Put your best foot forwardThey allow people to get out of bed each morning, push the gas pedal to drive to work and dance the night away during a Saturday on the town. They’re feet — and they do a lot more than most people give them credit for.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
They allow people to get out of bed each morning, push the gas pedal to drive to work and dance the night away during a Saturday on the town. They’re feet — and they do a lot more than most people give them credit for.
But with so much pressure being put on feet every single day, a variety of issues can arise. And the issues are much more common than expected.
According to a survey conducted by the Institute for Preventive Foot Health, 78 percent of adults age 21 and older have had one or more problems with their feet at some point in their lives. The more common maladies that came out of the survey were ankle sprains, blisters, calluses, foot fatigue, cracked skin and athlete’s foot.
While some of the issues are minor — such as a couple of calluses here or there — others can lead to much larger complications. For example, poor foot health can have people feeling like they should stay off their feet as much as possible. That can be very discouraging to those who struggle with obesity.
“Foot health is negatively related to body mass index, creating a conundrum for overweight adults attempting to become more active and healthy,” the IPFH reported.
Not only can physical health be impacted, but efficiency at work can be as well. Forty-four percent of those who took part in IPFH’s study admitted that their productivity on the job suffers when they have foot issues.
What’s more, the negative impacts can spread to personal time and take away from someone’s enjoyment of leisure activities. Forty-six percent of adults said activities like shopping produced sore feet — something that can be avoided with proper attention.
“People should be taking care of their feet and can do so relatively easily by keeping them comfortable, dry and free of friction,” IPFH executive director Robert Thompson said. “We advocate that consumers follow an ‘integrated approach’ to help prevent injury to the skin/soft tissue of the foot.”
The approach includes first finding appropriately padded socks or inserts if recommended by a doctor. Those will ensure that the feet don’t slip and slide in shoes, which is one of the causes of lesions.
Next, Thompson said it’s important to have people get their feet measured with a Brannock device, which offers accurate sizing. Only 18 percent of adults have done so, the survey found.
Finally, people should have their walking gait analyzed to help them determine how to solve any posture- or movement-related problems if they’re suffering from foot injuries.
“Gait analysis is important in identifying physical and biomechanical issues that can develop into longer term problems,” Thompson said.
Ultimately, adults are advised to visit physicians if they encounter foot issues.
Dr. Jennifer Granquist is a podiatrist at Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing. She sees patients for comprehensive or continuous long-term care of foot problems ranging from dermatology to orthopedic issues.
“My practice is wide-ranging,” said Dr. Granquist. “But it is designed to help keep people on their feet and maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.”
“Getting people to take care of their feet can be a first step toward getting them moving and on the road to better overall health,” IPFH Scientific Advisory Board member Terrance Sheehan said.