When you’re exercising this summer, don’t forget to take care of your feet.
“Foot health contributes to your overall health. From beginners to advanced athletes, proper foot care is important to keep your body healthy,” said Dr. John Giurini, chief of podiatric surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
One of the most common foot problems for active people is a condition called plantar fasciitis. It’s an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue in the arch of the foot.
“Under normal circumstances, your plantar fascia helps absorb the shock of pounding on pavement,” Giurini said in a center news release. “But repetitive stretching can lead to inflammation and irritation, and even small tears.”
Overuse can cause plantar fasciitis, but it also occurs without an obvious cause. Being flat-footed, having a high arch, being overweight or doing work that keeps you on your feet all day put you at risk.
“Most cases can be treated conservatively with rest, ice and stretching to give the inflammation time to heal,” Giurini said. “In some cases, steroid injections and surgical procedures may be necessary to alleviate this pain.”
Blisters are another potential foot problem.
“This is where proper shoe fit is important, as are socks,” Giurini said. “Breaking in new shoes gradually can help prevent a blister. Wicking-type of socks that absorb sweat can also help.”
If a blister is starting to form, apply a bandage or piece of tape to the skin to prevent further irritation. If the blister gets bigger or more painful, or redness develops around it, you should have it checked for infection.
Toenail injuries can occur if your shoes are too small or big. Ensure your shoes fit properly and keep your toenails trimmed.
If you suffer a sprain or strain, remember RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on foot health.