Nothing saps your energy more quickly than sore feet. Whether from over exertion or from an injury, the doctors at Illinois Bone and Joint Institute know that when your feet hurt it’s not just your feet—you feel the hurt from top to bottom. So we try to advise patients about the simple steps they can take for good foot health—and if injuries or other issues do arise, we ensure that we fully educate our patients about their conditions.

“Patient education is pivotal to both appropriate expectations and a successful outcome,” says Dr. Steven Haddad, an IBJI Board certified physician who was recently named president of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. Dr. Haddad’s goal, and the goal of all of the doctors at IBJI, is to make sure every patient fully understands the condition they’re facing.

With that goal in mind, IBJI offers these simple tips to help prevent foot and ankle issues from tripping you up this fall:

    1. Wear shoes that fit properly. It’s just plain common sense, but it’s amazing how often shoes are purchased that don’t fit quite right. Perhaps they were on sale, or they were just the style and color you wanted. But shoes that aren’t a good fit aren’t a good buy. Follow the recommendations provided by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons to make sure you’re getting the right fit.
    1. And if you play a sport, wear the right shoes. Participating in a sport like basketball, soccer, or running more than two or three times per week puts a lot of stress on feet and ankles, so be sure to wear shoes designed specifically for that sport. You’ll play better in the right shoe and protect your foot at the same time.
    1. Practice good foot hygiene. Trim your toenails flat across the nail—not too short, and not too long. Trimming too short can lead to issues like ingrown toenails, and leaving them long can affect the fit of your shoes. Ask your doctor about using a pumice stone to smooth corns and calluses. Don’t use over-the-counter products or sharp objects on a corn or callus as you may risk injury.
    1. Keep the blood circulating in your feet. If you’ve been sitting for a long period of time, get up and walk around. Wiggle your toes and rotate your ankles to keep the blood moving.
  1. Give your feet a rest—put them up when you’re watching TV or sitting at your desk. And take the opportunity to give them a gentle stretch at the same time.

And if something more serious does arise, ask for a referral to an orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon. As Dr. Haddad noted in a recent article in Orthopedics This Week “there is no doubt that AOFAS members are the most qualified to treat both common and complex foot and ankle problems.”