Now that warmer weather is here, we are all eager to go outside and be more active. It is important to be mindful of your foot health as you start or increase your exercise regime. Start your spring by giving your feet & footwear the once over.
Checking Your Feet:
After cleaning your feet, sit on a bed, chair, in a well-lit room. Lift your one foot over your opposite leg so you can easily see your foot. Do a visual inspection. Search for any abnormalities on the top of your feet, such as scabs, sores, bruises, or corns. Rotate your ankle slightly so the sole of your foot is visible and angled upward.
Balls of feet: Scan the surface for bumps and irregular textures. Because this area endures high pressure when you walk, calluses or corns may develop. Proper-fitting footwear can reduce your risk.
Soles of feet: Feel for bumps and lumps, which can be signs of muscle or bone injuries. Contact your doctor if symptoms persist or if you notice open wounds called ulcers. If you are unable to see the bottom of your foot, use a handheld mirror to view its reflection.
Heels: Feel for dry, rough, or cracked skin. Even small fissures can become infected. For prevention, moisturise daily with odourless, colourless lotion. Don’t moisturise between toes; bacteria love warm, moist places.
Toes: To test for blood flow, gently squeeze the balls of your toes. Normal colour should return within five seconds. Discoloured toes indicate possible circulatory problems.
Toenails: Examine unpolished nails for thickness, discolouration, or flaking, which can be signs of fungal infections. A doctor may advise an over-the-counter or prescription treatment.
Around toenails: Look for ingrown toenails, characterised by reddened, puffy skin along the nail. Ingrown nails can require surgery if ignored for too long.
Check Your Footwear
Check your footwear and walking shoes. You should check your sports/walking shoes every six months to see if they are worn out and still offer the support you need. Remember to wear the correct footwear for the for the specific type of exercise or sport you are performing: running shoes for running, tennis shoes for tennis etc.
A good indication that your shoes might be approaching the end of their life is if you feel they are not as comfortable and supportive as when they were when you bought them. As the materials wear down, the cushioning and support begins to compress and the materials that the shoes are made of don’t “bounce back” as much as they once did.
Solesciene notes that there are three major indicators of wear on a shoe: outersole/outsole wear, midsole compression and upper or interior wear
Outersole wear: Take a look at the bottom of your shoe; if the sole is worn down excessively in any one area, it is likely time to replace them. Put your shoe on a flat, even surface at eye level. Most shoes should sit evenly, without tipping or rocking.
“Normal” wear occurs at the outside back of the heel and evenly across the ball of the foot. If you notice any excessive wear in any other areas it may be an indication that the shoe is worn out, or that you may need a different type of shoe for your biomechanical needs.
Midsole Typically, this layer is made from EVA which allows for mild compression during activity and rebounds after use. Over time EVA will begin to compress, with visible creases of wrinkles developing.
Upper or interior wear: Review the exterior of your shoe for wear and tear. Take a look at the inside of the back of the shoe. Excessive heel counter wear is an indication that the shoe is worn out and needs replacing. If the shoes are less than 6 months old and are wearing out at the heel, the shoe may not be appropriate for your foot.
If you remain unsure about your feet or footwear pop into FootBalance for a free foot assessment and disucss your foot health with one of our team.
Sources: The article is originally published on Footbalance. Both our own sources and sources from the internet such as solescience and foot health websites were used in the creation of this blog post.