12 Habits That Damage Our Feet: Insights From A Podiatrist

Podiatrist Marietta GA healthy feet

Feet are important to daily activity. And yet, most people take their feet for granted by doing things that damage their foot health. As a podiatrist in Marietta GA, I have interacted with many patients. A key observation is that most are unaware of the harm they may be causing to their feet. Here are 12 of the most common foot offenses we habitually commit:

#1: Ignoring changes in your feet

I can’t stress this enough — don’t forget to pay attention to your feet! It’s important to perform self-checks on a frequent basis so as to identify any changes in your feet. To perform a quick self-examination, do the following:

  • Start by taking off your shoes
  • Check for proper circulation: Verify that the color of your toes is not unusual. Then, pinch the nail of your big toe for a few seconds – once you let go, does your nail return to the original color? Have you lost hair on your foot or leg?
  • Check for flexibility: Can you flex your toes well?
  • Check for sensation: Take a small object and run it on the top, sides, and bottom of your feet – Do you feel anything?
  • Check for balance: Stand on one foot and see if you can balance yourself
  • Check for pain: If you are experiencing pain, it’s usually because something is not quite right               

#2: Wearing flat shoes on a regular basis

Most of my female patients are aware that high heels tend to damage feet over time. So, many resort to flat shoes thinking they are much better. This is not usually the case because the flat shoes on the market today may provide little to no arch support. In the long run, this can lead to foot pain and worsen conditions such as flatfeet and plantar fasciitis. If you still choose to wear flat shoes, then ensure that they have a cushioned base. Further, check that they can support your arches. Orthotics can be helpful in this regard.

#3: Buying shoes without first getting measured

About 88% of women and 80% of men in the U.S wear shoes that are too small for their feet

Our feet can change because of events such as pregnancy or other medical conditions. They can also change as a normal consequence of our ligaments and tendons loosening as we age. Failing to get feet measured increases the chances of wearing ill-fitting shoes. When shoes are too small, they rub against the skin and joints. Over time, this can lead to foot disorders such as blisters, bunions, and hammertoes

#4: Improper cutting of toenails

This might not seem like a big deal. After all, anybody can cut toenails, right? Wrong! In my podiatry practice, I see many patients with ingrown toenails. Number 1 culprit? Improper cutting of toenails.  Ingrown toenails occur when the nail grows into the flesh instead of over it, particularly on the big toe. This can cause a lot of pain and inflammation.  To avoid ingrown toenails, cut your nails straight across the top – not in a rounded or v shape. Also, don’t cut your nails too low.

 #5: Not wearing socks – particularly when exercising

The soles of your feet contain more sweat glands and sensitive nerve-endings per square centimeter than any other part of your body.

Do you love the idea of ‘freeing’ your feet and going without socks? Here’s why you should abandon this habit.

Good socks absorb sweat quickly. Without socks, shoe insoles absorb sweat and can take up to 48 hours to dry. Unfortunately, fungus thrives in dark, moist environments. So, when we put our feet in shoes without socks, we can expose them to fungal infections. Also, the fungus can survive for a long time. When we keep wearing the same shoes without socks, we open ourselves up to getting reinfected. Do yourself a favor and wear those socks!

#6. Running barefoot 

These days, it has become somewhat fashionable to run without shoes. In my opinion, the pros do not outweigh the cons. Good running shoes protect the muscles and tendons in our feet. When we go barefoot, we don’t get this protection while running. Besides, we open ourselves up to foot injuries caused by sharp objects.

#7. Getting pedicures 

Most of us like a good foot pampering and pedicures generally seem like a good idea. If your nail salon is not extra careful though,  your feet could suffer as a result of your pedicure. To avoid getting infections, check that your pedicurist does the following:

  •  Uses bath liners in the foot tub
  •  Sterilizes metal tools between clients
  •  Uses non-metal tools only once for each client or allows you to bring your own pedicure kit

#8. Wearing worn-out shoes 

Even the greatest pair of shoes loses its ability to support your feet and absorb shock after some time. Old shoes can change the way you stand, walk or run in damaging ways. Over time, they can also lead to foot pain. This is especially true for runners that don’t replace running shoes ever so often. Generally, we recommend that you replace your running shoes every 300 miles.

#9. Running or walking long distances in a new pair of shoes 

Got a race coming up? Participating in a walk for a good cause? Don’t ditch your usual pair of running or walking shoes for a brand new pair that you can wear on the day of. Running or walking long distances in a new pair of shoes can promote blisters or shin splints. This is because you have not yet broken into your new shoes. So, use shoes that you have worn several times already – your feet will thank you.

#10. Forgetting to exercise your feet

Most people know that exercise is an important part of a healthy routine. Yet, exercising our feet is often forgotten which is a shame because it can help to reduce your risk of foot injury. Try the simple foot exercise in the video below. Another option is to do the following:

  • Sit in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor
  • Raise one leg so the foot is off the floor
  • Then, make circles with your big toe by moving it in a clockwise direction 10-15 times.  Repeat in the counterclockwise direction
  • Perform the same exercise on the other leg

#11. Shopping for shoes early in the day 

What most people are not aware of is that shopping for shoes early in the day is not always the best. It’s much better to shop later in the day so that your feet are a little bit more swollen than they are in the morning. This will help you to get a better fitting shoe.  Also, if the shoes need socks, make sure you have them on when trying on potential new shoes.

