Although it is easy to forget about your feet, healthy feet are important to staying active and your overall well-being. Follow these tips from our board-certified podiatrists and foot surgeons to keep your lower extremities healthy all year long.
Check your Feet Daily
Get in the habit of checking your feet once a day. If you find it difficult to look at your feet, consider purchasing a mirror with a long handle, which will allow you to closely inspect the bottom of your feet. Check for any flaking skin, as this could be the sign of an athlete’s foot, or any new lesions, redness, rashes or tingling. If you find a new lesion, or another cause for concern, your podiatrist may recommend a biopsy for proper diagnosis.
Keep your Feet Dry
Your feet have over 250,000 sweat glands per foot! Keeping your skin dry will discourage fungus from making a home, since fungus loves a wet environment. It is important to also always wear clean, dry socks. When shopping for socks, choose an odor-wicking fabric, such as wool or bamboo, to help keep your feet dry. If you tend to find a lot of moisture on your feet at the end of the day, consider an anti-antiperspirant foot spray. You should also always make sure to keep the space between your toes dry to prevent infection. Another idea to help keep your feet dry is to alternate your shoes each day to allow them to dry adequately between wears
Pay attention to your toenails
Having thick, discolored or flaking toenails can be unsightly and even painful. Many people are unaware that this could be the result of a fungal infection, which may cause loss of the nail. Fungus can find their way into the nail from the environment we live in. Once it establishes a home in your nails, it only takes a few days for the fungus to begin to spread. So what do you do if you have it? The first step is to get a proper diagnosis from your podiatrist. If you have had trauma to your nail, then it may be thick from other causes. Your doctor may send a sample out to test the nail for fungus. If it is indeed fungus, there are many different treatment options you can explore with your podiatrist.
Proper nail care is important, too. When trimming your toenails, always cut straight across to prevent ingrown toenails. If you need help keeping toenails trimmed, we have medical-grade devices in-office to help you maintain nails at the proper length.
Swelling in your legs and feet
Although swollen legs, ankles and feet are usually not cause for concern, they could be the sign of a more serious issue such as kidney disease, high blood pressure or venous insufficiency if the swelling persists. Swelling of the legs is often an early symptom of venous insufficiency, a condition in which blood pools in the legs and is not returned to the heart. Chronic venous insufficiency can lead to skin discoloration, skin breakdown, ulcers and infection. Your podiatrist may instruct you to wear compression stockings to help combat the effects of damaged veins. Sometimes, an ultrasound is ordered to look at the veins more closely in order to provide the proper treatment plan.
Apply sunblock to your feet
Foo Floridians, it is extra important that you don’t forget to apply sunblock to your feet, including the tops and bottom when exposed to the sun. It is recommended to use an SPF 30 or higher in a waterproof formula. We commonly see patients for skin cancer in our South Florida offices. With a simple biopsy, our in-house dermatopathologist can determine if the area of concern is cancerous and the best treatment route to take.
Never ignore foot pain
Know when to see a doctor. If you have foot pain, don’t ignore it before it becomes worse. Sometimes a simple problem can become an even bigger one without the proper care. With routine care and diligence, you can have healthy feet for many more miles!
If you have any issues with your feet, ankle or lower legs, don’t hesitate to make an appointment at one of our South Florida locations. We have state-of-the-art offices in Broward, Palm Beach and Martin Counties, in addition to emergency services, same-day appointments and FREE transportation for existing patients.