(October 8, 2013 – Statesville, NC) – A study published October 4 in an American Association for Cancer Research journal revealed that postmenopausal women who walked for at least seven hours a week or engaged in vigorous physical activity every day had a reduced risk of breast cancer. The study is “one more reason for women to make regular physical activity part of their lives, and not let foot problems stand in their way,” says sports podiatrist Lori S. Weisenfeld, DPM, Clinical Advisor to the American Running Association and member of the Institute for Preventive Foot Health (IPFH)’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board.
“The study adds to a growing body of research documenting the benefits of regular exercise not only in reducing breast cancer risk for healthy women, but also in increasing quality of life for breast cancer survivors and reducing risk of recurrence,” Dr. