Your feet do a lot for you. Make sure you do right by them.
You depend on your feet to take you everywhere you need to go. It’s no surprise, then, that they may need some maintenance to feel their best.
“Some of the problems we see, such as bunions and hammertoes, develop due to hereditary factors and the shoes you wear,” said Tim Ford, DPM, FCFAS, podiatric surgeon and director of KentuckyOne Health’s Podiatric Residency Program. “Others, such as diabetes-related wounds, can be prevented with proper medical care and watchfulness. We can help diagnose foot problems and guide patients to relief.”
Some of the most common problems Dr. Ford and his colleagues address include:
- Bunion — A large bump on the side of the big toe that occurs in certain foot types. Symptoms include pain, redness, inflammation and numbness.
- Hammertoe — Typically starts out as mild bending of one or both joints in your toes (not the big toe). Hammertoe is often aggravated by poorly fitting shoes.
- Plantar fasciitis — Inflammation of the band connecting your heel to the base of your toes that often causes heel pain. According to Dr. Ford, people with a high arch or flat foot are especially prone to plantar fasciitis.
Dr. Ford and the podiatry team also help patients with traumatic foot and ankle injuries, which include broken bones, lacerations and even injuries sustained from lawn mowers or other equipment. Treatments provided by the practice range from medication, bracing and other conservative therapies to surgical procedures for bunions and even total ankle replacement.
Wound care management for foot and the lower leg/ankle is an integral part of podiatry care at the new Wound Care Center at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health.
Knowledge Is Prevention
It’s important to stay familiar with your feet. Inspect them regularly. That way, you’ll notice quickly if something is wrong.
This is particularly important for individuals with diabetes, who, due to diabetic nerve damage, may not feel pain from slow-healing wounds. Don’t wait to see your doctor if you have any concerns. Podiatrists can help with discomfort and possibly even save your feet.
High Heel How-to
High heels are stylish, professional and just plain fun — but if you wear them too often, they could damage your feet. Their instability makes it easier to turn your ankle, which could cause a sprain or fracture.
“If you stay in high heels too long, you also develop a tight (shortened) Achilles tendon, and it becomes difficult to get your foot flat to the ground,” said Dr. Ford. “Swap heels periodically for flat-soled shoes, and you should be OK.”
This article originally appeared in the 2017 Fall edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.
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