Healthy Feet for Spring
Denise Pritchard | March 31, 2014.
In 1914, eight doctors formed the Michigan Podiatric Medical Association (MPMA). Their founding document stated the purpose of the organization was to "improve the profession, safeguard the public and encourage scientific investigation." Although many medical advances have been made over the past 100 years, the mission of the MPMA has remained unchanged.
"Foot and ankle concerns are too often overlooked by the general public," said Dr. Jodie Sengstock, MPMA past president. "Our feet are the foundation of our body. One of the goals of the MPMA is to reach out to the public to let them know that annual foot exams can lead to a better quality of life and also may help detect the onset of other life threatening diseases."
Throughout the month of April, the MPMA will celebrate and promote the national Foot Health Awareness campaign. This is the perfect time to determine what shape ones' feet are in.
Examining our feet can help us identify early symptoms of other serious disorders such as vascular disease and diabetes. Foot issues can also cause other problems throughout our body.
Most Americans log an amazing 75,000 miles on their feet by the time they reach age 50. Through the years, aging and repetitive use lead to normal changes in our feet. Keeping up with those changes is important to an individual's overall health and wellbeing. MPMA podiatrists are uniquely qualified to identify changes, normal and irregular, and to determine the appropriate action or treatment to be taken.
Normal changes to the foot include:
· The foot becomes wider and longer
· There is mild settling of the arch which is seen as flattening of the foot
· The fat pad on the bottom of the heel thins out, causing loss of natural padding and spring in the step
· The foot and ankle lose some of their normal range of motion and become stiffer
· There can be some loss of balance while walking
As these physical changes occur, shoe sizes and support needs also change and must be addressed.
Some foot changes can occur that are abnormal or pathological. These problems do not happen naturally and many can be prevented, or their progress halted, by addressing ill-fitting shoes, adding supportive orthotics, surgery, or other modifications.
Abnormal changes to the foot include:
· Bunions (the formation of a large bump on the big toe, which starts to point toward the little toes)
· Hammering of the toes (curling of the toes)
· Clawing of the toes (more severe curling of the toes)
· Tailor's bunion (the formation of a large bump on the smallest toe, which starts to point toward the large toe)
· Calluses or corns, which occur on the toes or foot due to high pressure over bony areas
· Morton's neuromas ("pinched nerve" between the toes)
· Arthritis of the joints
A yearly exam with an MPMA podiatrist is vital to tracking changes, checking for proper sensation and circulation, and calling attention to abnormalities. Early detection and treatment of problems help keep individuals on their feet and active.
Take time to schedule an annual foot exam today.