According to the Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine, three-quarters of Canadians will experience foot health problems at some time in their lives.
Why does that matter? When our feet aren’t working properly, it can impact just about every other element of our body, making everyday tasks difficult or painful.
“A lot of people take their feet for granted, until there’s a problem,” explains Red Deer podiatrist Darren Woodruff, from Central Alberta Podiatry
“I often here from someone who’s waited a year or more for their pain to clear up and then we see them walk out of our office feeling so much better than when they walked in.”
In practice in Red Deer for six years, Woodruff grew up south of Calgary, and completed medical school in Arizona and residency in Ohio before returning home to Alberta. Intrigued by the variety a career in podiatry presented, “there are so many different things we can treat to help our patients live well.”
Who’s at risk for foot issues?
From children to seniors, Woodruff’s patients are as diverse as the reasons for their visiting.
In children, teens and adults, common areas of focus include flat feet and orthotics, in-grown toenails, fungus or warts, which can be addressed easily in-office with laser treatment, and traumatic injury. For older patients, many of those same issues crop up, along with concerns like nail and foot care, especially for those with diabetic and circulation concerns.
In Alberta, patients referred through their family doctor to their podiatrist for surgical treatment are typically covered by Alberta Health.
Non-surgical treatment doesn’t require a referral; some care may be covered by Alberta Health, with additional coverage often available through third-party insurance.
How can you put your best foot forward?
One of the best ways to care for your feet for life is to pay attention to your foot wear.
“It’s just about being mindful about the shoes you’re wearing and the activity you’re doing,” Woodruff explains.
“If you want to go out for a long walk, don’t do it in flip-flops; do it in shoes that offer good support. I’m not opposed to sandals, but get something that has support, and that are appropriate for the activities you’re enjoying.”
High heels can be another common culprit for those who wear them for long days on your feet.
For those with conditions such as diabetes, regular foot care with clinic manager and lead pedicurist Lisa Pladsbjerg will go a long way to ensuring overall wellness.