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Posts for tag: dehydration

One of the best parts of freedom is the fact that we have the right to make our own choices and you need to be making the right choices to keep your feet healthy. Summer is a great season for runners, but if you want to keep your feet at their fastest you need to take care of yourself. Here are some quick tips for running in the summer months:

  1. Drink water! Lots of it!

Dehydration is a huge problem when it comes to your feet. There are 250,000 sweat glands in your feet and if you’re running outside in hot weather, you better believe that your feet are going to be pouring buckets into your shoes. Make sure you hydrate before, during, and after a run, even if you aren’t thirsty. Also, make sure you rinse and dry your feet to avoid problems associated with extra sweatiness (like athletes foot).

  1. Breathable shoes and socks

Remember those sweat glands we just talked about? Well one way to keep your feet cool and dry is to wear the proper socks and shoes. Sweat wicking socks made of nylon, polyester, and wool will pull moisture away from the skin. 100% cotton socks only absorb the moisture, but trap it against your skin, leaving your feet open to odor, bacteria, or infection. Get the right socks and your feet will thank you.

  1. Sunscreen

While you don’t have to worry about your feet getting sun burned inside your shoes, the rest of your body is subject to burn. Not only does sunscreen protect you from harmful UV rays, but it can also help prevent runners’ tan (that thing where your feet are white below your sock line). Don’t forget to lather it on even for that early morning or late evening run. Unless the sun is below the horizon, you’re absorbing those rays and you need to protect yourself.

  1. Surface

Running on varied surfaces can help protect your feet. Concrete and asphalt are very tough and put enormous amounts of pressure on your joints and bones. Running on dirt or grass is softer and thus gives you a more complete workout, but it takes a lot of concentration when you run on these surfaces to avoid trips, twists, and other ankle injuries. Overall, it’s best to work on a mixture of these surfaces. If you prefer road running, change one run a week to a trail instead. Soft surfaces absorb the shock of our bodyweight and stop it from being transferred up your feet and legs.

Why anyone would want to go running in the heat is beyond my reckoning, but if you just have to get out for your morning jog, make sure you follow through on thinking about your feet first.

Ok so I'm exaggerating, but the health of your feet is often a good indicator of your overall health so when something seems wrong with your feet, it may have started elsewhere. Let’s look at a few signs our feet may tell us and what they may mean for our overall health:

  1. Skin and nails

Many people have dry feet and we just put up with it as a side effect of our feet being feet, but dryness in not normal. If you have dry feet no matter how much you moisturize, have your thyroid checked. A misbehaving thyroid can cause extreme skin dryness and even cracking of the toenails. Check your nails too. Do you see small pits or curves in your nails? These could be signs of psoriasis, anemia, or even lupus. But don’t jump to conclusions, only a podiatrist or other physician can definitively diagnose these conditions.

  1. Circulation

Do you have bald toes? Are your feet cold all of the time? These could be indications of poor circulation. Most people know when they have a serious vascular disease (PAD, arteriosclerosis, etc), but if you once had hairy toes and now they are smooth, this could indicate that your circulation is declining. Cold feet can also be another indicator of a pesky thyroid.

  1. Inflammation

Did you wake up with a bright red, hot, and painful big toe? That would be gout, an inflammatory disease that’s a cousin to arthritis. How about sudden clubbing – swelling of the digits creating a ‘rounded’ look to feet and toes? This could indicate a serious lung infection, intestinal disease (like Crohns), or even lung cancer. Watch the tips of your toes specifically and if you see swelling that just won’t go away, see your podiatrist. Just like vascular diseases though, most people know they have a greater health issue before they see these symptoms.

  1. Persistent sores or numbness

Both of these are strong indicators of diabetes. If you see sores or injuries on your feet (particularly the bottom) that just wont seem to heal or you suddenly start experiencing pins and needles sensations in your feet, have your blood sugar checked. Don’t put this one off either, when left untreated (meaning managing your diabetes) a foot ulcer can worsen over time creating infection. In fact, 6% of people with chronic ulcers end up hospitalized from complications.

  1. Pain

I say it over and over again, but pain is never normal! If you experience pain of any sort in your feet, go get it checked. Having pain around your joints? Could be an early indication of arthritis. Constantly cramping up? Could be dehydration or a mineral insufficiency of potassium, calcium, magnesium, or sodium. If your feet hurt all the time and become very painful to walk on you could be losing bone density, an early indication of osteoporosis.

There are all sorts of incredible things your feet can tell you (even if they aren’t really predicting the future) so pay attention to them. Examine your skin and nails for abnormalities, watch for sores or discolorations, and remember that pain in your feet is not normal! Start by seeing your podiatrist to rule out a directly related foot injury or disease then see your primary care physician to continue routine health monitoring. Your feet can tell you a lot if you just stop and listen.