In many cases arthritis may not be preventable. However, weight control and nutritional supplements may help minimize symptoms. Low impact exercise may also be of value.
Optimizing weight control and low impact activities may limit the pain experienced from impingement. Individuals who have had an ankle sprain may benefit from strengthening exercises.
Instability may be prevented with early recognition and treatment of an ankle sprain with a formalized therapeutic exercise program. For individuals with underlying foot deformities, orthotics may also be utilized.
Prevention may be possible through diligent stretching exercises before and after exercises. Use of orthoses and/or changing running shoes may help prevent strain on the Achilles tendon. One should avoid aggressive increase in duration and distance of impact activities. For runners, this would require minimizing increase in intensity to greater than 10% a week. In addition, avoiding sprinting and hill running will help minimize symptoms.
BUNIONS (HALLUX VALGUS) AND HAMMERTOES
Shoe wear selection is the most common and preferred step in prevention. Many bunion deformities don’t progress and can be managed without surgery.
Cavus foot deformity often is a static deformity and there may not be measures to prevent it. However the use of inserts, low impact exercises and weight management can help minimize painful symptoms.
Foot problems are a significant risk for patients with diabetes. Prevention and daily surveillance are critical to avoid injuries and complications to your foot.
Prevention starts with blood glucose control. Elevated blood sugars will eventually destroy the nerves on your foot leading to a condition known as neuropathy. It’s the neuropathy that puts your foot at risk injury and deformity. With the loss of feeling in your foot, you won’t know when an injury or problem arises. Any injury that occurs MUST be addressed by a physician.
You should inspect your foot daily for breaks in the skin, blisters, bruises and areas of warmth and redness. If need be use a mirror to inspect your feet or ask for help from a loved one. Look in between your toes, the ball and sides of your feet and your heel.
In addition, keep your feet clean. You may wash with mild soap and water. Avoid soaking your feet and dry them carefully especially in between the toes. ALWAYS check water temp with your hand first. Avoid lotion between the toes. Trim nails straight across and avoiding leaving sharp edges or corners. Ask for assistance if difficulty arises. Avoid use of antiseptic solutions, heating pads and sharp objects. Don’t put your foot in front of a fireplace or space heater.
Never walk barefoot and avoid use of sandals and/or flip flops.
Shoe wear selection is a critical element in protecting your foot. When buying shoes, go later in the day when your foot is typically larger. Shoes should fit comfortably and not need to be broken in. Look for a shoe with a soft leather material and wide, deep toe box. Check your foot regularly before and after shoe use. Wear clean dry sock. Avoid socks with wrinkles. Avoid socks or stockings with elastic tops. Many commercially made diabetic socks are available.
Orthotic management plays an important role in protection of the diabetic foot and prevention of an ulcer. These are specialty items that are customized to your foot.
As a result of diabetic neuropathy, deformities in the foot can and often do, occur. This results in the change in the shape of your foot and puts you at risk for ulceration. Charcot arthropathy is the term that describes the deformities that occur in the diabetic foot as a result of neuropathy. Treatment for a Charcot foot is possible through the use of casting, bracing and customized insoles and shoes.
Despite optimal management of the diabetic foot and its deformities, surgery may be necessary to correct these deformities and address ulcers that dint heal. Your orthopaedic surgeon will be your best resource for the optimal management of these conditions.
There may not be a specific way to prevent the development of flatfoot, whether it is a congenital condition or as a result of a torn posterior tibial tendon (PTT). However, if left completely ignored, the foot eventually becomes more flat, rigid and arthritis often ensues.
Weight management, stretching exercises and diligent use of orthotic devices may slow the progression of this disorder.
One may not be able to prevent the development or progression of foot arthritis, however, weight management and low impact exercises may limit the intensity and exacerbation of symptoms.
It’s important that you keep up with a stretching program after the initial symptoms have improved. This will help prevent recurrence. Supportive shoe wear and low impact exercises will also be beneficial.