Having just recovered from foot surgery for bunion removal, I am painfully aware of how essential the health status of our feet is to our ability to stay active. Feet, and specifically our big toe, give us stability and help with balance. Healthy feet allow us to remain safe when we ambulate, or move about. Most of us don't think about the role that feet play in our mobility or safety until we lose full use of even one foot. Those with chronic diseases and illnesses know all too well the gradual surrender that a degenerative condition silent inflicts.
Because a key prescription for good health is maintaining a physically active lifestyle to the best of our ability, we are largely dependent on our feet. Most exercise or ambulation requires some movement of a foot, or a substitute thereof in the case of a wheelchair.
The Institute for Preventive Foot Health advises following five basic principles:
1. Practice proper hygiene. Keep your feet clean and dry.
2. Regularly inspect your feet. Pay attention to pain or skin problems.
3. Cut and trim nails properly, or get assistance. Consult a physician should discoloration of nails persist.
4. Wear sensible shoes and socks that properly fit and are comfortable.
5. People with diabetes should take special precautions and not cut their own toenails.
Why am I concerned about healthy feet? Without healthy, functional feet, we are at risk of falling. Over one third of adults ages 65 and older fall each year. In individuals ages 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injury or death. Taking over four medications significantly increases the risk of falling. And urinary incontinence is frequently reported as a risk factor for falling, as people rush to the toilet or are awakened at night to empty the bladder.
To learn more about NAFC's efforts to guard against falls and resulting injuries, visit http://www.nafc.org/about/advocacy-efforts/