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Facts About Your Feet

Your feet are pretty small, considering that they support the entire weight of your body. However, they can cause some big problems — so pay attention to your feet.

Every step you take involves a remarkably intricate network of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. That complexity — combined with all the weight they carry — accounts for why feet can be so prone to problems, including bone fractures, arthritis and plantar fasciitis.

Potential Foot Problems

If left untreated, foot problems can worsen. Eventually, the pain can interfere with your ability to do even the most basic things, such as walking up stairs or down the street. If pain alters the way you walk, it can radiate to your knees, hips and back. These problems can multiply, limiting your activity and affecting your quality of life.

Several things can contribute to foot pain or numbness. Sports and physical activity can cause your feet to hurt or become numb. Going too far, too fast, or not warming up properly before exercise can increase your chances of painful or numbing injuries.

Excess weight puts extra stress on your feet. Poorly fitting shoes and other footwear are also common causes of foot problems.

Health disorders can also affect the feet. Lack of feeling in your feet could be a sign of a serious illness, such as diabetes, or a nerve disorder. See your doctor if you have unusual numbness in your feet or foot pain that is severe, comes on suddenly, or doesn’t improve with simple treatments such as rest or over-the-counter pain medications.

“Foot pain, even minor pain, can be nagging and effect every aspect of life, since you use your feet to walk!” says Dr. Alexandra Matthews, Sports Medicine Specialist with the Orthopedic Performance Institute. “There are some very conservative measures, like arch supports, correct toe spacing, correct show wear, to keep feet happy as and healthy, as well as more aggressive treatments that we use when appropriate.”

Keeping Your Feet Healthy

There are several ways to keep your feet healthy: Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Wash your feet regularly (especially between your toes), wear clean socks, and try to rotate your shoes to give them time to air out.

The more you exercise your feet, the better the blood flow to them, which is essential for overall foot health. Walking is a great way to exercise your feet.

You can also try these foot exercises:

Sit down and rotate your ankles in one direction, then the other. In bare feet, sit in a chair and curl your toes, then spread them out. This helps stretch and strengthen your feet and maintain balance.

If you’re feeling any of the foot symptoms described here, an appointment with your doctor or an orthopedic specialist may be needed. The Orthopedic Performance Institute is here to help. We’re dedicated to helping you stay on your feet for life.

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