Clean Those Dirty Feet!

Good hygiene goes a long way toward preventing common foot problems.

Dirty Feet

When you think about where they travel on any given day, it’s no surprise they get dirty. Going barefoot, wearing soggy shoes and socks, and washing them as an afterthought invites problems. Limited and painful mobility is only one price you pay. Poor foot hygiene contributes to fungal and bacterial infections that spread to other parts of the body. People with diabetes or circulatory diseases lose toes, legs and even lives to these infections.

Inspection Time

Do your feet a favor and take a little extra time to get to know them. Daily inspections help you notice when something is wrong. The sooner you recognize and address them, the easier it is to control foot and toe issues. Keep your feet clean but look beyond obvious grime and:

  • Be alert to sensory changes. Numbness, pain or the absence of any sensation at all might indicate a nerve problem.
  • Examine all parts of each foot for cracked skin, sores, blisters or bumps.
  • Check carefully between your toes for redness and itchy spots.
  • Look at each nail for discoloration, spots, cracks or any other deformities.
  • Note temperature differences and hair loss—these might indicate circulatory problems.

If you find anything that concerns you, see your healthcare provider or doctor of podiatry medicine.

Foot and Toe Hygiene Tips

Make basic foot hygiene a part of your daily bath ritual. Using a mild soap, wash them every day in lukewarm water. Be sure and dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes. Apply a mild lotion specifically designed to keep your feet moisturized. In addition:

  • Don’t go barefoot, especially in public places.
  • Change into clean socks at least once daily, more frequently if they get wet. Synthetic fibers that wick moisture away from the skin are best.
  • To promote drying, rotate your shoes so that you wear a different pair from day-to-day.
  • Keep shoes clean—inside and out.
  • Trim toenails right after bath time.
  • Sanitize all pedicure tools with alcohol.
  • Trim straight across the nail and don’t cut the corners. Use an emery board to file sharp edges.
  • Don’t apply polish to discolored toenails.

Clean your feet better than just giving them a quick scrub. Give them a good daily look, wash them properly and get regular pedicures. And always make sure to see a doctor for early treatment of foot problems.

Five Professional Athletes’ Foot Injuries

Foot injuries among athletes are common, but sometimes the consequences can be devastating.

Albert Pujols

One of the most common foot problems, plantar fasciitis, accounts for up to 15% of professional foot care interventions. Caused by excessive stretching and inflammation of the tendons along the bottom of the foot, symptoms include sometimes debilitating heel pain.

Albert Pujols, first baseman for the California Angels, lives with recurring plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Treatments include anti-inflammatories, stretching, and surgery. Pujols relies on yet another effective treatment, the use of orthotics, a specially designed shoe insert that reduces the risk of excessive stretching.

Kobe Bryant

In 2013, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant suffered a serious injury to his Achilles tendon. Connecting the calf muscles to the heel, the tendon’s function is vital to everything a basketball player needs to do.

After surgery and eight months of rehabilitation, Kobe returned only to suffer a knee injury to the same leg. According to his doctor, atrophied muscles from the tendon injury may have contributed. Kobe ultimately ended his career in 2015.

Shaquille O’Neal

Another sports great, Shaquille O’Neal, developed a deformity of the big toe called hallux limitus. This develops after arthritic changes to the joint cause stiffening and severe restriction in range of motion.

The problem began during the 2001-2002 season and got so bad he had surgery to correct the problem. His foot has never been the same, however. While he benefits from acupuncture, anti-inflammatories, and massage, he admits his pre-injury performance remains unmatched.

Daniel Fells

The microscopic methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, better known as MRSA, ended the career of NFL tight end, Daniel Fells. The germ thrives in locker rooms, and Fells likely contracted the disease in this way.

Fells’ problems began in October 2015 after a foot injury. After a week of treatment, he presented to the emergency room with a 104o fever. Doctors diagnosed MRSA and began intensive efforts to save his foot that included surgeries and powerful antibiotics. The destruction to Fells’ foot became severe enough to force his retirement in 2016.

Jake Locker

A condition called Lisfranc injury forced Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker into retirement in 2015. First coined by a Napoleonic surgeon who diagnosed the condition among dismounting cavalry soldiers, Lisfranc injury results from a strain to the midfoot ligament. Prone to a host of other injuries, Locker only made 30 NFL career appearances.

The stresses on feet and the dangers it poses to careers forces athletes to take special precautions. Nevertheless, crippling injuries happen nearly every day.

If foot or ankle pain is putting an end to your game, contact us today.