Foot Health Resolutions for 2019
As the year wraps up, it’s normal to overindulge, to put it mildly. Whether it’s gingerbread men, rugelach, or fruit cake, we all eat foods that aren’t necessarily the best for us this time of year. But this overindulgence doesn’t always come in the form of sweet treats. Most of us end the year with the realization that we spent too much money, didn’t travel enough, weren’t as kind as we could have been, or didn’t seize the day as often as we’d have liked. Thus, most of us enter the New Year with a well-planned and actionable list to make this next year a better one.
We applaud everyone who makes New Year’s resolutions. They are a great way to take control of your life and prepare yourself for success. Regardless of, if you are aiming to save more money, spend more time with family, or run a half-marathon, we salute your dedication!
As a podiatrist’s office, though, we would like to leave you with a list of resolutions for your feet. We want to ensure that you have the correct podiatric foundation for success in 2019.
Resolution 1: Keep Tabs on Your Heels
There is a chance many of us are aiming to be more active in 2019. This is a great goal and it is one that will alter your health in many ways! However, there can be complications when an individual goes from the couch to running 5ks. Our bodies can handle a lot of things if given the time to adjust.
However, this usually does not happen when one decides to head to the gym on January 2nd. Most of us dive headlong into activities our bodies have not experienced in YEARS. You do not need to be running marathons to subject your heels to some serious strain.
Please note that we are not talking about muscle soreness the day after a workout or feeling fatigued during a run. That is completely acceptable and normal. We are referring to a sharp, stabbing pain in the bottoms of your feet. If it is at its worst first thing in the morning, there is a pretty good chance you might have plantar fasciitis.
We have a few general foot care tips to help fend off plantar fasciitis as you acquaint yourself more with the gym.
Ease into activity. We applaud the gusto with which you plan on attacking your workouts, but please know that doing too much too fast will stop your exercise regimen in its tracks. Running 2 or 3 miles on your first day might not be the best course of action, depending on your overall fitness and health. It is perfectly acceptable to run only one mile on your first day. Hey, you can even WALK a mile if you so choose.
Just please do not feel obligated to get onto the track or trail and immediately haul off like you are Usain Bolt. We recommend incrementally increasing the distance you run and then alternating intensities. For instance, if you are trying to run a half marathon, you might slowly build up to 4 mile runs before you decide to try and do 2 miles at your best speed. Then you would slowly build up again to 6 mile runs before attempting a personal best 3-mile trek.
Don’t play through the pain. This is terrible advice for any athlete and ‘playing through the pain’ will have huge consequences for your heels. Your plantar fascia is essentially a thick, bow-shaped band at the bottom of your feet that acts as an airbag for your heels. Plantar fasciitis develops when microtears form within this thick band. Putting more strain on the plantar fascia will NOT help you in any way. Remaining committed to your workout plan is laudable, but forcing yourself to run when your heels are screaming at you to stop will make the problem worse.
We recommend taking a little time to rest to see if your condition gets any better. If you need more than just a day or two off your heels, consider a low impact exercise like swimming or moderate weight lifting.
Resolution 2: Implement a Daily Foot Check
This is a very simple resolution to add to your daily routine. We generally recommend that one looks at their feet immediately after the shower or right before they go to bed.
Why is that?
Well, there are a number of issues that could arise in your feet. Toenail fungus, bunions, ingrown toenails, and other foot conditions are still irksome, painful things to have on your feet. Generally speaking, these conditions will also get worse over time, so taking the time to quickly check your feet over once a day allows you to head off future problems.
Trust us- you will be much happier coming to see us when you first notice discoloration of your nails than you would if you let it run its course.
Resolution 3: Lose Weight (For Your Feet)
Losing weight is typically at the forefront of everyone’s mind when they are developing their resolutions. We would encourage you to keep this resolution, but for your feet.
Obesity is a serious threat to your overall health. However, it also is a threat to your heels! Bearing too much weight on your feet for a greater amount of time increases your risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Losing some excess weight will help lessen the load on your heels and will decrease your odds of pesky heel pain.
Losing weight also decreases your risk of sports injuries! Those with higher BMIs have a higher risk of fractures and arthritis, due to the extra weight that their musculoskeletal system must support. So carrying around some extra weight actually could increase the odds of you suffering an unexpected injury.
Your goal of hitting the gym a bit more frequently and losing some weight is clearly a great goal for your feet and we encourage you to stick with it! (We are happy to offer any sports and exercise related advice as you continue on, too!)
What to do when problems arise?
Despite these New Year’s resolutions, we recognize that problems can still occur. You are embarking on an ambitious course to better your health and this usually comes with questions, comments, and concerns. Maybe it is heel pain after logging too many miles too quickly. Maybe it is a sports injury after a few weeks of hitting the gym more frequently. Whatever that question may be, know that our team here at Northeast Foot and Ankle is ready to help! Whether you just need a check-up or require MLS Laser therapy to treat a sports injury or tendon issue, know that your foot care is in the best of hands!
Contact us today by calling (603) 431-6070 or schedule your appointment online for either our Portsmouth or Nashua office!