Walking is powerful medicine.  It benefits many aspects of health that allows us to live long active lives.  Regular exercise like brisk walking can control blood sugar in people diagnosed with diabetes, reduce the risk of breast cancer, improve mental health, and prevent early death from heart attacks and strokes.  There are a host of additional benefits attributed to walking like weight control and stress relief.

All you need to participate in walking for exercise is a good pair of shoes and able feet.  There essentially is no other activity that is cheaper and easier to incorporate into a daily fitness routine.  But, there will be a price to pay if your feet are not cared for in order to keep them moving.

To keep feet healthy in walking,  here are some tips to help them stay comfortable and safe.

  1. Wear proper walking shoes.  Have a podiatrist determine your foot type in order to know the level of arch support, stability, and flexibility your feet require to avoid injury.  Flat feet and high arched feet have different needs. Read our blog on “Choosing the right shoes for your foot type” to learn more.  Make sure shoes bend where your feet bend, that the heel area is snug, and that there are plenty of room for your toes.
  2. Replace the shoe insole with a quality pair.  The insole which comes with an athletic shoe usually is not a lasting sturdy component of the shoe.  Replacing it with a shock absorbing insole can help keep you moving if your feet have lost some of its natural fat pad for cushioning.  I recommend Spence insoles which is one of the quality foot products available at our office.
  3. Don’t ignore or exercise through foot pain.  Foot pain can signal common conditions like plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and neuromas.  Custom foot orthotics can be helpful in stabilizing the feet in order for it to heal.
  4. Keep toenails cut just shorter than the length of the toe.  If the nail is too long, this can lead to bruised toenails that can get infected.  If the nail is too short, this can increase a person’t risk of ingrowing toenails.  Diabetics who have loss of feeling in their feet should have a podiatrist care for their nails.
  5. Wear proper socks.  If your feet tend to sweat excessively, synthetic socks that wick away moisture from the skin are better than cotton socks.  Avoiding excessive moisture inside shoes can reduce the risk of an athlete’s foot and/or an fungal nail infection.  If you have diabetes, the feet feet may tend to stay dry.  Cotton diabetic socks that do not have seams can keep feet comfortable and safe.

We must take good care of our feet in order to keep walking and enjoy a lifetime of benefits.  If you live in the Tuscaloosa area and are experiencing foot problems that are keeping you from staying active, contact podiatrist Dr. Rosemarie Caillier.  Visit our midtown Tuscaloosa office and allow us to help you get back on your feet.  To schedule an appointment, call (205) 409-0175.