When you are purchasing a pair of shoes, how often do you consider your foot health in your decision making? Whether the answer is a lot or a little, we knew this was an important topic to explore. In order to get you the best information possible, we spoke with podiatrist Dr. Syamak Yamini. He answers some basic foot health questions and offers some tips for happy feet.
Joybees: HOW COMMON ARE FOOT PROBLEMS?
Dr. Yamini: Foot problems are very common among individuals nationally and across the globe. It is estimated that three out of every four Americans experience some type of foot ailment in their lifetime.
With twenty-six bones, thirty-three joints, one hundred and seven ligaments, and nineteen muscles in our feet, that means that one-fourth of all human bones are in our feet. Being that our feet are one of the smaller portions of our bodies, foot pain is more common than we may think.
J: WHO IS MOST SUSCEPTIBLE TO FOOT PAIN?
DR: While some individuals are more likely to have foot pain than others, such as athletes who are always on their feet, women are the most vulnerable to certain foot problems in comparison to men. Often women wear shoes that are narrow-fitting and have high-heels, as a result, female patients usually suffer from different forefoot and arch problems due to these types of shoes.
Some of the most common examples of foot health issues that women face are Morton’s neuroma, bunions, and plantar fasciitis. Morton’s neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue in the ball of your foot. This is caused by compression and irritation of the nerve, which can happen from wearing shoes that have a narrow toe box and high heels that cause the ball of the foot to take on too much force.
Bunions are also very common in women as well. Bunions are an inherited condition that causes women to lean on their big toe. After so much time putting this pressure on your big toe, the bones in your toes start to change their angle. This change of angle slowly produces a characteristic bump that cannot go unnoticed. This bump starts to result in everyday pain that can be exacerbated by narrow shoes worn by many women.
Last but not least, plantar fasciitis is a huge issue that many individuals face when they have foot pain. This is most commonly caused by a faulty foot structure. When women wear shoes that are not supportive, the problem is more common and can result in everyday foot pain.
J: WHAT KIND OF BASIC CARE DO FEET NEED?
DR: Foot care is ignored by many, but by taking into consideration a few things, you can lower your chances of having foot pain in the future or relieving yourself from the pain that already consumes your everyday. If you ever find yourself getting ready and examining whether you have any new bruises or cuts, this would also be a good time to check-in on your feet.
By taking a few minutes out of your day to do a daily foot exam, you can realize if something is not right with your feet before the problem worsens. Make sure to check your feet for any cuts, bruises, lesions, and swelling. In addition to this, be sure to moisturize your feet to avoid dry and cracked skin.
You know how good your feet feel after getting a pedicure? By taking a few extra minutes out of your week just to moisturize, or if you’re feeling fancy, using a pumice stone, you can avoid dry and cracked skin. Your feet will always look fresh and clean like they do after you get a pedicure.
While you want your feet to look good, or maybe you don’t, you definitely should want them to feel good, especially if you’re always on your feet. I recommend exercising your feet on a daily basis, even if it’s just a few minutes every other day. By incorporating some slight stretches into your daily routine, you can avoid muscle cramps and foot pain.
In addition to this, you should also invest in a pair of supportive shoes for prolonged walks, standing, shopping, and cooking.
J: I HAVE FOOT PAIN – WHAT STEPS CAN I TAKE TO IMPROVE MY FOOT HEALTH?
DR: Feet should not hurt all the time. Of course, it’s unavoidable to never have foot pain, but persistent foot pain can be an indication of injury, irritation, or illness. If this foot pain is recent, try to take a look at any recent changes you have made in your shoe choices. Have you been wearing unsupportive shoes or wearing heels for multiple events recently? Any recent changes can be one of the biggest reasons for foot pain.
By analyzing this problem, you can immediately take steps to elevate your foot pain. Some additional steps you can take fall under the RICE procedure: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Have you been wearing the same shoes for a while and they do have a lot of support? In this case, you should reach out to a professional podiatrist if the acute ailment issues that they are experiencing are not resolving themselves after a few days.
J: HOW DO I PICK A PAIR OF SUPPORTIVE SHOES?
DR: The importance of the shoes you wear should not be overlooked. Having supportive shoes is an important factor in avoiding prolonged foot pair and foot ailments.
A supportive shoe should first have good arch support. By having good arch support, you will be able to prevent heel pain and plantar fasciitis. Other recommendations for supportive shoes are to pick ones with a firm heel cup and a wider toe box that allows for flexibility. These aspects are often overlooked when picking out shoes. It is also recommended that you have specific shoes for certain activities. We can all agree that flip flops are not the best option when you’re going on a super long walk or taking part in any sort of exhausting physical activity. It is preferable to use a closes back shoe for prolonged walks and standing.
Here at Joybees, we understand how hard it can be to have foot pain. We are thankful to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Syamak Yamini to bring you more information on how you can improve your foot health. Please let us know in the comments if this article was helpful and any additional foot health questions you may have so we can answer them in a future article.
You can learn more about Dr. Yamini and read more about foot health here.