Taking care of your feet is the foundation of good overall health

healthier-feetMaybe you don’t think much about your feet, but foot health takes on more and more importance as we age. And this isn’t just about getting a stylish pedicure, either. Proper foot care means trimming nails correctly, checking for warts or growths, looking out for toenail fungus, and carefully managing ingrown toenails.

Most of us can’t take adequate care of our feet – either because we can’t reach them anymore, or we don’t know how. A podiatrist is a skilled medical practitioner, trained in all aspects of foot care, including foot surgery. Medicare Part B covers the cost of medically necessary podiatry services (click here for a complete listing of what Part B covers).

Problems with the feet can be early warning signs of serious conditions, such as circulatory issues, diabetes, and arthritis. And foot care takes on significant importance for those with medical conditions that indirectly affect the feet. For example, diabetes often causes peripheral neuropathy, which results in numbness in the feet (and sometimes hands as well). Chemotherapy can cause these symptoms as well. Numbness makes it easier to sustain injury to the feet, and can delay diagnosis, since the patient may not even be aware that there’s a problem.

Here are six important tips to maintaining healthy feet:

  1. When sitting down, put your feet up to improve blood flow from and to the feet.
  2. Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, and ingrown toenails. This is especially important if you have diabetes. A mirror with a long handle can help if you can’t see well enough.
  3. Keep your feet clean by washing and drying thoroughly every day. Use a good-quality, non-toxic powder in moist climates.
  4. Make sure your shoes are supportive and fit well. Avoid heels!
  5. See the professionals! You can do serious damage trying to shave corns yourself.
  6. Make sure to see your doctor right away if you have a sore on your foot that’s not healing as quickly as it should.

Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.