27 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, what your foot doctor wants you to know.
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 your feet anymore, but feet often get bigger as you age.
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. Here’s another important reason to never wear shoes without socks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. You can also try these homemade foot scrubs to pamper your feet.
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.
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. In the meantime, look out for these subtle signs of disease your feet can reveal.
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. Don’t fall for these other little shoe mistakes that are killing your feet.
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.
Fit your shoe to your longest toe
That might not be your great toe—a lot of people’s second toe is longer.
Barefoot running? Great idea—if you can stay on sand or earth
Do it on concrete, and you’ll end up with stress fractures and some very bad inflammation.
Here’s a home remedy to cure your stinky feet
Make some really strong black tea, then soak your feet in it two or three times a week for 20 minutes. The tannic acid has been shown to temporarily shrink sweat ducts so they don’t work as hard. Plus, here are some more smart tricks to keep your shoes smell-free.
Please don’t ask me to file or cut your nails
I’m a podiatrist, not a pedicurist.
I wear flip-flops too…
But if you wear them every day, all day, you will end up in my office eventually. Those shoes are designed for the beach and pool, not for walking all over the place. Make sure you know these doctor-approved tips about wearing sandals.
I have people who tell me that I changed their life
And it turns out all I did was tell them to wear a bigger size. I think, Did that really change your life? But if they had a lot of pain, it’s a big deal.
A sock that’s too small can cause a blister
Yes, just like a shoe can. Go with what feels comfortable.
Don’t get gypped when buying new shoes
A good shoe salesman will always watch you walk or run.
The best socks today are not 100 percent cotton
Look for materials that promise to wick moisture away.
You want to try an over-the-counter remedy for your nail fungus first?
Go ahead. I know you’ll be back to see me before long. Find out how to get rid of toenail fungus.
Your cuticles are there for a reason
You can push them back, but don’t cut.
I had a patient who had stepped on a pencil when she was 8 years old
Ten years later, her foot was bothering her. When I went in, I found a pencil lead, perfectly intact.
Orthotics and arch supports should be firm
If it’s jelly-like or soft and smushy, then that’s not support, that’s cushioning, and it’s probably not going to help your problem. Don’t miss these common foot problems and podiatrists’ simple solutions.
Many women are embarrassed about showing me their feet
I can’t tell you how many women have told me that they feel as if they are going to the gynecologist when they have to take off their shoes!
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.
Here are some tips for finding a doctor you can trust.
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.