#12. Believing old wives tales about foot remedies 

Some at-home remedies can bring about temporary relief from foot pain. But, I have seen many foot conditions worsen because patients decide to self-treat.  For serious or chronic foot problems, I recommend seeing a foot doctor.

To download a free checklist of these 12 conditions, click here

To get a foot evaluation, reach out to our podiatry clinic in Marietta, GA. We treat all foot and ankle disorders and will be happy to provide recommendations to get you back on your feet!

Working out? Here’s how to prevent foot pain

Do you know that your feet contain only a quarter of the bones in your entire body and yet bear all of your body’s weight? In fact, during exercise, the pressure on our feet can expand to more than twenty times our body’s weight. It’s no surprise then that high-impact exercise can be one of the major causes of foot pain, which can leave us feeling down and eliminate or reduce any post workout highs. Fortunately, a few measures taken before or immediately after working out can help ensure that we do not put undue stress on our feet:

Wear proper shoes

Before you begin any exercise routine, take the time to ensure that you have the right gear. A key component of that gear should be your footwear as this can make a huge difference in the level of pain you experience in your feet post workout. To find the best shoes for exercising, shop in an athletic footwear store and get your feet properly measured. Next, ensure that your desired footwear is well-constructed with a flexible bed for your toes, a solid heel counter for the back of your feet and extra supportive cushion in the form of padded insoles.

Do warm up exercises

At the start of your workout program, make sure that you warm up your muscles, including those in your feet. A quick and effective warm up for your feet is to sit in a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Then, raise one leg and use the big toe on that foot to draw circles in the air 10 to 20 times. Reverse the direction and draw another 10-20 circles. Repeat the exercise with the other leg and foot.

Ease into a workout routine

One sure route to foot pain and other types of bodily aches is to begin an exercise program and quickly over exert yourself. It’s a common mistake that most people make – don’t do it! Going too hard too quickly can lead to foot pain and cause other conditions such as blisters, foot fractures, and tendonitis just to name a few.

Elevate your feet while resting

Post-work out foot pain usually arises from swollen feet and elevating your feet helps to counter this issue by improving circulation. Make sure that you are raising your feet at least to the level of your heart.

Pamper your feet

After working out, trying rubbing your feet to relieve tired and sore muscles. To do this effectively, rub the top of the foot, slowly working your way down to the sole with increasing pressure. In addition, it’s a great idea to soak your feet in a warm Epsom salt bath for 20-30 minutes. The magnesium in the salt will help relax your muscles and can help to reduce inflammation and swelling.

If you find that your foot pain persists even after implementing some of these home remedies, it’s time to contact your podiatrist. If you live in the Marietta, GA area and are in need of a highly regarded Marietta Podiatrist, contact us today. Our foot doctor, Dr. Fui Dawson, will provide you with an expert evaluation.



6 Tips To Prevent Foot Pain

Many of us are always on our feet. That’s why dealing with foot pain can be quite debilitating and reduce our overall sense of well-being. It is therefore certainly in our best interest to prevent this condition before it even wears us down. Fortunately, there are a few prudent steps we can take to bolster the health of our feet and consequently prevent or manage foot pain. Below are six top tips:

Maintain a healthy weight

It’s no secret that our feet bear the brunt of the work for transporting us from one place to the other. That’s why the more pressure we exert on them as a result of our weight, the more likely we are to experience foot problems. In fact, there are many recent studies that have confirmed that the more excess weight we carry, the more likely we are to deal with foot and ankle problems such as arthritis, heel pain, fractures, and sprains. Losing just a few extra pounds can alleviate the foot pain caused by carrying excess body weight.

Don’t go barefoot

It seems like the most natural thing in the world – and for many of us, walking barefoot conjures up idealistic images of being free and enjoying nature without any barriers. However, going barefoot can cause havoc to our feet and can exacerbate foot issues like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and neuroma. When we walk barefoot, our feet don’t have the proper support and doing this for a substantial period of time, particularly on hard surfaces, could result in inflammation of the fascia, leading to foot pain.

Wear proper shoes

To prevent foot pain, wearing proper shoes is absolutely vital. That means avoiding flip flops and high heels for long periods of time as these can lead to corns, bunions, and other foot related issues. The best shoes for our feet are those that have thick, rigid soles to provide good support, a wide toe box so our feet are not squashed, and ones that provide good rear-foot control.

Consider custom orthotics

Orthotics are devices worn to provide foot support and correct foot and ankle problems. Clinical research studies have shown that podiatrist-prescribed foot orthotics decrease foot pain and improve function. While there are many over the counter brands, the best types of orthotics are those that are custom made especially to support your feet. These tend to mold more perfectly to the contours of your feet and provide the most comfort.

Perform foot stretches

Regularly stretching your feet will help to ease muscle pain. A quick and easy stretch that can be implemented just about anywhere is to try pointing and flexing your toes and ankles a few times. Another tried and true stretch is to sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, spread your toes apart and hold and release a few times.

Don’t forget to put your feet up – literally

Sometimes the simplest things in life can provide the most comfort. The simple act of elevating your feet regularly, such as at the end of a hard day’s work, can ease foot pain and bring about much-needed relief to aching feet.

If you experience chronic foot pain even after implementing some of these tips, speak to an experienced podiatrist. Are you in the Marietta, GA area and looking for a Marietta Podiatrist? Contact us – we would be happy to evaluate you and recommend some tailored treatment options for you.


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