Better than any treatment for an injured foot would be the opportunity to avoid the injury in the first place. And, easily enough, the best ways to prevent foot injuries often involve being aware of the ground.
Few of us made it through childhood without a painfully itchy, exasperating case of poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac. Although this is at danger you should caution your own children about, you can still succumb in adulthood. To avoid getting a rash, learn to recognize and avoid the plants.
Poison plants are one good argument for wearing socks and closed shoes outdoors. However, because many people won't do that in the summertime, knowledge and caution are your best defenses. If you do have a rash reaction -- red, itchy patches on the skin -- wash the area as soon as possible with soap and water and apply calamine lotion to relieve the itching. Try not to scratch. Time is the only real "cure" for this condition.
While most of us know to protect ourselves from dangers like poison ivy, few of us give much thought to the ground beneath our feet. Yet it's an important factor in the experiences our feet have outdoors. If you do any kind of activity that involves movement -- walking, running, jumping, or playing a sport -- try to do it on a surface that's least likely to jolt feet and ankles or to cause burning soles.
Concrete is the worst surface for any such activity because it's inflexible, and every time your foot lands on it, your foot (and leg) gets quite a jolt. If you walk or run regularly, do so on a path of packed dirt, if possible; this type of surface is softer than concrete but not as unstable as gravel or grass (uneven surfaces that can cause you to turn your ankle).
Another great choice is packed-down sand, the kind you find on a beach just at the water's edge. Soft, loose sand is the best surface for jumping sports like volleyball. Clay is a better surface for tennis than cement, and be especially careful about tripping if you're playing on grass.
No matter what surface you're walking or playing on, you may eventually encounter something unexpected and sharp. If you do get a cut on your foot, it's important to know what to do. Continue to the next page for details.
To learn more about treating and avoiding problems with your feet, visit:
- Everyday Foot Problems: Discover causes of some of the most commonly encountered foot problems, as well as how to treat or avoid them.
- How to Care for Your Feet:
Learn how to keep your feet -- and yourself -- healthy and happy with
these tips on caring for your feet, including selecting the right