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Sep 16

5 Foot Care Tips From Your Orange County Podiatrist

Our feet handle quite a bit during any given day. Absorbing the impact of our weight is no small feat for our feet, which include 26 bones, 30 joints and an assortment of tendons, muscles and ligaments. When something goes wrong with even one of these components the result can be quite painful. As an Orange County podiatrist, I can help ease the pain, and I also can provide you with some tips to keep those feet as healthy and happy as possible.

1. Choose The Right Shoes

While a pair of Jimmy Choo’s or Salvatore Ferragamo’s might be calling to you and saying, “pick me, pick me,” dress shoes (especially heels) can be tough on your feet. Likewise many sneaker brands and the California staple of flip flops also don’t provide your feet with the support you need.

While your podiatrist in Orange County isn’t expecting you to rock orthopedic footwear for a night out on the town, a wedding or a party (not that we’ve been partying a lot during 2020), but it’s wise to wear supportive shoes as often as possible.

When it comes to choosing the right footwear, this tends to mean something different for every person. Every person’s feet are unique, so a brand that one friend recommends might not be the perfect option for you. It is essential that you try on several different brands to find the one that best suits your feet.

Keep in mind, most people have one foot that is slightly larger than the other and you want to pick the shoe that best fits the larger foot. Before you start trying on shoes, measure your foot carefully including the length and the width. People sometimes forget about width, but it can make a difference in the fit of a shoe.

Wear the same type of socks while shopping that you intend to wear with the shoes you try on. It also recommended that you put off shoe shopping until the afternoon as our feet swell during the day and this is typically the time of day when our feet are the largest. Walk around in the shoe taking note of how the heel feels and the toe area and make note of any tags or stitching on the inside of the shoe that might irritate your foot. Walk on carpeting as well as a tile surface if possible.

Even if you love the way a pair of shoes look, don’t buy it if it’s not completely comfortable. Shoes will stretch out somewhat, but they really cannot be “broken in” without causing you a great deal of discomfort and possibly even injuring your feet.

2. Trim Those Nails – But Do It Carefully

Pedicures aren’t exactly easy to come by these days, but you should do everything you can to ensure that your toenails are trimmed and trimmed correctly. Ingrown toenails can be extremely painful and even lead to infection. If you have a painful ingrown nail, please give us a call and we can set up an appointment or provide you with some home treatment options.

We recommend that you gather together the proper tools before you begin trimming your nails. Use toenail clippers rather than fingernail clippers, as these simply aren’t strong enough to manage those tough toenails. You can use a cuticle stick to push back the cuticles, but don’t cut around the cuticles, as this can cause injury and possibly an infection. It’s best to trim the nail straight across, but not in one single cut. Make several smaller trims, and don’t cut them too short.

Nail trimming and nail care can be tricky for older adults, as many have mobility issues. If possible, have someone help you with this process. Sometimes a podiatrist in Orange County offers toenail and foot maintenance services.

These services also can be a good option for a person with diabetes as proper foot care is essential for diabetics. Both seniors with mobility issues and those with diabetes need to take extra care with their feet, but going out for a pedicure is not always the best option. If your foot has an ulcer, sore or cut, it can be dangerous to get a pedicure as you may contract an infection. If your feet are otherwise healthy, going to a nail salon or using a mobile nail service might be alright, especially if you find a person who specializes in senior care.

Of course, presently, most nail salons are closed, which is why it is important to teach yourself how to trim your nails properly or find someone to help you with this task if mobility issues make it difficult to handle it on your own.

3. It’s Not Just About The Nails

While trimming toenails correctly is important, there’s more to a pedicure than nail trimming. Typically, this service includes foot exfoliation and even smoothing out calluses. Exfoliating your feet isn’t difficult and it can prevent calluses and cracked skin.

Just soak your feet in warm water for about 10 minutes (add some Epsom salt if you like) and then gently use a pumice stone to scrape away some of the dead skin on the surface of your foot. Once you have exfoliated, wash and dry your feet carefully and apply a moisturizer.

