AMO Plans Living Well
Keeping your feet healthy is an important part of your overall health and well being.
Each step you take involves a complex network of bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This, combined with all of the weight they carry, explains why over the years, feet can become more susceptible to problems that make walking more difficult and dangerous. While some of these issues result from genetics or specific medical conditions, many are caused by poor footwear choices, inadequate foot care, and muscle imbalances. Learn about some tips to keep your feet healthy and make sure you are taking the best steps forward!

Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight affects your feet by putting greater force on them with each step. It can also increase your risk of having a condition like arthritis in the feet and worsen pain from other foot problems. Being overweight can also harm foot health by putting you at higher risk for Diabetes or poor blood circulation, which can lead to foot pain and loss of sensation in the feet.
Stretch your feet: Feet that are tight can lead to less flexibility and make you more prone to injury. One of the most common forms of foot pain, plantar fasciitis, can be stretched out to help ease the pain. Stretching can not only ease pain from plantar fasciitis but prevent it as well.
Wear Good Shoes :The average person takes about 7,500 steps per day. After putting shoes on for the day, most people never give their feet a second thought. However, serious foot complications can arise from wearing ill-fitting shoes. Shoes that are too tight or too loose can cause and aggravate problems such as bunions, corns and ingrown toenails. Wearing shoes made of leather allows for air to circulate. Also look for shoes made of mesh fabrics for maximum breath-ability.
Healthy feet starts with good hygiene: Your feet have sweat glands galore, 250,000 in each foot! Perspiration creates the perfect environment for bacteria to set up shop. Wearing socks will help keep your feet dry. Thoroughly clean and scrub your feet with soap and water when you bathe. Afterward, dry them well as fungal organisms thrive on moisture. Cut toenails straight across and avoid trimming too close to the skin or drastically rounding the corners of the nails.
The Foot Bone is Connected to
Two common conditions that affect millions of Americans' feet are Peripheral Artery Disease and Diabetes. These conditions can damage arteries that bring blood to your lower extremities.
One of the ways Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is diagnosed is by comparing the blood pressure in your feet to the blood pressure in your arms.
Common symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease may include discomfort in the muscles of your feet. In severe cases, patients have extreme pain or tingling in the feet or toes.
A diet that is low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium, while also rich in fruits and vegetables, can help reduce your risk of Peripheral Artery Disease.
Diabetes can cause many types of foot problems, from skin changes to nerve damage, or neuropathy. According to the National Institutes of Health , as much as 70 percent of people with Diabetes have some form of neuropathy. Symptoms may include burning pain, tingling, or weakness in the feet.
According to the American Diabetes Association, a healthy diet is one of the keys to controlling blood sugar levels and managing your Diabetes. A Diabetes diet, means eating fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and moderate amounts of whole grains and healthy fats.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is important for your energy levels, focus and concentration, and yes – your feet! Drinking plenty of water can help you avoid foot swelling, sore muscles, and cramping.

Bones need plenty of calcium  and vitamin D to be at their best, and your feet are no exception. In fact, each foot has 26 bones in it that help you move and go about your daily activities, all while handling impact and supporting your body.
Stretching Exercises
Regularly exercising and stretching the feet and ankles can help to ensure that muscles are providing the best support. Benefits may include, increased blood flow and flexibility, relief from swelling and the tired sensation that is often felt in the ankles and feet.
Use a
Foam Roller
Using a foam roller or any cylindrical object (a water bottle will do), roll the object under your foot back and forth. You should also exert pressure on the object. Be sure to do this to both feet for a minute. Do this exercise three times each. Or, take a ball, such as a tennis ball, and roll it under your foot while seated and exert pressure on it.
Calf Stretch
Tight calves put a lot of strain on your feet. For a simple stretch, sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Lean forward and grab the arches of your feet. Pull your toes toward your body until a stretch is felt in your calf muscles. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

Finally hold your big toe while crossing one leg over the other. Pull the toe towards you and hold for 15 seconds. Do this three times per foot.
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Sources: American Diabetes Association; American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society ; medlineplus.gov; nih.gov

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