Feet First

By TERESA HAMMOND
In the day and age of all things health and beauty, as a society we are overlooking one important area –our feet. Doctors, specialists and foot-care professionals continue to see an increase in foot-related ailments and injuries, which stem from troubled feet.

The solution to the problem, however, is neither complicated nor time-consuming. According to area experts, the solution begins with three simple steps: healthy diet, hygiene and proper shoes. Simple enough, right? One would hope, yet individuals (and parents) become diligent in these three areas, the problems will persist.

“Think of that as the foundation of your home,” said Jennifer Brown, owner of Me and My Feet in Oakdale. Brown’s store specializes in quality and fashionable shoes, as well as inserts and accessories.

“If you’re not properly supported from the ground up, how’s the rest of you going to be in proper alignment?” Brown continued, making note of the effects bad shoes have on the knees, hips and lower back.

With the majority of her professional career dedicated to properly fitting and caring for customers’ needs in the shoe business, Brown is more than aware of the stigma associated with quality shoes. It is a stigma that the foot health enthusiast would like to see eradicated as she sees more and more clients with foot-related problems as young as high school.

“People often complain, ‘Oh, my knees hurt, my hips, my low back’ and they’re spending all this money going to the chiropractor,” Brown stated. “It starts with the feet. If you don’t start with the foundation the rest of you is totally out of alignment.”

Paula Edwardsen, owner of Advance Medical Nail Technology in Oakdale, echoes Brown’s sentiments and shares her passion for properly caring for feet.

“Right now, we’re in a pandemic, not an epidemic, a pandemic with diabetes,” Edwardsen stated.

Edwardsen, licensed in nail technology, advance and medical nail technology, serves a large variety of patients. Most especially, she sees patients in their later years with Type 2 Diabetes.

“The No. 1 thing that has to be taken care of is your feet,” she said, globally speaking. “I’m learning that basic foot care isn’t even taught to people.”

Edwardsen shared her shock at the number of patients who do not properly wash their feet when showering or bathing. Noting that clients either forget or assume the cascading shower water takes care of the cleanliness.

An activist in spreading the word on proper foot care and diet, as well as a volunteer with the Modesto-based Shower Shuttle, Edwardsen shared that financial status does not necessarily dictate foot-care quality.

“I can line up my regular and homeless clients in a row and based on feet be unable to tell which is which,” she said.

“We’ve really gone downhill as a society on basic hygiene and nutrition. People don’t clean their feet. Poor trimming is another huge problem I see,” Edwardsen added.

According to Edwardsen, proper foot-care is neither expensive nor cumbersome if done regularly and properly. The essential items needed to maintain healthy feet include: a nail brush, proper cleaning, moisturizer, cuticle oil and clipping.

“The statistics say 25 percent of Type 2 diabetics will get an ulcer,” she said, referring to how callouses begin. “Out of that 25 percent, 85 percent will lose a digit (toe) or a foot. Out of that group 50 percent will die within three years.”

“We have to get this under control. It doesn’t take money to keep your feet clean,” Edwardsen continued.

Both women agreed, it is through education, consistency and quality of care with their clients that helps turn the curve of foot ailments. Problems and occurrences resolve when proper practice is put into place.

Foot Care Tips
1.Take care of your diabetes

2. Check your feet every day
Look at your bare feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots and swelling.

3. Wash your feet every day

4. Keep the skin soft and smooth
Rub a thin coat of skin lotion over tops and bottoms of feet, but not between toes.

5. Smooth corns and calluses gently
Use a pumice stone to smooth corns and calluses.

6. Trim toenails each week or when needed
Trim toenails straight across and file edges with an emery board.

7. Wear shoes and socks at all times
Never walk barefoot. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet.

8. Protect your feet from hot and cold
Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Wear socks at night if your feet get cold.

9. Keep the blood flowing to your feet
Put your feet up when sitting. Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down. Don’t cross your legs for long periods of time. Don’t smoke.

10. Be more active

— Information courtesy of WebMD

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