Keeping feet healthy no small feat |

Keeping feet healthy no small feat

Amanda Holt MillerPost Independent Staff

RIFLE – Different legends tell the story of an elephant indebted for life to whomever or whatever creature removed a splinter from his foot. It’s hard to imagine a 14,000-pound elephant pinning the rest of his life on a splinter.”It may seem simple,” said podiatrist Edward Behen. “But if there’s something wrong with your feet and you can’t get around, it affects your life.”Behen is a podiatrist – a foot doctor – in Rifle. Feet are complicated. They contain a quarter of all the bones in the human body.”There are at least 2,000 different things that can go wrong with the feet,” Behen said.And the thing is, some of those problems seem like they should be simple and harmless. An ingrown nail, for example, doesn’t seem like it should spoil the day.”You’ve never had an ingrown nail then,” Behen said, laughing.Ingrown nails are painful and make shoes uncomfortable and walking almost unbearable, if they’re bad enough. Behen treats everything from ingrown nails to bunions to heel spurs. A lot of the problems he sees can be treated with prescription orthopedics – foot supports designed specifically for his patients’ feet.

Behen suggest changing socks every day and twice a day for people who have particularly sweaty feet. He said everyone is exposed to fungus and bacteria every day. The key is to avoid giving it a chance to breed.”Let’s start with birth,” Behen said of all the things that can go wrong with the feet.He said problems like club feet – misshapen feet that require surgical adjustment -have become rarer as prenatal care and nutrition has improved in modern times.He said kids in middle school often start to see ingrown toenails and warts, viral infections in the skin. Sports can also cause soreness and heel pain.”That’s usually a biomechanical problem,” Behen said. “The foot structure doesn’t work effectively and there’s soreness.”Behen said that as people get older there are more and more things that go wrong with the feet.The average person could walk around the globe more than four times in a lifetime – that’s 115,000 miles. “The tires on your car don’t last that long,” Behen said. Feet are the first part of the body to show signs of diabetes. That’s because they are the farthest extremity from the heart and diabetes causes blood circulation problems. After time, feet can also begin to develop painful problems like heel spurs and bunions. Heel spurs are caused by calcium build-ups in the foot do to prolonged stress on the foot. A bunion is an enlargement of the big toe joint. Both of those problems are often fixed with surgery.

Behen said about 90 percent of the foot problems he sees can be treated without surgery. He advises anyone with pain to see a doctor. As is the case in most medical fields, “early detection is key,” Behen said.”Feet problems can be debilitating,” Behen said. “You only get one pair. You need to take good care of them.”Contact Amanda Holt Miller at 945-8515 ext. 529 ahmiller@postindependent.comFun facts about feet• More than a quarter of all the bones in the human body are in the feet.• Women have four times more feet problems than men (high heals are often to blame).

• Women average an extra three miles a day on their feet than men.• During a typical day, feet endure a cumulative force of several hundred tons.• The average person takes 10,000 steps a day.• The average person walks the equivalent of more than four laps around the globe in their lifetime – that’s 115,000 miles.• There are 250,000 sweat glands in the average pair of feet, releasing a cup of moisture each day. • Matthew McGrory, of Florida, has the largest feet in the world. He wears a size 28 1/2.• Scientists believe man created the first shoes during the ice age, more than 5 million years ago. They were made with animal skin.• It’s best to go shoe shopping in the afternoon when your feet are slightly swollen so you can avoid pinching. • 3/4 of Americans experience serious foot problems in their lifetime- Information from Dr. Edward Behen and

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