Understanding And Caring For Something We Take For Granted – Our Feet

Understanding And Caring For Something We Take For Granted – Our Feet
Jesus washing Peter''s feet
Jesus washing Peter’s feet (image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org)

Our feet… we walk, run and do almost everything on them. In fact, most of us take it for granted and don’t realize how important they are. Women mostly seem to take care of them more than men. well, inasmuch as taking care of toenails and calluses is concerned.

We have all heard about various foot diseases and such. Probably the most commonly known of these diseases is athlete’s foot. Equally well-known is the medication for that, which is anti-fungal cream. What many fail to realize is that the foot is quite often the first place a sign or a symptom appears related to some diseases manifesting elsewhere in the body.

To get off on the right foot, let us try to understand more about it.

The foot may look simple but don’t be misled by it. It is a complex structure with 26 bones, 33 joints, numerous muscles, nerves and different types of ligaments.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diseases_of_the_foot If any part of these joints, muscles, nerves and ligaments gets injured in one way or another we would seize to function normally. This is further explained below:

“The foot is the foundation of movement of the lower extremity. Pain in the foot indicates that there is something wrong with either the interaction of internal structures of the foot or with the how the foot is interacting with external influences. How and when the pain occurs and the locations of the pain are the primary clues to what may be causing the pain. When there is pain, the body reacts by changing the way it moves or functions in an effort to reduce the pain. Biomechanical changes or disease may prevent the normal movement and cause further injury.”http://www.medicinenet.com/foot_pain/article.htm

The next question would naturally be what kind of injuries do we need to watch out for since it is almost impossible not to get hurt or develop some kind of condition in that area?

Virtually every part of the foot can be injured. Foot pain or disorders can manifest as a mere ache while others can be very serious and actually limit one’s mobility or ability to bear weight. The majority of minor foot pain can be addressed with home care treatments. However, when there’s severe pain, it is literally crippling and usually needs serious medical attention. If any foot pain goes unchecked, given enough time, it may lead to long-term consequences while continuously damaging the foot.

A recent survey by the Institute for Preventive Foot Health found that foot health continues to be a concern for the vast numbers of adults age 21 and older, with 78% reporting ever having a foot issue. Overall foot fatigue or sore/achy feet at 26% is on the rise, up 5 percentage points versus 2009.http://www.ipfh.org/images/research_materials/2012_National_Foot_Health_Assessment_June_2012.pdf Women are significantly more likely to report having experienced this ailment than men. In fact, women appear to suffer from more foot ailments than men and are significantly more likely than men to report suffering from Calluses, Foot Fatigue, Cracked Skin, Ingrown toenails, Blisters, Swelling, Plantar Fasciitis, and Corns.http://www.ipfh.org/images/research_materials/2012_National_Foot_Health_Assessment_June_2012.pdf

The said survey, conducted between March 23 and April 2 of this year, involved 1,456 people. It also produced other interesting facts such as a link between foot problems and body mass index (BMI), the high percentage of people who didn’t know that fat pads become thinner as they grow older, and the five biggest exercise-related activities reported by people to cause foot pain. These five activities include running or jogging, basketball, hiking, dancing and walking for fitness purposes.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/28/foot-problems-issues-feet-health_n_1628246.html

Now, foot pain may not sound very serious in itself but once it gets mixed up with other bodily conditions such as diabetes, the seriousness of the affliction intensifies and can even lead to amputation. Diabetics often suffer from nerve damage. This condition may deform the feet and cause it to lose sensation or feeling. Oftentimes, diabetics would not be able to feel if their foot has a wound. That in itself is another complication. There’s a high risk of infection on that wound since the person can’t feel it. To make matters worse, diabetes decreases blood flow, so injuries are slower to heal than in people who do not have the disease. Unfortunately, it is human tendency to not always look at our feet during the day and any injury can go unnoticed for extended periods of time.http://diabetes.webmd.com/features/diabetes-wounds-caring-sores

“People with diabetes can develop many different foot problems. Even ordinary problems can get worse and lead to serious complications. Foot problems most often happen when there is nerve damage, also called neuropathy, which results in loss of feeling in your feet. Poor blood flow or changes in the shape of your feet or toes may also cause problems.”http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-complications/

Apart from diabetes, foot pain may also be caused by many different diseases, biomechanical conditions, or injuries. Sudden or repeated trauma, disease, or combinations of the problems are the most common causes of foot pain. Such conditions can be found in sports and workplace environments that require physical activity.http://www.medicinenet.com/foot_pain/page2.htm#what_causes_foot_paOther causes of foot pain are localized conditions on the foot. These include fungal and bacterial conditions such as athlete’s foot, dry skin, corns and calluses, warts, bunions, ingrown toenails, hammertoe, and spurs.http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=22536

There are many ways to prevent foot pain from occurring. However, certain issues should be addressed before hand such as general health, cardiovascular function, the possibility of diseases or other general medical problems such a person may have. For those are into sports, proper preparation before doing any activity will help reduce the occurrence of any foot complications. Proper attire also plays a vital role in avoiding foot pain.http://www.medicinenet.com/foot_pain/page6.htm#how_can_foot_pain_be_prevented

Many experts advise that when you feel the slightest foot pain, a warm water foot bath followed by a soothing foot massage normally does the trick. However, not all pains can be alleviated in such a way. Others, especially those that have swollen, would probably need the opposite. This is where the ice pack comes in handy. To be safe, when unsure of what to do, it is always best to seek expert advice.

Ultimately, it would be wise to know and remember that no matter how strong or healthy you are, one small injury to any part of your foot may result to the very serious conditions. Case in point is the downfall of Achilles.http://wordinfo.info/unit/3648?letter=A&spage=2

Tread carefully on those happy feet of yours!