Ray C., a Truck News reader, sent me some good advice regarding last month’s article on ingrown toenails which I’d like to share with you. He wrote:
“Here is a tip that I have used and it works well. If a nail is broken and trying to dig into the side, I slide some thin plastic tape in between the nail and skin, scrape the top surface of the nail to get a good bonding surface, apply a blob of five-minute epoxy and taper it back on the nail. Keep still for a few minutes until it cures and problem solved! The nail grows out and the epoxy forms a nice smooth edge to glide along the skin as it grows. I have done it a number of times with myself, and my family/friends.”
Continuing with the foot this month, let’s look at some other common, but preventable, foot problems. In general, they happen because of exercise or shoes that don’t fit right.
Some exercise-related problems are: Achilles tendonitis (irritation and/or inflammation of the tendon that attaches to the back of the heel bone); plantar fasciitis (pain on the bottom of the feet which can be very irritating, but not usually serious); heel pain or spurs (growths of bone on the underside, front part of the heel bone); and sesamoiditis (inflammation around the sesamoids – two small bones, ‘the ball bearings of the foot,’ found beneath the first joints of the toes); shin splints (pain at either side of the shin bone); stress fractures (not complete fractures, but incomplete cracks in the bone).
To avoid these exercise-related conditions, be sure to start any exercise with warm ups and stretching. And don’t abuse your feet by over-training. Then when you’re done, cool down and stretch. While exercising, don’t forget to wear athletic shoes that fit well.
Even if you don’t have an exercise program, you should choose all your footwear carefully. Shoes and boots that don’t fit well can cause these problems: bunions (misaligned big toe joints that are swollen and tender, or a painful enlargement at the joint of the big toe. Tailor’s bunion, can occur on the little toe due to sitting cross-legged for long periods of time); corns and calluses (patches of dead layers of skin which become thick, protecting skin that has be abused or stressed by excessive pressure); blisters (raised bubbles of skin caused by friction shifting the top skin layer away from the deeper tissue).
If you don’t want to take up exercising, stay healthy by walking as much as possible.
Walking is a great conditioner, as it conditions your heart and lungs, increasing your body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently.
Walking acts as a defender, helping reduce the risk of other health problems.
Walking reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, osteoporosis and some forms of cancer while burning fat and building muscle. Walking is a joint-saver, burning about as many calories as running, but delivering only one quarter of the jolt to your joints and muscles. Walking relieves stress. Not only that, but walking is the best exercise for your feet. It uses all the muscles without causing too much stress or strain.
If you’re into sports (and can fit some games in between runs) be sure to warm up first. Try to participate in a variety of sports, too. Then, you won’t stress one particular area of your foot every time you play.
Exercising or not, shoes or boots, when it’s time to buy footwear, keep these ideas in mind.
First, go shopping in the afternoon because your feet usually swell over the day. If you do, the shoes/boots you buy should fit you in the morning and the afternoon. As well, go to a reputable shoe store and have your feet measured each time you buy a pair. When there, get your feet measured when you’re standing up, because they’ll change shape while supporting your weight. As well, try on both shoes/boots; one of them is usually larger and you want both shoes/boots to fit.
Pay attention to how the shoes/boots really fit (not just if they look great).
You don’t want to limp to your next load because the skin covering the bony areas of your foot has been rubbing against the inside of your shoe or boot. Remember that the condition and fit of the shoe is more important than the name, price, or look!
Finally, when they start to fall apart (the insole falls out, the arch support falls, or the mid-sole wears out), throw them away (even if they are your favourites) and go shopping for your next pair.
Although there are some foot conditions you can’t avoid, like normal wear and tear, use these tips to keep your feet in tip top condition. Start this year on the right foot.
– Karen Bowen is a professional health and nutrition consultant and she can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.