Abilene podiatrists offer foot care advice

Appeared in: Reporter News

By: Scott Kirk

Published on: 08/14/12

If Martin Sloan could have his way, just for one day, the Abilene podiatrist is clear about what his first request would be.

"Get rid of flip-flops," he said.

But, of course, this is summer and that means we dress down, including our feet. But if you're going to wear sandals, make sure of a couple of things, Sloan said.

It doesn't really make a difference whether the sandals are open- or closed-toed, but they need to have a back and they need to offer stability, he said. You don't want to wear a shoe that you can bend in half and stick in your back pocket.

If Danny Wheat, another local podiatrist, had his preference, more of us would be wearing athletic shoes.

Wheat has a few things he thinks people should look for when they buy athletic shoes.

"The heel counter should be running vertical to the ground," he said. "And the heel cup should give you support. If you push down on it, you shouldn't be able to crush it all the way to the sole."

Wheat added that the sole should bend at the ball of the foot and not at the arch. Also, because most of us have an inward curvature of our foot at the small toe, our shoes should have an in-toed or a straight last, which refers to the shape of the shoe.

"If you get an out-toed last, you're going to be fighting that shoe all the time," he said.

Wheat said he gives his patients great leeway in choosing the appearance of the shoe because the heel counter and sole are the most critical.

Sloan and Wheat had other advice for summer foot care. Both said it's a good idea to wear socks during the summer.

"That does two things," Wheat said. "It wicks away perspiration and it keep away overhydration between your toes. It can also absorb some pressure. Not much, but it does provide a little."

The two doctors agreed that rotating your shoes in the summer is a good idea, with Wheat suggesting that changing shoes and socks during particularly hot days can have some benefits.

Sloan said a moderate amount of going barefoot is not harmful.

"I'm from California, and we went barefoot all the time," he said. "It depends on where you are, but some is all right."

When it comes to pedicures, Sloan said it's vital to make sure the salon sterilizes equipment before it is used.

As many precautions as we might take in caring for our feet, there are many problems we may encounter that we just can't help, experts say. For example, bunions are genetic.

"I'd say about 60 percent of the problems we see are genetic," Wheat said.

Danny Wheat, DPM, graduated from the California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM), formerly known as California College of Podiatric Medicine (CCPM), in 1984.

Source: http://www.reporternews.com/news/2012/aug/14/no-headline---foot_care/

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