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June 26, 2012

Living Independently: How to Prevent Foot Problems

Pampering your tootsies can help prevent the development of foot ailments and alert you to problems that might require a doctor’s care. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association only 26% of Americans exercise good foot care; yet 80% have experienced foot problems. To prevent foot ailments that can affect independent living, podiatrists recommend performing a daily foot check. Foot pain, growths, numbness, and discoloration are not normal and should be reported to a doctor as they can indicate serious medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes or heart disease.

To keep your feet in good shape, podiatrists offer these foot care tips:

  • Wash feet daily and dry thoroughly, particularly between your toes to help prevent athlete’s foot, which can cause cracks between the toes or scaling on the soles.
  • To keep feet dry, wipe antiperspirant across the soles of your feet or rub cornstarch into your soles. You should also wear moisture-wicking socks and allow shoes to air out after wearing. Sweaty feet are the primary cause of foot odor, which affects a third of Americans. Sweaty feet also promote the growth of athlete’s foot, fungal infections, warts, and blisters.
  • Thick or discolored toenails usually indicate fungal infection.
  • Trim toenails straight across and even with the tips of your toes to prevent ingrown toenails. Curved nail edges and nails that are cut too short can dig into the skin around the toe and become painfully infected. Podiatrists say high heels, particularly those with pointed toes, are a leading cause of ingrown toenails.

Proactive foot care can help you maintain an independent lifestyle. For more tips on living independently, download our free guide,11 Ways to Age Successfully at Home

Photo: mattsabo17

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