13 Things Your Podiatrist Won’t Tell You

What favorite shoe keeps podiatrists in business? What do podiatrists wish you'd do before your appointment? Here, 13 things your foot doctor wants you to know.

By Michelle Crouch from Reader's Digest, | November 2011
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    1. When you go into a shoe store, your salesperson should measure your feet.

    A lot of you have been wearing the same-size shoe for the past 30 years because no one measures you anymore, but feet often get bigger as you age.

    2. Your feet don't need to smell.

    You use antiperspirant on your armpits to keep them from getting stinky, don't you? The same stuff works on your feet. Try the spray kind. Alternate your shoes so they have a chance to dry completely, and wear socks. Otherwise, the sweat will promote the growth of bacteria that stay in your shoes.

    3. Infections from nail salons keep us in business.

    If you want a pedicure, book the first appointment of the day, when the equipment is cleaner. Those footbaths can be especially germy. Even if technicians spray the basin between customers, many of the tubs have drains and filters that don't get cleaned.

    4. Toe separators, bunion splints, and "yoga toes" may help you feel better,

    but they aren't going to get rid of hammertoes and bunions. You've got to come to me for that. If you have a structural problem, a $6 device isn't going to reverse anything.

    5. Some podiatrists will shorten toes or do injections so you can wear high heels more comfortably.

    But I don't believe in cosmetic surgery for feet. You shouldn't have surgery if you're not in pain, because you will have pain after surgery — that's a guarantee. It has to be worth it. Otherwise, you're asking for trouble.

    6. Buy shoes at a specialty running store, even if you just walk for exercise.

    Well-trained staff will help you get the right athletic shoe — they can really analyze your foot and gait.

    7. I've seen all sorts of things, including people who have shot their feet.

    You really shouldn't clean your loaded gun after you've had a couple of beers. Another dumb move: mowing the lawn in flip-flops. The first weekend of every spring, doctors see a lot of injuries.

    8. If you have dry, cracked feet, try AmLactin.

    It's just an over-the-counter lotion, but it's like a miracle. Put it on a couple of times a week, and the calluses will just slough off.

    9. Sometimes if a bunion is really bad, a patient will ask me to amputate her second toe.

    I won't do it, because it won't fix the problem. I tell those patients to tell their daughters: Get your bunions taken care of now. If you wait until they get really bad, they'll be much harder to fix.

    10. I don't have a problem with people getting pedicures, but please don't shave right before you go.

    You might be embarrassed by your stubble, but it will be worse when bacteria and fungus enter the microscopic nicks on your ankle and give you an infection.

    11. Over-the-counter "custom-fit" orthotics are a bit of a gimmick.

    They'll help if you just need some arch support and padding, but they're nothing like the orthotics I make after creating a mold of your feet in my office. Orthotics are like eyeglasses for the feet. They're made to correct the specific biomechanics of the way you walk.

    12. A lot of you hurt your foot or ankle exercising and head straight to an orthopedic surgeon.

    But unless he or she is specifically trained in the foot and ankle, coming to me is a better bet.

    13. Please wash your feet before you come see me.

    And change your socks — I can tell if you've worn the same ones for three days. Sources: Jane Andersen, a podiatrist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Marlene Reid, a podiatrist in Naperville, Illinois; Carly Robbins, a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio; Jacqueline Sutera, a podiatrist in New York, New York; Cary Zinkin, a podiatrist in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

    See 14 More Things Your Podiatrist Won't Tell You

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    Your Comments

    • D

      Why do you need to go to an athletic store for shoes? Isn’t an orthopaedic store with a pedorthist another option worth mentioning?

    • patient

      what to comment…!??! nothing helpful ..or we don’t know…
      SHAME on you “Readers Digest”… !!!

    • Graeme

      I’m a Podiatrist and what a poor ill informed article with not a shred of truth.

      • AprilReign

        I’m really curious to hear back only from Graeme. Everything he said makes sense. Except about the spring time and the lawnmowers and guns and wrong footwear “flip flops” – but then i thought, well would a podiatrist really even be seeing those sorts of cases? seems to me those would be showing up in an ER room, not scheduled 2 weeks later in a Podiatrists office, right? But then perhaps they do follow up care? Or, he lives in a state where neither flip-flops (like Florida) nor gun enthusiasts like Colorado, or perhaps we even need to consider carefully the states of Arizona and New Mexico, where entire yards are replaced with gravel and have no lawn mowers in sight. I would definitely appreciate greater input from Graeme, from some gritty-real life podiatrist experiences, and give us some of the truth missing in this Reader’s Digest piece.‹‹››