Listen to the podcast:
Many of us spend all day on our feet, and It’s estimated that 3 out of 4 adults have some sort of foot problem. We asked Dr. Martin Chaney, a podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon who works at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – Alamo Heights, to determine when you should seek medical attention for those problem feet. Dr. Chaney answers our questions, and provides six tips for keeping those feet and toes healthy:
What are some of the most common foot complaints that walk through your door? Overuse injuries such as tendinitis, heel pain called plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, arthritis. Acute injuries such as fracture and tendon tears are common all year round with the South Texas climate. We can be active all year long.
A woman has a pair of shoes that complement an outfit, but ooh, do they hurt! Can shoes that hurt your feet lead to greater problems? Wearing any shoes that are hurting and putting your foot in an abnormal position can cause soft tissue injury and stress fractures. High heels are a frequent cause of fractures. Even switching from high heels to a lower shoe after years of use causes injury and strains due to the change in heel height. The calf muscle gets very tight and the foot can get used to being in that high arch position.
Foot blisters – do you pop them, or leave them alone? Small blister are best left alone to heal on their own. Larger blisters can be difficult to get in shoes and get larger with pressure. I de-roof or “pop” them if larger than a quarter. Blisters are a tell-tale sign that there is something wrong either with the body, your activities, or with the shoes you are wearing.
Most people don’t understand, but that sneaker, cross trainer, or running shoe can literally wear out. What are the dangers of wearing old shoes? Old shoes no longer provide the support your feet are used to receiving. For instance, mowing the lawn in a year-old, worn-out pair of shoes causes overuse injuries that result in ligament injury, tendon injury, and stress fractures. The joints below the ankle being in a more flattened position can become painful.
What is it with foot odor, especially with the teenagers in my house? It’s usually not a sign of ill health. Our feet have more sweat glands than any other part of our body. The 250,000 sweat glands can produce a half a pint of perspiration each day.
Finally, what diseases are connected to the health of your feet? The most common one I see is diabetes, and it is very prevalent in San Antonio, Texas. Even less obvious diseases such as thyroid, parathyroid, osteoporosis, and peripheral vascular disease from years of smoking are very prevalent and harmful to your feet. There are a lot of genetic abnormalities that manifest themselves within the feet and cause pain, such as abnormal bone formation, ligamentous laxity causing excessive motion in joints, and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
You should see a doctor if your pain continues to increase throughout the day. As we said earlier about diabetic individuals, be aware the painful burning in the feet can be a sign of poor circulation, and it may be time to call the podiatrist.
Dr. Chaney’s tips for healthy feet:
- Inspect your feet routinely.
- Wash your feet.
- Don’t wear shoes that hurt.
- Slowly work your way into any new exercise routine or activity that you may not be used to performing
- Alternate the shoes you wear each day.
- Elevate your feet.
Dr. D. Martin Chaney, DPM, FACFAS
Send your questions or comments to www.csrlivewell.org, and help keep those feet under you!