According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, you will take from 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day. These steps will carry you many miles every day and over a lifetime may carry you about 115,000 miles (which would span the circumference of the earth four times). With each of these steps and over these miles, you put 1 to 2 times your body weight through your foot. If you run, however, the amount increases to at least 3 to 4 times your body weight. How limited you would be to not be able to walk or run, or to not have feet to carry your through life. Is there anything you can do to facilitate health of your feet and allow them to continue to carry you through life? Let me give you the top 9 reasons a yearly check of your feet will help keep you healthy…
9. The foot is a complex biological masterpiece of 28 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons and an intricate web of nerves and blood vessels. Careful regular evaluation can ensure that these structures work together correctly and prevent injuries
8. At least seventy-five percent of Americans experience foot health problems in their lifetime. By careful, regular evaluation foot and ankle health issues can be prevented similar to regular dental exams preventing tooth decay.
7. “Is the way I walk causing pain elsewhere?” Since the foot attaches to the leg bone(s)…how the foot functions and how you walk may lead to discomfort in the knee, hip, back and even neck. By careful evaluation and adjustment of walking patterns, or specialized inserts called orthotics, pain in other areas of the body may be alleviated.
6. Don’t be sidelined by stress fractures. Many active individuals, whether athlete or just exercising, find the foot or leg starts hurting without known injury. These small “march fractures” as they were known in the military or “stress fractures” as we call them now are caused by overuse and can be prevented by careful evaluation of your feet, how they function and instruction on correct exercise routines.
5. “Do I wear the right shoes?” In a world now made of asphalt, cement and steel, shoes can play a key role in protecting the feet. Correct shoes and correct shoe inserts (whether standard shoe inserts or custom orthotics) can protect your feet while you participate in the activities you enjoy or just the activities you must do for work.
4. Fungus Among Us…A fungus likes moist dark spaces, a perfect description of the foot when found in a shoe. Regular evaluation of the feet can catch (and treat) early signs of fungal toenails, fungal infections of the feet (athlete’s foot) or other infections of the feet (including warts, a virus infection of the foot).
3. “When your feet hurt, your whole body hurts.” As a foot or ankle hurts, you will start to limp or hobble around. This modified “gait” (walking pattern) will cause you to stress other joints, muscles and ligaments in the body causing other pains. As you accomodate, foot pain can lead to pain throughout the body.
2. The foot is a picture of your overall health. Many systemic diseases including diabetes, circulation problems (PVD, atherosclerosis…), nutrition defects and others may present primarily in your feet and ankles. If you catch them early, you can treat or even prevent these problems through lifestyle modification.
1. An active foot is a happy foot. Your ability to remain active in your life may depend on the functioning of your foot. It carries you through life and can improve your overall health by increasing strength, stamina, blood flow and endurance by the simple act of staying active. Optimizing how the foot functions will allow this continued activity.
Having your feet evaluated on a regular basis (at least yearly) will “Optimize What You Were Born With” and let you continue to walk and even run through life.