Join us on September 27, 2016, 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for the free class “Get the Most Miles Out of Your Feet.” The class will take place at the UVM Medical Center Davis Auditorium. Click here to register. 

Stephen Merena, DPM, is a podiatrist in the Department of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

Stephen Merena, DPM, is a podiatrist in the Department of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

Summer days are getting shorter and the beautiful colors of autumn are right around the corner. It is a time to be outside and active. To enjoy this time of year it is essential that we keep our feet in good shape and out of harm’s way. A foot problem can stop you in your tracks.

Here are a few tips to help get the most mileage out of your feet over the cooler autumn months.

Shoe gear

Whether you are hiking, biking or working to harvest the final yield of your garden, make a smart choice with shoe gear. If you anticipate navigating uneven terrain, make sure to pick a shoe with a sturdy sole so that your feet don’t have to deal with as much stress and strain. High-topped hiking boots may offer more support if you’ve experienced previous ankle sprains.

Keep in mind that wet shoes equal wet feet. Skin with moisture trapped against it is more apt to get irritated and blister. If you are planning a long trek, consider having a back-up pair of shoes and socks.

Appropriate activity level

Your feet are not just bones and skin. There are many different moving parts including tendons, muscles and ligaments that help coordinate normal weight bearing and gait. If you do “too much too soon,” you may invite an overuse injury. When you ask more of your feet with any activity, increasing that activity gradually over time will decrease the likelihood developing a nagging injury.

Listen to your feet

Pushing through the pain,” is a recipe for trouble! Pain is the body’s natural way of letting you know that something is wrong. Sometimes the problem is easy to remedy. However, some injuries require prompt and/or appropriate medical care. If you feel pain, stop what you are doing and inspect your feet. Look for breaks in the skin, discoloration, swelling or pain to the touch. Seek medical care promptly if you are not sure how to resolve the pain.

If you are diabetic, you should make sure to check your feet every day and especially after new activities. Be extra careful with shoe gear. BEWARE: With diabetic feet, pain may not be present even when there may be a significant problem!

Keep these tips in mind over the autumn season and get the most out of your feet!

Stephen Merena, DPM, is a podiatrist in the Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Department at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

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