Every New Year, we start out with a clean slate. It’s a time when most of us make a resolution to either stop doing something, or to start something new. The more common resolutions (like getting more exercise and losing weight, dropping bad habits, and saving cash) are super; but I would like to add a new one to the mix and encourage everyone to get healthier feet in 2015, especially women!
On a whole, women are more susceptible to foot problems than men. This is due to improper footwear and physical differences such as the structure of the foot, strength and laxity of the muscles and ligaments, shape and length of the arch, width of the forefoot, size of toes, and hormones that allow muscles in the feet to relax and expand. Pregnancy is also not kind to a woman’s feet. Consequently, women are far more susceptible to ankle sprains, bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendon pain.
Unfortunately, if problems are not addressed appropriately, conservative treatments become less effective, quality of life declines, and surgery becomes the only option. Here are some simple resolutions to help women achieve healthier feet and a better quality of life.
Resolution 1: Start moving but start smart
Physical activity contributes to your health and can provide benefits to your feet. Select activities that you enjoy and get your feet moving. Don’t rush into fitness. Start smart to avoid injuries like shin splints and plantar fasciitis (heel pain). A steady, gradual program is more beneficial in the long run than an intense program that puts undue stress on your feet. Avoid running on uneven surfaces and terrain; and incorporate cross training into your fitness program to reduce stress on your feet.
Resolution 2: Wear the proper footwear
Choose the right footwear for all occasions this year. Pitch the old sneakers or athletic shoes that have been lying around in your closet or gym locker. Ask your podiatrist for some tips to select a shoe that is designed for your fitness activity and foot type.
Whenever possible, leave the stilettos in the closet. At least try to wear them less or scale down the heel height. There is nothing beautiful about painful feet and shoe wear that leads to ankle sprains, bunions, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, ingrown toenails, and neuromas that may lead to surgery. Make a healthier choice of shoes this year.
Resolution 3: Say goodbye to ugly toenails
If you are tired of having to deal with the embarrassment of toenail fungus winter is the perfect time for laser treatment. By the time summer arrives, you should be able to wear open-toe shoes again with full confidence. Lasers are the state of the art treatment for toenail fungus and restoring the natural beauty of your nails. Treatments are quick, relatively pain free, affordable, and effective.
Resolution 4: End heel pain now
If you are tired of having an aching or stabbing pain in your heel and trying to avoid cortisone injections in your feet, ask your physician or podiatrist about treatment options. New cutting edge laser treatments are now available to treat plantar fasciitis and end heel pain. Treatments are pain free and an effective alternative to anti-inflammatory and pain medications.
Resolution 5: Support your feet with custom orthotics
Custom orthotics are made from cast impressions of your feet and fabricated into inserts for your shoes. Orthotics provides support for your arches and distributes weight bearing loads more uniformly. They are especially helpful for people with foot deformities, athletes, pregnant moms, and seniors who are experiencing greater changes in their feet.
Resolution 6: Don’t let hammertoes cramp your style
If you are you are tired of muddling through life with severe pain caused by hammertoes and forced to stop doing physical activities you once they once loved, it might be time for hammertoe correction.
There is no single surgical procedure that is best for everyone but your foot and ankle surgeon will be able to tell you the best options. New innovative orthopedic products and surgical techniques are available to minimize downtime and recovery. Stop the embarrassment of wearing open-toe shoes and feel confident about the appearance of your feet.
Resolution 7: Stop bunion discomfort and pain
If you are experiencing severe pain and discomfort because of a bunion that is interfering with your daily activities, it’s time to explore surgical options. If your anxiety has caused you to avoid surgery, you may be doing yourself more harm than good. An altered gait (walking) pattern can contribute to other mechanical problems in your feet and put unwanted stress on your ankles, knees, hips, and spine.
Resolution 8: Healthy feet in 2015