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Men and Foot Health

A lady e-mailed me last week asking if we see men. Most certainly we do; and as is the case most times, the men are hesitant to come in to check their feet, worse yet for a service. Some of our men were tricked initially into coming. However, most of them now are the more focused /disciplined party.

Some men inquire about the types of men coming for services, however once done, it becomes a routine. In talking to some of them, they say “I thought this was a woman thing”. “You all really have a lot of men coming?” The answer is yes, our population for services is approximately      60-40; the men are becoming conscious and starting to take care of themselves.

Men’s feet and ankles take a beating, with jobs that often require long hours of standing or walking, and leisure activities involving running and jumping. But men tend to ignore foot and ankle problems until a problem arises, or pain starts slowing them down. It’s important for them to know that pain is not normal, and most foot and ankle conditions are easier to treat when diagnosed early.

Most men don’t give their feet much attention – until a fiery, itchy case of athlete’s foot flares up, that is. Or a gnarly-looking callus or corn appears just before a big race. Or someone near and dear takes one look at a crusty toenail and says “ewww”!

Feet, like hands, don’t require a lot of maintenance. However, by opting to explore preventative care, you can keep them healthy and decent looking. Good shoes, proper hygiene practices, and general regular maintenance will do the trick.

Foot Maintenance

For most men, maintenance means washing their feet during a bath and cutting their toenails. The leading cause of ingrown toenails is clumsy nail trimming. If you trim your toenails too short or curved in the corners, you can expose some of the tissue at the edges or under the nail, which is painful and can lead to infections.

Calluses and Blisters

Whether you’re a serious athlete or just a small sweat/fete match player, you’ve probably been sidelined by painful blisters or calluses on your feet. The culprit is usually poor-fitting shoes; get rid of ill-fitting shoes. Stock a box of plasters to put on your feet at the first sign of irritation.

 

Insoles for Comfort or Arch Support

If you stand for long hours because you are a field or factory worker, you may end the day with sore feet. Insoles can help make shoes more comfortable. However, most over-the-counter brands don’t offer much by way of arch support. Anyone whose job requires long periods of standing, walking, or climbing, requires proper support, which in most cases your footwear doesn’t provide.

Athlete’s Foot / Toenail Infection

Severe cases of athlete’s foot are one of the biggest reasons men actually seek help. Dark and damp conditions allow the athlete’s foot fungus to flourish. And once you have athlete’s foot, you can expect toenail infection, evidenced by discoloured nails. Basic good foot hygiene is the best way to prevent fungal infections.

Wash your feet frequently and dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes, where the culprits show up. Wear fresh socks daily.

Foot and Ankle Problems

Ankle Sprain – Participating in sporting activities is one way men can get a sprained ankle. But even day-to-day activities such as walking on an uneven surface or slipping on a wet surface, can produce the painful stretching or tearing of the ankle ligament. If an old sprain wasn’t completely rehabilitated, the ankle may repeatedly get sprained, resulting in chronic ankle instability.

Hallux Rigidus (Bunion) – While some foot types are more prone to get this condition, which is a painful stiffening of the big toe joint, it can also be caused by overuse. Golfers may develop it as a result of the motion of the foot during the follow-through of the swing, and other men may have jobs that increase the stress on the big toe, such as those requiring frequent stooping or squatting.

Common Disorders of the Achilles Tendon – Tendonitis and tendonosis of the Achilles tendon are usually caused by a sudden increase of a repetitive activity. Participation in athletics, especially by those who are less conditioned and participate in athletics only on weekends, puts one at high risk for developing disorders of the Achilles tendon. These problems are also common in men whose jobs put stress on their ankles and feet, such as labourers.

Toe and Metatarsal Fractures (Broken toes) – Some people say that “the doctor can’t do anything for a broken bone in the foot.” This isn’t true! In fact, if a fractured toe or metatarsal bone is not treated correctly, serious complications may develop, for example, serious swelling or overall discomfort in the area.

Don’t let foot pains or macho-ness mess up your life. If you love to run, enjoy taking walks, want to be slim or just plain happy, your feet need a little TLC. If you’re like most people, you probably just walk all over them, taking them for granted, day after day until they shout back. Then suddenly, runs are no longer fun. Walks are excruciating. If the pain continues, you’re likely to get less active; a sure way to pack on the pounds and you’ll start to feel miserable. Your feet are an important part of a happy, healthy lifestyle; don’t ignore them! Even if you haven’t had a problem so far, chances are good that foot pain is in your future. Foot ailments develop primarily from neglect, and a lack of awareness about proper foot care. The good news: there’s a lot you can do. Start today by getting into a foot care regime. Book your appointment for a foot assessment and consider it an investment into your future.

Make the journey ahead a pleasurable one by having your first ever pedicure, or possibly your first in years. Ensure this becomes a monthly routine, whether it’s done professionally or at home. Take good care of the whole body; massages, along with other body treatments, ensure that you keep the mind and soul happy.

Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!

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