June is Men's Health Month!
The purpose of Men's Health Month is to educate and encourage the public to prioritize men's health by engaging in healthy lifestyles, attending screenings for a better chance at early detection of male health problems, and shedding light on the importance of mental health for men.
How Can I Celebrate Men's Health Month?
Despite advances in medical technology and research, men live an average of five years less than women. There are numerous factors that contribute to the saddening statistics. For one, men are less likely to seek mental health services for depression, stress, and substance abuse, leading to higher rates of suicide. A lack of regular health screenings and routine doctor's visits also results in higher mortality rates.
Countless health organizations have put out recommendations on what to do for Men's Health Month. Here is a handy list I compiled:
- Schedule your screening. Think about that postcard you got for your eye exam, hearing test, dentist check-up, or other routine health screening. Call the office and get an appointment scheduled. This includes your annual diabetic foot exam.
- Take a walk. Challenge yourself to go for an evening walk every night for the whole month of June. You might even consider joining a virtual walking challenge. I recommend checking out the variety of fun and rewarding challenges available through The Conqueror Virtual Challenges.
- Learn a few things. The internet, and probably your email inbox, are bursting with men's health articles this month. Men's Health Library has a massive catalog of topical articles related to all things Men's Health.
If you're not a man, you can take part in these activities by encouraging the men in your life to prioritize their mental and physical health. For fathers, it is especially important to set a positive example for your children by teaching them that health is wealth!
What Foot Issues Affect Men?
Unfortunately for, well, everyone, foot problems don't exactly discriminate. There are certain conditions, like bunions and hammertoes, that affect women more often than men. But what conditions should men be on the lookout for?
The CDC reports that men are more likely to acquire Type II Diabetes at a lower weight than women. Men typically store fat in their bellies, which is a diabetes risk factor. Men are often more likely to have undiagnosed diabetes, a result of men neglecting regular doctor visits for fear of getting bad news.
What does this bad news mean for the feet? Diabetes can lead to a loss of sensation in the feet, delayed healing, and an increased risk of infections. A tiny cut, blister, or scrape on the foot of someone with diabetes can mean months, even years, of regular wound-care appointments; left untreated, these small cuts could become full-blown ulcers, resulting in serious issues and even amputation.
It's a no-brainer: take care of your feet. If you have diabetes, attending at least one diabetic foot check-up every year can greatly decrease your risk of complications. Follow these other diabetic foot-care tips and keep your feet in tip-top shape!
Men may be more likely to suffer from chronic ingrown toenails for a few reasons. Since frequent ingrown toenails can be caused by genetics, that could play a part. Additionally, wearing ill-fitting shoes can cause excess rubbing, resulting in damaged and ingrown toenails. I often see men coming into the office with infected ingrown toenails. I have heard countless patients explain that they "dig out" their own ingrown toenails, something I call "bathroom surgery" and don't recommend at all.
Whatever the cause, there are a few ways to prevent ingrown toenails:
- Wear shoes that fit properly.
- Cut your toenails straight across, and keep up with regular trimming.
- Don't cut or dig out your existing ingrown toenails as this will lead to infection.
- Make an appointment as soon as you can rather than wait for the problem to get worse.
If you think you may have athlete's foot, there's one way to be sure: take a whiff of your shoes. Is the aroma pretty much the opposite of flowers and rainbows? You could have athlete's foot. At the very least, foot odor and stinky shoes can be embarrassing and troublesome for you and others living in your household. Luckily, an appointment might not even be necessary to treat the cause of smelly shoes. These at-home athlete's foot hacks will have your feet smelling better in no time.
If your skin is itchy and irritated, an over-the-counter cream may be able to help. If the problem persists or gets worse, it's important to schedule an appointment to avoid the serious issues that may arise from untreated athlete's foot, such as cellulitis.
Basic Foot-Care Tips for Men
Your feet move you through life! Without them, you can't chase your kids and grandkids around. You can't play that extra round of golf, swim that extra lap, or run that extra mile. Healthy feet are just one of the building blocks of overall health, so it's important to take care of your whole body. Why not start with the feet?
Here are a few more tips to help you take the best possible care of your feet:
- Clean your feet with soap and warm water every time you shower.
- Apply lotion to your feet, focusing on your heels and avoiding the spaces between your toes.
- Change your socks every day and after working out.
- Wear properly-fitted shoes and replace them when they become worn-out.
- Attend regular podiatry-visits if you have diabetes.
- Avoid traditional nail salons that may put you at risk for fungal nails and plantar warts (try a medi-pedi instead!)
- Trim your nails regularly.
And lastly, don't wait to seek treatment if you're suffering from anything out of the ordinary. From diabetic foot check-ups to consultations for warts, fungus, and heel pain, Freeland Foot and Ankle Clinic is the go-to place for comprehensive and compassionate foot care. Call or text us at 989-695-6788 today and ask about same-day appointments.