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Q&A On foot health

May 06, 2002|BY Christine L. Moats

With sandal and barefoot season upon us, we can see our feet again, and they may give us pause.

Q: How can I maintain healthy feet?

A: The answers may surprise you.

- Wear footwear that fits properly.

- Don't go barefoot even in your home.

- Use ice to treat a foot or ankle injury. This reduces swelling and pain. Do not use heat as it draws blood to the injured area which will cause more swelling.

- Walk - it is good for your feet and the rest of your body.

When walking, land on the heel of your foot and roll forward to push off on the ball of your foot.

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- Check into "walking pumps." These shoes are similar to athletic shoes and have more toe room, reinforced heels, and are available in many styles.

- Try to avoid shoes that have a heel height of greater than 2 inches, especially if you must wear them for long periods of time.

- Always wear athletic shoes for the sport or activity they were intended for; one sport's athletic shoe may not work for another sport.

- Foot pain is not normal. If you injure your ankle or foot, or feel that you have an infection, seek medical attention for treatment.

Q: How do I choose a good shoe for walking?

A: According to the American Podiatry Association, you should choose a shoe of good quality, which is lightweight, allowing breathability for your foot.

The upper materials should be made of leather or nylon mesh. There should not be a lot of cushioning in the heel area so that your heel can be closer to the ground, providing stability while walking. The front part of the shoe should provide support and flexibility.

The best time to try shoes on is later in the day when your feet have had time to swell. If you use this trick, you'll avoid buying shoes that are too tight.

Source: www.apma.org (American Podiatry Association)

Christine L. Moats is wellness coordinator for Washington County Hospital.

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