I really do share about almost anything on this blog. 🙂 In today’s lesson, I want to talk about feet, your feet specifically but using my feet as an example. many of us don’t tell the truth about our health; some try to ignore it. One of those things we tend to lie about is our feet.
We need our feet if we hope to continue getting around. Sure, sometimes it’s our legs bothering us, but sometimes leg problems are caused by your feet; I’ll get into that one a bit more; let’s get started.
1. Always buy shoes at least 1/2″ bigger than what your foot is.
For almost 40 year I’ve bought 11 1/2 because that’s my foot size. It turns out that it’s recommended to always go at least 1/2 foot size bigger to give your toes room to move. Usually it’s the outer toe where, if you’re going to start developing any issues, you’ll feel it. Even your big toe in some shoe sizes won’t be happy unless you give it more space.
As a sidebar, at one point I was buying 13″ size shoes because that’s what the “experts” at the shoe store were recommending for me. Last year I decided to change that up, because I wasn’t feeling much more comfort. I decided I wanted a wider shoe… still with that extra inch… instant relief! Of course, because I walk to much I still go through shoes every 3-4 months, but it feels nice while I have the shoes on.
2. As you age, you need more support in the arch area in your shoes.
Regular shoes seem to be fine, but when it comes to sneakers many of today’s designs are built with more cushioning in them than support for the arch area, which can lead to issues, especially if you have flat feet or problems with your gait. Turns out I have both, as I’d forgotten I had flat feet and my right leg is 1/2 inch longer than my left (which supposedly is a common thing).
As a kid, I could get away with wearing Adidas sneakers because they had a high arch, which relieved a lot of pressure. These days I wear an orthotic in both shoes, which works wonders when I walk and helped eliminate a problem I’d had in my left leg for years.
3. Most cushioning you buy aside from what comes in the shoes isn’t helping you at all.
Podiatrists seem to get most animated when they see you’ve popped down $20 bucks for shoe cushions. They say it’s a false crutch of comfort we’ve been conditioned to enjoy that doesn’t work for 99% of the people that buy them.
I’d always purchased extra cushion, even trying that “jelling” insole once, because I thought my feet needed it. What he recommended is that unless it’s a cheap shoe, which he said never to buy, use what comes in the shoe because it was specifically tested to offer both the maximum comfort and protection for your feet. It’s that thing about having your shoes be a little looser so blood flow can occur.
4. Treat your heels well.
Adding to #3, it seems that we all concentrate more on the front of our feet when we should be treating our heels better. When we start noticing that our heels might be getting more crusty and such, that’s when we have to worry about neuropathy, which is when you stop having feeling in certain parts of your body. Actually, it turns out it’s way more than that; you could be causing damage without numbness, and it can start affecting other parts of your body such as your legs, your back, even your neck.
He does an interesting test on my feet, a sensitivity test, a process that began years ago. It started out with one prong on different locations of both feet. I did very well on that one. Then you had to feel two prongs on different areas of the feet; that one I had a lot of trouble with. I was diagnosed as having minor neuropathy, especially in my heels, but luckily he said it wasn’t diabetes related based on the first part of the test and said it’s probably because of insufficient footwear over the years.
Now… I can barely feel the prongs on either feet. That’s scary, but it also feels suspect. I can feel my small paperclip on my feet when I touch them. Maybe it’s bigger than what the podiatrist is using; I’m just not sure. I know my feet feel more numb than they used to, but I also feel pain lately, and the two issues don’t match. Here’s a major health tip, one that I’m about to do; I’m going to see another podiatrist for a second opinion (the other doctor wants to start a series of injections that insurance won’t cover; I’m looking for answers to both questions). Sometimes it’s good to get confirmation if something’s bothering you when it comes to your health.
5. It’s imperative that you cut your toenails.
It took me a long while before I started cutting my toenails on a regular basis. Based on our footwear, longer nails can cause us discomfort, if not pain, and thus we inadvertently start curling our toes, which then alters how we walk. Once we artificially start changing how we normally walk, that’s when problems start to occur.
Another lesson I just learned a month ago after reading an article is that you’re not supposed to cut your toenails into the skin area of your toes. In other words, you’re supposed to cut your toenails straight across to prevent getting ingrown toenails. I could have used that lesson decades ago; sheesh! lol
6. Look at your feet at least once a month to see if anything looks odd.
Most of the time you won’t notice anything different, but early on he used to notice things I didn’t… because I never looked. As a kid, I used to sometimes develop holes in my feet, which turned out to be blisters that grew inward; freaky. I had to go to the hospital on base to have a doctor look at it. We made some changes that stopped that from happening; I don’t remember what they were since it happened long ago, but I know within 3 months or so that wasn’t a problem anymore.
There you are, stuff about feet. The weird things I talk about because of the weird things that happen to me. How are your feet doing these days?