Sole Survival…One Step at a Time!

  • Published
  • By Maj Joseph Williams
  • 374th Medical Surgical Operations Squadron
All well-built structures possess a solid foundation. The exact same can be said for the human body.

Our feet are the rock-solid structures designed to take the punishment we put our bodies through on a daily basis. This article can help people understand the fundamentals necessary for the proper long-term care of the human foundation...your foot! More than 70 percent of the population will experience painful feet at some point.

Foot pain is not normal and neglecting your feet will result in pain elsewhere in the body. An understanding of the foot, selecting the appropriate shoe, maintaining basic foot-care, and identifying a potential problem are all necessary for maintaining healthy feet.

Those aching "dawgs" you cram into your shoes contain 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles each. A quarter of all the bones in your body are in your feet.

During every step, these individual parts must work together like a finely-tuned machine absorbing the constant impact and load we put on them.

During a typical day, your feet endure a cumulative force of several hundred tons. The average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day. That adds up to about 115,000 miles in a lifetime.

One thing all of us can do to help maintain healthy foot care is to select the proper shoe. With the virtually countless brands and styles of shoes, finding the perfect fit for you may be overwhelming.

First, don't buy shoes that are uncomfortable. A good fitting shoe should hold the heel firmly, have ample arch support and provide enough room to wiggle all of your toes. Stand up and walk around to ensure the shoes are supportive and don't pinch.

Second, shop in the afternoon, when your feet have swollen a little.

Lastly, it is common to increase up to two shoe sizes over a lifetime. The wrong shoes can cause or aggravate foot ailments. No cutting corners and do not be cheap!

Basic foot-care also consists of practicing a few preventive measures.
1. Check and wash your feet every day.
2. Trim nails routinely, cut straight across and never shorter than the end of the toe.
3. Use talcum powder and apply unscented cream to the tops and bottoms for dry and cracked skin.
4. Wear comfortable socks and change them daily. 

By following these guidelines your feet should stay relatively healthy and you can be a "Sole Survivor".

However, if an issue arises make an appointment with your primary care provider. They can help you identify and possibly fix the cause and direct your care to a specialty clinic such as physical therapy or orthopedics if needed.

The 374th Medical Group Physical Therapy Clinic offers a walk-in "Running Shoe Clinic" Tuesdays at 10 a.m.
For more information call 225-7577. The clinic will help you to assess your foot type, discuss running issues, and make a running shoe recommendation.