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International Podiatry Day: Five tips to put your best foot forward

International Podiatry Day: Five tips to put your best foot forward


International Podiatry day is about spreading awareness about common foot conditions and providing education on how to take a step in the right direction for better foot health.

Written by Virginia Garnier

Hello Charles Sturt students and Happy International Podiatry Day! (Which is on 8 October).  

My name is Virginia and I am a third year student studying a Bachelor of Podiatric Medicine (Podiatry) at the Albury/ Wodonga campus. 

While every human is individual and unique in their own way, a similarity most of us share is that we have two feet we heavily rely upon to get us from point A to point B. Therefore, ensuring our feet are healthy and well looked after is of utmost importance.

International Podiatry day is about spreading awareness about common foot conditions and providing education on how to take a step in the right direction for better foot health. There are many conditions, such as Diabetes or Arthritis, as well as lifestyle factors like footwear or occupation which both directly and indirectly impact the health of your feet. Below are five things that I wish everyone knew to help maintain healthy feet.

Tips you can do to ensure you enter each day with your best foot forward:

  • Stretch your calves! 

Podiatry isn’t all about toe nails, we also work a lot with gait problems and foot pain. A common contributor to foot pain is tight calves. When we are walking there is a certain order that is supposed to happen where different parts of the foot hit the ground at different times.

Tight calves can pull the heel up causing an early heel lift, resulting in incorrect pressure distribution through the middle and front of our foot. This puts a lot more weight through other foot structures causing them to be painful and tender.

A way to help relieve some foot pain is by doing simple calf stretches regularly. This can include holding a lunge while you’re brushing your teeth or washing dishes or pulling the front of your foot back with a towel when sitting on the couch watching TV.

  • Apply moisturiser regularly 

We all work hard to maintain our health and look after our organs yet we often forget about our biggest organ, our skin! As our skin ages and we lose collagen, our skin gets thinner and less elastic. This makes it a lot easier to create cuts and breaks in the skin which could get infected or even not heal and turn into an ulcer.

One way to help our skin is by applying moisturiser every night; paying special attention to our legs and feet. This will help the structural integrity of the skin and reduce the risk of skin breaks.

  • Shoes matter

As much as everyone loves a flexible and soft shoe, the super soft sneakers from Kmart or even Skechers will do more harm than good in the long run.

A good shoe should have adequate arch support, a small heel raise to ensure the shoe isn’t completely flat, a firm heel cup that doesn’t collapse when pressed down, and it should be a sturdy enough shoe that you can’t bend it in half. Incorrect footwear can cause pain in many places on the foot including the arch, heel, and the balls of your feet.

A quick test for your own shoes is to try bending them in half. If you can do this easily (like with Skechers) it’s probably time for some new shoes!

  • Don’t go digging when cutting nails

When cutting toe nails it is important to do it in a way that won’t result in pain or discomfort for you down the line. This means cutting the nail straight across and not too short. You should still be able to see a thin strip of the white of the nail at the top and both of the corners.

If you cut down the sides you may cause the new nail to grow into the corners of skin surrounding the nail causing a painful ingrown nail. If you think the sides need to be cleared, come and see us as we have the specific tools to do this without causing further ingrowns or damage to the area.

  • The feet tell all 

While your eyes may be a window to your soul, your feet are a window to your health. Did you know that a podiatrist can get a pretty good idea of your artery health from looking at your toenails, the state of your veins from looking at your legs and even the way you walk from looking at the callus under your foot? Almost everything that impacts our health will impact our feet in some way or another.

For example, a person with Diabetes who has high blood sugar levels may develop something called peripheral neuropathy which will alter their foot sensation and may lead to wounds. Or, that every cigarette smoked will cut blood flow to the feet by half for one hour.

Even how much we sit at work can be linked to back and hip pain which impacts how we walk. The final and biggest tip is that if you want to look after your feet, look after the rest of your body and vice versa as they are closely linked and influence the health of each other.

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