When you need professional foot and ankle care, you can trust Dr. DeCato and Associates to provide the services necessary to relieve your pain and restore functionality. Of course, you also play an essential role when it comes to your health – one that is much bigger than the medical professionals perform for you.
If you want to have optimal health—and all of the activity options that come along with being healthy—then you need to do things like eat well, exercise regularly, and pay attention for any potential body issues that might arise. This extends to every area of your body, including your lower limbs.
General Preventative Foot Care Guide
With regard to the measures you can take for foot care at home, you are already at a great starting point. Learning what is necessary for the health of your feet, and being able to recognize potential issues, is the foundation for taking action to reduce your risk of injury and medical issues.
When medical problems develop, you can always schedule an appointment to see one of our podiatrists, but it is considerably better to simply avoid them from developing in the first place. The good news about preventing foot problems is that the measures you should take are not particularly difficult.
Some of the best preventative care measures for foot problems include:
- Wear proper footwear. You might buy your shoes at the store, but you decide what you will wear during the day at home. Choose sensible, comfortable footwear that does not constrict your toes or place excessive pressure on the front of your feet.
- Exercise on a regular basis. Both stretching and strengthening exercises can benefit your lower limbs in many ways, including lowering your risk for injury. Our office can recommend specific exercises to keep your feet and ankles strong and limber. This is a great way to prevent heel pain.
- Eat a healthy diet. Your food choices are important for many different reasons, including the health and well-being of your lower limbs. Eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D for strong bones, avoid consuming too much sugar (to lower your risk of diabetes), and stick to a diet centered on whole grains, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and limited quantities of lean meat to either manage or prevent gout.
- Don’t lose sight of your feet. If you are diabetic, you should already be performing a daily foot check to make sure you catch any problems or abnormalities at their earliest stages, but this can be a good idea for anyone. Feet are often covered in socks and shoes or boots, so take a little time to inspect them periodically to ensure everything is okay or to catch issues at their earliest, most treatable stages.
Diabetic Foot Care Preventative Measures
There are many things you can—and should!—do to keep your feet healthy when you have diabetes. Measures you need to take for responsible diabetic foot care include:
- Manage your diabetes. Work with your normal healthcare provider to keep your blood glucose levels in your target range.
- Check your feet on a daily basis. Look at your bare feet for cuts, swelling, blisters, areas of redness and anything else that is not normal. If you cannot see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask a loved one to help.
- Stay physically active. Plan your physical activity program with your health team (to ensure inclusion of appropriate activities).
- Wear the right shoes. Not sure what you need with regard to diabetic footwear? Our team can help!
- Wash your feet every day. After a thorough cleaning with a soft washcloth, dry them carefully. Make sure the areas between toes are completely dry (to reduce your risk of fungal infection).
- Keep your skin soft and smooth. Rub a thin coat of skin lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between your toes.
- Have our team trim your toenails when needed. Having your nails clipped by professionals reduces your risk for an ingrown toenail condition.
- Wear shoes and socks at all times. Never walk barefoot, and wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet. Always check inside your shoes before putting them on to make sure there are no objects inside.
- Protect your feet from hot and cold. Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Don’t put your feet into hot water. Test water before putting your feet in it just as you would before bathing a baby. Never use hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets. You can burn your feet without realizing it.
- Get started now. Begin taking good care of your feet today. Set a time every day to check your feet.
Care when Issues Arive
In an ideal world, it would be possible to prevent all medical issues from happening, but this is simply not the case in the real world. Even when you eat right, exercise, and wear appropriate footwear, problems still might develop. When they do, there are some treatment components we will have you do in the comfort of your own home. These can include rest, ice, medication, elevation, and immobilization.
Beyond conservative care at home, you should also understand what a surgical recovery might entail. Our goal is to treat your condition or injury with nonsurgical means, but sometimes surgery is recommended or necessary. In these instances, while the procedure itself is quite important for enabling you to overcome the problem, but the actions you take at home while recovering can be equally important. Following our postoperative instructions is essential for successful recovery!
For more information on what you can do at home for your foot care, or to have any of your questions answered, call Dr. DeCato and Associates at (440) 992-4477. You can also connect with us online today.