April is a lovely month for many reasons. Spring weather is here, baby animals are frolicking, and— hopefully— you’re ready to step into the season with energy! April is also National Foot Health Awareness Month. We’ll discuss how this celebration of feet came about and what you can do to keep your feet and ankles in tip-top shape.
The History of Foot Health Awareness Month
The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) has celebrated feet during April for many years. Since the organization began in 1912, foot health has come a long way with greater awareness and education for the care of your feet and safer procedures to correct existing foot problems. The purpose of foot health awareness month is to bring attention to what keeps us going day after day: our feet!
Why Is Foot Health Awareness Important?
Every year, approximately 20% of Americans will have foot problems with at least one foot. This doesn’t come as a surprise since a single foot has 26 bones, 30 joints, and over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. With all of the components of your feet working together to keep you moving day after day, it’s only right to take extra care of your feet.
Additionally, proper foot care now can help prevent issues later down the road. If you already have toe woes, foot fiascos, or angry ankles, addressing the issue with a podiatrist can keep your feet happy and potentially avoid needing advanced treatment options in the future.
To show your feet you care this month— and every month of the year after— you can follow these four steps to achieve foot nirvana:
4 Foot Health Tips
1. Check Your Feet as Part of Your Routine
As a part of your daily health regimen, examine your feet and ankles carefully. Note any pain, swelling, bumps, or changes in your toenails, as these could be signs of foot troubles. You can also take this time to trim your toenails, apply lotion, or put on a fresh pair of compression socks if needed. If you have a more serious problem with your feet, see your podiatrist to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
2. Stretch Before Strenuous Activities
Stretching before you walk, run, or play an active sport can help reduce the risk of injury and strengthen your feet for better reliability. Consider gently rolling your ankles, splaying your toes, and lifting your heel to stretch the bottom of your foot. Consistency with your stretch routine is a great way to thank your feet for holding you up.
Some stretches, like for plantar fasciitis, can reduce pain and keep you moving confidently throughout the day. Keep in mind that if you have a foot condition, the wrong stretches could worsen your pain or other symptoms. Following an exercise plan under the care of your podiatrist can ensure your feet and ankles are getting the necessary amount of correct physical therapy stretches.
3. Talk With a Podiatrist for Preexisting Conditions
You shouldn’t have to live with painful or mobility-limiting foot or ankle conditions. National Foot Health Awareness Month is the perfect time to see your podiatrist so they can help you identify the cause of your symptoms. Even if you suspect a serious issue, your experienced podiatrist can work with you to create a treatment plan and potentially correct the problem if caught early on.
4. Check Your Shoes
Last year’s Spring footwear may not cut it when it comes to protecting your feet and preventing injury. Shoes should be replaced roughly every eight months— or sooner if they no longer fit or show signs of wear and tear. Before you grab a new pair, have your feet measured to see if changes in your beautifully aging feet have affected your shoe size.
Not all shoes can offer the support your feet need. Shoe inserts can help keep your feet cushioned and protected from increased pressure when walking on hard surfaces. Consider using the right podiatrist-approved shoe inserts if you have bunions, flat feet, high arches, or other foot concerns.
Foot Health Year Round
National Foot and Health Awareness Month should be celebrated every month by taking the best care of your feet so they can take care of you. Foot & Ankle Group is here to help keep your feet happy, no matter the time of year. Contact us today for more information.