Every June, workplaces across the country gear up for the annual Commuter Challenge. The challenge is a week-long event that encourages employees to use active and sustainable transportation during Canadian Environment Week (June 4-10, 2017). The friendly competition rewards walking, biking, carpooling/ride-sharing, taking transit and telecommuting, instead of driving alone. But before you tune-up the bike or get your sneakers ready, you should prep your most important piece of equipment; your feet!
Foot health is a topic that does not get enough attention. Chelsea Heath, Occupational Therapist, explains how the several small bones in our feet play an important role in foot function. “The muscles, ligaments and tendons of the foot maintain the position of the bones in your feet, and control how they move. Changes to the shape of the bones or to the muscles, ligaments or tendons can change the way the foot contacts the ground. If the foot does not contact the ground the way it is supposed to, for example from dropped arches, high arches, the foot rolling in, etc., this can cause pain and in the foot and other parts of the body.”
There are several common conditions that can affect our feet. “Arthritis, tendinitis and injuries are of some examples of orthopedic conditions that can occur and cause issues. Other conditions, such as diabetes, peripheral neuropathy and cardiac disease can cause symptoms like numbness, burning and tingling in feet. This can also make feet more prone to developing wounds and can affect the feeling in feet and also balance,” explains Heath.
However, wearing the right shoes can be a simple means of preventing foot issues from occurring. Luckily, Heath has some helpful tips to consider when buying new shoes. “It is best to go to someone who measures the size, width and depth of your foot, watches you walk, gives advice and makes appropriate suggestions. Shoes should be comfortable right away, but you should wear them around the house for a day before taking them outside to make sure that they are comfortable,” suggests Heath.
These are Heath’s top tips for keeping your feet healthy:
For more information on foot heath, visit www.podiatrycanada.org/foot-health