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Get a Leg Up on Foot Care in April


SANTA BARBARA, CA - Are your dogs barking? If youíre like most people, chances are you experience some sort of foot discomfort. According to the Foot Health Foundation, close to 20 percent of the U.S. population has more than one foot problem each year. And with the average person taking eight to ten thousand steps every day, it can get pretty painful.

In recognition of National Foot Health Awareness Month in April, The Walking Company assembled an expert panel of podiatrists from across the country to get the best advice for keeping your feet happy and healthy.

Here is what the panel suggests:

-- Regularly look at the bottom of your foot with a mirror to check for
cracks, peeling, dry skin, sores or dark areas (which could indicate a
circulation problem).

-- When putting socks on in the morning, use your finger or a thin towel
to dry in between your toes. Most people either donít dry their toes after
showering, or use a towel that is too thick to reach in between toes.
Wetness in between toes can lead to fungal infections.

-- Remember to stretch your feet as part of your exercise regimen.
Everyone knows how important it is to stretch other parts of the body, and
the feet are often forgotten.

-- Use inserts in shoes to provide arch support and cushion the feet.

-- If you regularly wear shoes with no or little support, such as
sandals, make sure to alternate between the sandals and shoes with good
support to prevent foot problems associated with poor arch support.

-- Donít leave nail polish on 24/7. Toenails need to breathe, and may
become brittle or grow fungus if covered with nail polish all the time. If
you regularly wear polish, take a three-month toenail polish holiday each
year to allow your toenails to recover.

-- Make sure shoes have enough space for toes to move without any
rubbing. Many people, particularly women who wear designer shoes, squeeze
their feet into shoes that are too small.

-- Avoid excessive pressure on the heel.

-- If you walk or exercise a lot, make sure to replace your shoes every 6
months or 500 miles.

-- Donít buy cheap socks. The best socks are polyester blends socks that
pull the sweat away from the foot and help keep feet dry. Cotton socks
trap the wetness on your feet.

-- Remember that as you get older, your feet get wider and longer. So
donít try to fit your feet into the same size shoe throughout your whole
life. Measure your feet at least once a year.

-- Next to the palm of your hand, the bottom of your foot is the most
sensitive part of your body. Make sure to wash it regularly, dry
thoroughly and use lotion to keep the skin healthy.


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