Thursday, April 26, 2007

How to maintain 'happy feet'

The human foot is a marvel of biomechanical engineering that most people take for granted until the system breaks down. The average person will walk the equivalent of twice around the world in a lifetime. 

Podiatrists in the UCLA Medical Group offer the following tips for maintaining healthy feet: 

+Inspect feet regularly and pay attention to changes in color, texture or appearance. 

+Maintain good foot hygiene, including washing and drying between the toes. 

+Hydrate the skin. Southern California weather and open shoes can cause rapid loss of moisture from the skin and may result in cracking or the formation of fissures. It is helpful to replace the moisture content by using lotions or creams on a regular basis. 

+Buy shoes that fit properly. A person may not wear the same size in shoes made by different manufacturers. Purchase new shoes late in the day when feet tend to be at their largest. Always buy the shoes that feel the best. 

+Don't ignore foot pain. Symptoms that increase or do not resolve within a reasonable period of time need evaluation by a podiatrist. 

+Cut toenails straight across. Never cut into the corners- this could cause an ingrown toenail. Gently file away sharp corners or rough edges with an emery board. 

+Exercise. Walking is a great way to keep weight under control and is an excellent conditioner for the feet. Wear appropriate athletic shoes when exercising. 

+Alternate shoes each day. Since the feet have sweat glands, shoes will absorb moisture from feet. It's important to allow shoes to dry out completely. 

+Avoid walking barefoot to help protect feet from injury and infection. 

+Put sunblock on feet while wearing sandals during the day to avoid sunburn. 

Reference Source: UCLA News. 

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