Your feet are a critical part of your body; they help you stay active and balanced, yet it’s easy to take their health for granted. To maintain your well-being – and to keep your feet, the foundation of your body, strong – it’s important to heed the advice of professionals. Here, Arnold Ravick, DPM, podiatrist with the George Washington University (GW) Medical Faculty Associates (MFA), outlines the steps you should take to stay injury-free.
Why is it important to care for your feet?
Ravick: Between 75 and 80% of the population, depending on the study, has reported a foot problem. Problems with feet can have a serious effect on quality of life.
What strategies do you recommend to ensure feet stay healthy?
Ravick: Inspections are critical because most of us do not pay attention to our feet until there is a problem. Supportive and comfortable shoes that fit correctly are important. You should also moisturize your feet, and if you see anything you think is not normal, see a podiatric physician. Pain is not normal and often indicates a problem, which is another reason to seek care from a podiatric physician.
What are common foot injuries?
Ravick: The most common injury is plantar fasciitis, or inflammation of the band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes, as well as heel or arch pain. Another common injury is a fracture. During the pandemic, with many going without shoes at home, we have seen a significant increase in foot injuries.
How do you treat these foot injuries?
Ravick: The treatment for plantar fasciitis is stretching and support. We can also use anti-inflammatories if needed, as well as cortisone injections.
How can patients prevent injuries from happening?
Ravick: Prevention involves stretching, exercising smartly, and wearing better athletic shoes. Overdoing exercise can lead to injuries and even stress fractures. Also, be careful in the house when barefoot to avoid injury.
How does the GW MFA care for patients with foot injuries or foot-related health issues?
Ravick: The GW MFA has a group of podiatric physicians who are trained to treat all facets of foot health and injury. All patients should know that getting an exam if you suspect a foot problem is the best way to avoid long-term injury.
To make an appointment with a podiatric physician, visit the Division of Podiatry at the GW MFA or call 202-741-3191.