A study conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association found that, of the 1000 adults surveyed, 77 percent advised that they experienced foot pain. Even more alarmingly, only a third of those said they would be seeking treatment from a podiatrist or your primary care physician. See https://stepcareclinic.ie/ for more information.
We rely on our feet for our mobility and independence, so keeping on top of your foot health is vital. Here are three reasons to ditch the blasé attitude and take your foot health seriously.
1. Foot problems can be indicative of more serious illnesses
From numbness to heel pain, problems with your feet can hint at other issues with your health. Persistently cold feet, for example, can be associated with peripheral artery disease, a condition that narrows the arteries and reduces blood flow to the limbs. This needs to be monitored closely by your doctor, as low blood flow increases your risk of developing life-threatening sores or infections and can even lead to amputation if untreated.
Difficulty lifting the front part of your foot is also something to watch out for. Foot drop is caused by paralysis or weakness of your muscles and can be a sign of an underlying neurological disorder, such as ALS or multiple sclerosis.
General poor foot health can also be an indicator of Type 2 Diabetes, which can lead to severe complications if not managed effectively.
2. Foot health can decline with age
Just because you’ve never had problems with your feet before, you can’t afford to be complacent. Foot health often deteriorates over time, as aging muscles and tendons can lose elasticity and contribute to foot pain.
Other factors, such as obesity or diabetes, can compound your risk of suffering discomfort as you age. Seeking treatment from a podiatrist (often medication or gentle stretches) before the problem gets too severe can help you to reduce symptoms, manage discomfort and keep mobility.
3. Poor foot health can severely impact your quality of life
Perhaps the most important reason to keep an eye on your foot health is your quality of life. As busy individuals, we can learn to dismiss or adapt to discomfort. For example, you may experience heel pain and combat this by taking the elevator instead of the stairs or switching from walking to work to driving.
These adjustments might seem minor but, over time, you may find yourself losing more and more mobility and independence. Not only can this lead to missing out on experiences, such as playing with grandchildren, but decreased mobility can also have a dramatic impact on your overall health. Research has shown that sedentary individuals have significantly higher risks of developing cardiovascular disease than their physically mobile peers.
It might be tempting to ignore your foot health but doing so can have serious long-term repercussions. If you’re experiencing foot pain or changes in function, make an appointment with a podiatrist today to create a treatment plan that is right for you. And remember, prevention is always better than cure.