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FOUR STEPS for Healthy Feet and Ankles

SPONSORED — Hiking, skiing, running, walking; the amount of impact your feet take on throughout the day can be unimaginable. The great terrain of the beautiful Pacific Northwest keeps everyone on their toes, looking for their next outdoor adventure. From hitting the slopes at Crystal Mountain or rollerblading down the boardwalk at Alki Beach, you’re actively upright for the entirety of the day. Or, perhaps, for your general health you have committed to walking a particular distance each day. In order to keep moving for years to come, you’ll want to treat your feet with these four health care tips and tricks.

Get an Annual Foot and Ankle Check-up

Few things are worse than throbbing foot and ankle pain, but adding regular podiatry care to your regimen now can make a huge difference for you in the future. The Washington State Podiatric Medical Association states that most Americans log a whopping 75,000 miles on their feet by the time they reach the age of 50. If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain, or have any concerns about your feet, now is the time to have your feet evaluated by a specialist. At-risk individuals with decreased blood flow to their feet and diabetics would fall into the category of patients that need an annual check-up to lessen future foot or ankle issues. The WSPMA has been keeping Washingtonians on their feet since 1915. The association was initially formed by a small group of dedicated practitioners and has since grown to more than 200 members. WSPMA works to promote the health of the public and the individuals it serves by having established itself as a valuable resource for consumer information on podiatric medicine. Take a preventative approach to your podiatric care and find a physician near you here.

Keep Your Feet Dry

As the temperature slowly begins to drop in the PNW, it is exciting to prepare for the chill of fall weather, drizzly outdoor excursions and a few snowy escapades. In the process of switching from your summertime sandals to warm wool socks and boots, be sure to educate yourself on how to keep your feet feeling great in these typical wet weather conditions. An important step in Foot Care 101 is to keep your feet dry. Foot fungus commonly grows in dark and damp environments, which is common in the rainy-day forecasts looming ahead. Wet feet can also cause skin to shoe irritation spiking up bubbly blisters. Both foot fungus and blisters can cause pain/irritate the foot if not treated. So how do you prevent these uncomfortable problems? Add an extra pair of thick socks and change them out when they become damp or soaked. Also, make sure that you dry out your shoes well after any activity.

Examine Your Shoe Wear Patterns

Shoes can often tell a lot about an individual’s walking or running pattern. The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine breaks down how wear patterns may provide clues as to your biomechanics and what shoes may be helpful for you. The first step is “sole searching.” Kick off your shoes and look at the wear pattern underneath. Is it symmetric or is one side worn more than the other? This may indicate that one leg may be longer than the other or perhaps reveal over striding on one leg. If you were then to place your pair of shoes upright on a table and observe them from the heel, look to see if the shoe tilts inward or outward to the midline of the body. A shoe that tilts inward may be more indicative of over-pronation, which is typically seen in people with a flatter foot type. Motion control shoes may be beneficial for this particular population to provide more support to the foot. If the shoe tilts outward, this may be more indicative of over-supination, which is typically seen in people with a higher arch. Cushioned or neutral shoes may be better for this population to provide more shock absorption for the foot. For a professional evaluation of your shoe wear patterns, or if you have foot or ankle pain, make an appointment to see your podiatric physician and take a selection of your shoes to your appointment.

Does the Shoe Fit?

If you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, you will quickly learn that everyone’s foot is different. Take the time to figure out what works best for you by pinpointing where you’d like to make an improvement in your foot care routine. From finding shoes, reducing blisters, or even treating smelly feet; there is a gold seal recommendation for that. The American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Approval is awarded to those products that effectively promote good foot health care. The AMPA board reviews products from shoes, socks, insoles, lotions, deodorizers and many other items and medical supplies for the feet. Finding proper shoes can help you take a step in the right direction. Or, perhaps you need to find quality wound dressings. For a list of all products that have received the AMPA stamp of approval, check out their list here. Do not limit your everyday activity due to foot pain; step up and opt-in for quality goods that will help you in the long run.

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