Improper Shoes Increase Risk of Foot Injury
By MERRITT ISLAND FOOT AND ANKLE // July 21, 2012
Foot Pain & Exercise
If foot pain keeps you from exercising, here are some tips to protect your feet from bruising, pulled muscles, stress fractures and other foot injuries.
Select the Proper Shoes
• Many people have one foot that is larger than the other. Always measure your feet at the end of the day when feet are largest. The ball of your foot should fit into the widest part of the shoe with enough room for your toes, and you should have about a half inch between longest toe and shoe tip.
• Your heel should fit comfortably in the shoe with minimal amount of slipping.
• Pick athletic shoes that bend in the area in which the toes bend and not at the arch. Shoes that bend in the midfoot area put more pressure on your heel and Achilles tendon. And, select shoes with upper material that is soft and flexible to match the shape of your foot.
• Thick soles cushion feet when walking on hard surfaces. People with impaired circulation from conditions such as diabetes need extra protection. Prefabricated gel-cushioned pads help absorb shock to reduce the risk of stress fractures and inflamed tendons that may contribute to forefoot pain.
Take Care of Your Feet
• Make sure your toenails are not sticking out past the tips of your toes. Cut the toenails straight across to avoid developing an ingrown toenail.
• Check your feet for blisters and cracks, especially if you have diabetes or peripheral arterial disease. Look between your toes for skin breakdown and athlete’s foot infection.
• Socks should have a smooth fit over the foot and not be too tight. High moisture-absorbing acrylic socks can help to prevent blisters and keep the feet dry.
• Because poor flexibility can increase your risk of foot injury, stretching is an important strategy for preventing foot pain. When exercising, warm up, cool down, and stretch before and after your activity.
• Stretches that target specific areas of the feet can also help to prevent foot pain. For example, the plantar fascia, an extension of the Achilles tendon, is a tough ligament-like sheet of tissue that extends from the heel bone to the base of the toes. The plantar fascia is highly susceptible to pain and inflammation. Try the Achilles-heel stretch to prevent injury to the plantar fascia. Stand on the bottom step of a flight of stairs, with the balls of feet on the step, lower heels until you feel a stretch in calves. Do this exercise three or four times a day, progressively holding the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.
Regular physical activity can improve circulation in your feet. If you have impaired circulation such as peripheral arterial disease, other measures that can help include:
• Not smoking
• Avoid exposing your feet to cold temperatures
• Not sitting for long periods of time
Even minor foot pain can disrupt your walking and other exercise routines. By giving your feet a few minutes of attention each day, you can prevent injury and skin breakdown.
For more information you may reach Dr. Beylin by calling 321-452-1327.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Beylin, DPM, FACFAS, is a partner at Merritt Island Foot & Ankle, and attended Barry University School of Graduate Medical Sciences where he earned his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine Degree. Dr. Beylin did his residency at Northwest Medical Center in Margate, Florida, where he performed 2,100 surgeries, and spent a rotation in Sweden working with world-renowned foot and ankle orthopedists. Dr. Beylin focuses on all aspects of the foot and ankle surgery, especially trauma, reconstructive surgery, Charcot surgery, ankle joint replacement surgery and workers compensation cases. He has privileges at Wuesthoff Medical Center and Cape Canaveral Hospital, and is a member of the Florida Podiatric Medical Association, American Podiatric Medical Association, American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, and American Academy of Podiatric Practice Management. For more information you may reach Dr. Beylin by calling 321-452-1327.