Women's health and fitness have been historically plagued by superstitions, myths, and vast misinformation. Diet culture, unrealistic beauty standards, and societal pressures may cause women to look at health and fitness as a chore or obligation; however, this day is meant to celebrate health and fitness as a right and privilege and hopefully help women find joy in getting in some movement and taking care of their bodies.
On Women's Health and Fitness Day 2023, women should also remember to take care of their feet. Happy and healthy feet make it easier to maintain an active lifestyle.
Keep reading today's article to learn how to take better care of your feet and find ways to get active and stay healthy.
Don't Be Embarrassed by Your Toenails
It may not be surprising to learn that most women who come into my office are shy about showing their feet. For one reason or another, being self-conscious about how your feet look has become the norm.
I'm here to tell you: there's nothing to be embarrassed about.
If you have an issue, whether it's foot pain or a wart, you shouldn't delay seeking treatment because you're embarrassed. As a foot and ankle specialist, I've truly seen it all. No medical provider should approach a patient with judgment, and their bedside manner should come from a place of genuine care, empathy, and understanding.
That said, the number-one cause of embarrassment is, without a doubt, toenails. There are many causes for thick, discolored, or otherwise painful toenails:
- Microtrauma. Constant rubbing on the inside of ill-fitting shoes (either too big or too small) can cause the nails to become thick, discolored, and sore.
- Fungal infection. A fungal infection can stem from countless sources, is diagnosed through a laboratory test, and can be treated over the counter.
- Ingrown toenails. If pain is the main issue, an ingrown toenail could be the cause; luckily, there are non-surgical options to eliminate this painful condition.
If you think you may be suffering from any of the issues above or have concerns about the look of your toenails, there's no better time than the present to have a professional take a look.
At Freeland Foot and Ankle, we offer an alternative to acrylic nails called Keryflex Nail Restoration. This service can help you regain confidence in the appearance of your nails. Additionally, over-the-counter treatments for fungal toenails and laser nail therapy are available.
Dry, cracked heels? Urea Care is here to help.
Overcoming Foot and Heel Pain
Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle can be difficult when you suffer from chronic pain, acute issues, and sports injuries. Whether you're a runner, walker, athlete, or just someone trying to hit your daily step goal, there are plenty of ways to get rid of pain for good.
Custom Orthotics for Women
Foot, heel, and ankle pain may stem from an issue with your foot structure or your gait. A simple gait analysis may help to determine the cause of you discomfort and point to the appropriate solution. Before you start thinking about the possiblity of an invasive surgical procedure (who has time for that?), consider custom orthotics, or shoe inserts, as a conservative treatment option.
Custom orthotics are made specifially for you based on your gait, the structure of your feet, the size of your feet, your height and weight, and more. Because they are made just for you, you can rest assured that your feet will start to feel better within 2-3 weeks of being fitted.
Got insurance? Ask us if your orthotics will be covered.
Laser Therapy for On-Demand Pain Relief
For busy women suffering from pain, laser pain therapy can help achieve nearly immediate pain relief. The technology targets the specific point where pain is at its worst and stimulates the body's natural immune responses. Basically, the laser tells says to the body, "Hey! We need some feel-better hormones down here!"
Laser pain therapy is suitable for:
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Sprained ankles
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Heel pain
- Sports injuries
More chronic conditions, such as chronic plantar fasciitis, can be alleviated by shockwave therapy, also called EPAT. This technology is not recommended for those with diabetes, neuropathy, or those who are pregnant.
Top 5 Health and Fitness Tips for Women
Aside from foot-related issues, here are some tips to help increase your activity level and improve your health! Don't forget, physical activity and proper nutrition are just as important for the sake of you mental health as your physical health.
- Get your steps in. A study reported on by Time Magazine, performed by the American Journal of Epidemilogy, found that doing "basically anything other than sitting" for 30 minutes per day can reduce your risk of early dealth by about 17 percent. Shoot for between 7000 and 10,000 steps per day. If you have a sedentary role at work, be sure to get up and move around every 30 minutes or so.
- Eat a balanced diet. A balanced plate should have a variety of macro- and micro-nutrients; that is, carbs, fat, and protein, as well as the necessary vitamins and minerals, like magnesium, vitamin D, B-12, and C.
- Don't fall for fad diets. There are a lot of people who make a lot of money selling women the "secret" to weight loss. If you feel like you need to lose weight, do follow a doctor's recommendations, maintain a balanced diet (see above), and a get into regular exercise routine. Don't do starvation diets, eliminate whole food-groups, or over-exercise in an effort to lose weight.
- Attend regular health screenings. Women over 18 should see an OB/GYN regularly, or have a pap smear performed by their primary care provider. Additional cancer screenings, such as colon cancer and breast cancer, should also be performed regularly. At the very least, attend your annual physical and address any other concerns you have about your health with a licensed medical provider.
- Stretch daily. This video by Kiana Docherty talks about what happens when we don't move enough, the benefits of stretching everyday, and the root causes for many common issues such as back pain. Stretch from head to toe! Sit in front of the TV, set a timer for 15 minutes, and just stretch it out. For a list of stretching techniques to aid in relieving heal pain, read our article about our top four foot stretches.