Again if your feet have any cuts or sores, do not use a pumice stone in these areas. If you have diabetes, be sure the water is not too hot before you place your feet in the water. Because of circulation issues, a person with diabetes might not be able to gauge the heat of the water by just dipping a toe in to test and could end up submerging their feet into water that is far too hot.

Typically you don’t need to soak and pumice more than twice per week, but you do need to carefully wash and dry your feet each day. Cleaning your feet removes bacteria and other debris, and dry feet don’t develop issues such as athlete’s foot as easily. Make sure your feet are completely dry before putting on your socks. It’s also a good idea to moisturize your feet every night.

4. Exercise Every Day

Daily exercise is beneficial for the feet for several reasons. It gets the blood circulating and strengthens the feet and ankle muscles, which can prevent injuries. Daily exercise also helps a person maintain a healthy weight, and people who are overweight put extra pressure on their feet, which can lead to many serious foot issues.

Any Orange County podiatrist can tell you that foot pain is a common issue for overweight people, and that definitely can make exercise trickier. Stick with low impact exercises such as easy walking, swimming and using an elliptical machine rather than running or power walking. Yoga and Pilates are a few other options to consider.

When you get started with an exercise routine, gradually build your stamina. You don’t have to try to walk three miles the first day.  If you are moving from a sedentary lifestyle to a more active lifestyle, every day you exercise is a victory. Perhaps, start out with just 10 minutes of activity twice a day, then after a few days, add five minutes. Park your car a little farther away from a store, and take a flight of stairs rather than using the elevator. Add in a healthy diet and your whole body will thank you, and not just your feet. You will be surprised how much better you will feel after just a few weeks of changing your diet and getting some exercise.

5. Sit Back & Relax

At the end of the day, it can be a good idea to sit down and elevate those feet. This can reduce swelling, and it’s especially important after a busy day on your feet. Even if you work a desk job, it’s not a bad idea to elevate your feet for a few minutes every night. You can even give yourself a quick foot massage to soothe the tired muscles or roll your feet over a tennis ball.

These days are complicated and stressful, but taking time for self-care can go a long way toward making our life easier and less stressful. So, enjoy a soothing foot bath and foot massage a couple of times a week. It can be a great way to relax and unwind and your feet will be happier and healthier.

Take these self-distanced times to start up an exercise routine. Get out early, beat the heat and enjoy the sunrise or head out during twilight and enjoy the sunset. Daily exercise can make it easier for our bodies to relax and get into sleep mode at the end of the day. During our rest hours, our feet (and the rest of our body) has time to heal from the rigors of each day.

Of course, exercise, diet, supportive footwear and proper foot care can prevent many problems from occurring, but if you are already suffering from foot, heel or ankle pain or perhaps have issues such as corns, bunions or calluses, it’s probably time to contact a professional. As an Orange County podiatrist we can provide you with a wide range of services and treatments, from plantar fasciitis to Achilles issues and more.

You definitely shouldn’t be living with foot pain or chronic discomfort. A podiatrist in Orange County can help. We have offices in Costa Mesa and Rancho Santa Margarita for your convenience. As far as covid safety, we are taking precautions above CDC guidelines to protect patients and staff. Give us a call at any time to ask questions or make an appointment. We also have some helpful resources on our website such as a rundown on our Podiatry Services, a page about Custom Orthotics and some helpful videos.

We are taking precautions above the CDC guidelines to protect patients and staff

We are taking precautions above the CDC guidelines to protect patients and staff. We are having patients sanitize hands upon entry, spacing appointments 30 minutes apart to maintain distancing, all applicable surfaces are sanitized after each patient visit, and all staff are wearing N95 masks. Our goal is to contribute to the safety and care of our patients during this difficult time. Please call us if you have any questions. Thank you for your continued trust and support. Sincerely, Dr. Daniel Bank and Staff