Framingham Online News

Helping Your Feet Help You

Filed under: Health & Fitness by News Staff at 12:09 am on September 10, 2004

Advice From the Framingham Board of Health

Contributed by Jim Gordon

FRAMINGHAM, MA - Good foot care is important for all - the young and the elderly, those in good health and those with medical issues. By following a few simple steps, one can give much extra protection to foot care. We recently spoke to Dr. Brian Wascavage who is a graduate of Temple University and a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine and has a Podiatry practice on Lincoln Street in Framingham.

Dr. Wascavage says, "It is most important to fit feet to shoes, rather than fit shoes to feet. For example a wide foot put into a narrow shoe can cause problems such as ingrown toenails and blisters, and corns. Specialty shoe stores with experienced employees usually do a better job in fitting the customer with the appropriate shoe".

In some cases Wascavage advises using orthotics, which is a customized insert based on the shape of the individual's foot which fits inside the shoes and may help in improving support for those with flat feet or major problems with bunions or heel spurs. In a comment which should be a delight to school children Wascavage says " Sneakers are generally better for the feet than dress shoes as they have a larger base and better support for both sports and general walking. Young children have bones in their feet which are much softer than adults and changes in their feet can occur relatively quickly. Sneakers help provide the feet with good support", Wascavage added.

For winter shoe support Wascavage recommends a rubber sole which gives more traction than leather shoes. He also said, "One should not cram his feet into boots, as the boot should fit properly. Winter boots can cause feet to sweat and this could possibly lead to Athletes Foot".

Athlete's Foot which is a fungus caused from sweaty feet, can usually be controlled by powdering the feet, keeping the feet clean and dry and changing socks regularly. Many diabetics have complications with their feet and toenails, including neuropathy (which is numbness in the feet) and circulation problems in the feet. Diabetics should check their feet daily for any cuts, bruises, athletes foot and ingrown toenails . Wascavage recommends diabetics change their socks and shoes once or twice a day to lessen the pressure on the feet. Diabetics should regularly discuss with their personal physician a regular preventative program in order to help provide good foot care. Wascavage says "Walking helps to strengthen muscles".

For exercise walking is not only great for cardiovascular health but it helps keep the feet in shape. Stretching before exercise is very important as if one does not stretch he may be more likely to receive an injury. Wascavage has some reservations about treadmill use as he says treadmills are hard on the feet. The Doctor said "Treadmills should not be used on an incline level".

He recommends taking short strides. Of course each individual should discuss his exercise program and foot care situation with his own physician and podiatrist. Keep your feet in good shape. See you on the track!

(Jim Gordon is chairman of the Board of Health in Framingham)

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