Foot Health Tips

Foot Health Week Podiatrist Melbourne

A letter from your feet (what they wish they could tell you!)

By Siobhan Doran, Editor, Foot Health Australia magazine

If your feet could talk, what would they say? We imagined what our feet would love to tell us if only they had a chance.

Whether COVID-related restrictions are a distant memory or a more recent experience, there’s no doubt that its impact has changed our lives!

Our feet perform so much better when they are comfortable and supported in well fitting shoes. It’s not rocket science, but it’s so easy to overlook this fact and just grab a shoe in your ‘usual’ size during a trip to the mall or when shopping online. However it pays to be professionally fitted since a myriad of factors could affect your shoe choice. Whether related to ageing, needing more support, or hormonal changes such as pregnancy —  it is so important to be fitted before you decide on a pair of shoes.

Still not sure? Here’s a not-so-fun fact. An independent survey of more than 1,000 people found that most Australians (70 per cent) who changed their footwear during the pandemic have been wearing less supportive shoes or no shoes at all, with one in three experiencing pain as a result. This survey, which was commissioned by the Australian Podiatry Association, goes a long way to show you that you’re not alone if you’ve been rocking out in your favourite pair of slippers more than usual. If you also noticed a new twinge in your feet or lower limbs (or even your hips or elsewhere), those innocent slippers may be to blame… 

Okay, so you don’t need to whisper sweet nothings to your feet. That would just be plain odd. But…it can make a big difference if you check in on your feet to see how they’re faring, given they are the unsung heroes of our body! Have a look to see if there is any swelling or discolouration in your skin tone, Is there a change in your nails? Spot any dry skin? Keep a watch for any changes to your feet and please see your podiatrist if you see something that looks a little funky or odd.

Pssst…the same goes for any niggles when you are active. You may notice it hurts to walk, or perhaps you’ve developed a slight limp, or your joints in your feet and lower limbs just feel sore. Whatever the case, book in with your local podiatrist to get to the bottom of the issue before it develops further.

The simple act of moving your feet through walking and other exercise helps to lubricate the soft tissue and your joints, which makes it easier to move with ease. This is especially relevant if you sit for hours at a time and perhaps comfort eat more than you know you should. It all adds up. In fact movement can mitigate these habits by pumping blood back to the heart, which makes a massive difference to overall wellbeing.

It comes down to some simple changes. Set an alarm to walk around regularly, alternate sitting with standing when working at a desk, or take regular walks around the block. It can all stack up.. Little steps lead to big results when they are carried out consistently and regularly!

Did you know that research commissioned by the Australian Podiatry Association revealed 63 per cent of people went to the GP for their foot issues? And even more interesting perhaps, people with knee pain are more likely to see a physio than a podiatrist.

Bear in mind that podiatrists are university-trained professionals who are the foot and lower limb experts. While podiatrists love working in consultation with other medical professionals, patients with foot and lower limb issues are well placed to see their podiatrist who can diagnose and provide treatment from there. 

Here’s another fact from the same survey. Ready? One in five Australians don’t prioritise their feet and lower limbs. It’s no surprise to learn that pain is often why people will head to their podiatrist, but by then the issue has been going on untreated for some time. Don’t just wait for pain to be the reason you see a podiatrist. See your podiatrist like you see your dentist; often and consistently. Podiatrists can carry out all sorts of testing to identify any issues before they become a problem.