and one foot back. This is especially important if you wear high heels at work, since your calf muscle undergoes shortening and will be over-stressed once it is placed in a lower sports shoe.
Consider using insoles, which can add a lot of cushioning to your shoes. The insoles can be trimmed to fit a dress shoe and can also be shortened to reach just the ball of your foot so they don't make the toe box area of the shoe too tight.
Wear good quality running shoes or walking shoes; this will make shopping, prolonged walks or your journey to and from work more comfortable.
Slip your shoes off, do some circles with each foot and up-and-down motions with your toes while sitting at your work desk, which will enable your feet muscles to relax and stretch.
Shoes, however, are not always the cause of women's foot problems. Mechanical imbalances can create problems such as bunions, heel pain, arch pain and hammertoes. The causes of your foot problems should be evaluated and corrected by a podiatrist.
If you have diabetes it is important that you:
  • wash your feet daily

  • inspect your feet and toes daily

  • wear thick, soft socks

  • stop smoking

  • cut toenails straight across

  • exercise regularly

  • visit your podiatrist for regular check ups

  • be properly measured and fitted every time you buy new shoes

  • wear appropriate footwear rather than going barefoot

  • avoid wearing high heels, sandals or shoes with pointed toes

  • drink in moderation

  • avoid wearing anything that is too tight around the legs

  • obtain help from a podiatrist to remove calluses, corns or warts.

With the increased amount of activity that most athletes do, both in terms of training and participation in their sport, it is no surprise that their feet and legs can take a pounding. As a result, many podiatrists see athletes, both professional and amateur, on a regular basis. For many, wearing the correct footwear for the sport can provide the needed support, or orthotics can be prescribed to provide additional support where required. If you are an athlete and you experience pain, visit a podiatrist for an examination.
Wear good quality running shoes or walking shoes