The Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program began as an effort to enhance the sports experience at the event, and improve well-being for every athlete. The Fit Feet initiative became a part of this endeavor in 2003. We here at the Superior Foot and Ankle Care Center are proud to take part in the screenings for the Special Olympics to ensure that the athletes have the proper socks, shoes, and the special equipment they need to compete to the best of their abilities and stay healthy.
Here is a glimpse at some of the advice that we give to the Special Olympians. Even if you’re not an athlete, proper foot care is important for your overall health and comfort. Make sure that you understand the steps you need to take for optimal foot health.
Inspect your feet regularly, checking for calluses, blisters, bunions, discolored nails, and any other potential problems.
Always wear shoes or sandals to protect your feet. Don’t settle for any shoes: make sure that they are appropriate for the activity at hand. For example, wear running shoes and moisture-wicking socks for running, basketball shoes for basketball, and sandals for the beach. Make sure that your shoes are clean inside and fit well. Buy new shoes when the cushioning has run out, and check that you can wiggle your toes in the new pair. Runners should replace their shoes every 250-500 miles, at which point the shoes begin to lose shock absorption.
Take care to wash your feet with soap and water, and dry them thoroughly thereafter. If your feet retain too much moisture from sweat or from the shower, painful blisters may develop. Always wear clean socks to prevent foot odor.
Foot powder is an excellent way to protect your feet from damage and discomfort. Foot powder absorbs excess moisture, provides itch relief, soothes irritated skin, and fights odor-causing bacteria. To prevent skin cracking and calluses, moisturize with lotion regularly.
If you develop a blister, never pop it. Wash the affected area, apply antiseptic, then use a bandage to prevent infection.
If you experience soreness, soak your feet in Epsom salts. These salts are also an effective way to soothe muscle aches, sun burns, and even relieve stress.
Nails should be trimmed weekly to keep them healthy and strong. Long nails may break and attract harmful bacteria. Always cut nails straight across using either scissors or clippers. Be careful not to cut too short, or you may develop an ingrown nail. Nails are designed to protect from trauma: cut your nails too short, and you will experience a lot of discomfort, and possibly even injury. Do not pick at your toenails with your fingers, as this may damage them.
Check your feet for discolored or thick nails. If you suspect a problem, schedule an appointment right away.
Remember that your feet need proper hygiene and care, just like any other part of your body. Whether or not you’re an Olympian in training, your feet deserve the same level of treatment. Contact us today with any questions or concerns, and schedule an appointment for your best foot health.