Did you know that April is National Foot Health Awareness Month? According to Footwear News, this is the month for you to take the time to think about foot health and what that means for you. After all, many people don’t give their feet much thought. As long as they get you from place to place, what’s to think about? But feet are important and surprisingly complex parts of the body – a single foot has 26 bones. With that in mind, the picture of foot health becomes clearer.
Whether they involve muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones or even skin conditions, your foot’s problems need to be dealt with before they affect your overall health. A problem that starts in the feet can easily work its way up to other parts of the body.
But there are ways to find help or get advice about how to care for your feet. One organization dedicated to foot health for over 100 years is the American Podiatric Medical Association.
What is the APMA?
The American Podiatric Medical Association is an organization that represents the majority of podiatrists in America. Apart from representing their interests in the federal government, the organization is dedicated to researching foot health, spreading awareness of foot- and ankle-related issues and to advocate for better health care delivery systems. Patients can visit their website for more information about ways to keep feet healthy and how to find the right pair of shoes.
Foot health at work
Millions of Americans work on their feet, but there’s no one specific job or industry that can claim the lion’s share of foot strain, injuries or accidents. Take the typical hospital, for instance. Everyone from the janitors to the top surgeons are on their feet for most of the day. Other industries such as food service and hospitality are also comprised of workers who have to stand for long stretches at a time. Not only does all this standing have a big impact on the feet, but it can affect back, neck and shoulder health. Additionally, those who stand at work have a higher risk of slip-and-fall accidents.
Employees who work on their feet should be aware of the health risks that can follow. For many people, a number of issues can be prevented by wearing the right shoe for the job. Food service employees should consider wearing safety shoes with a slip-resistant sole to avoid injury on wet floors. Nurses can equally benefit from shoes with such advantages. Shoes that allow for a bit of wiggle room in the toe, but don’t slip up and down when walking are good for most people.
Now look at a few other ways you can take care of your feet during National Foot Health Awareness Month.
Tips for better foot health
Taking care of your feet is easy. Just follow these simple tips and you should be able to avoid some major foot problems.
1. Limit walking barefoot outdoors
During the summertime, it can be tempting to take off your shoes and let your toes breathe. While it might feel nice, doing so exposes your feet to extra sunlight and other risk factors. According to the APMA, walking barefoot outside drastically increases the risk of contracting ringworm. Similarly, being barefoot leaves your feet unprotected. Even a sneaker can stop a falling object from giving your foot a cut.
2. Stay hydrated
Drinking lots of water in the summer is good all-around advice. But did you know it can also benefit your feet? Footwear News reported that feet can swell in hot temperatures, making your shoes feel uncomfortable. The swelling could even lead to blisters. Drinking water will help to stop this from happening. Plus, it’ll keep your skin looking clear and healthy.
Another way to keep your feet feeling good is to stretch out your calf muscles. The APMA recommended performing some quick exercises to stave off feelings of discomfort. Rotate your ankles, scrunch your toes into balls and do some calf raises to prevent your feet from hurting. This is especially recommended for those standing for the majority of the day.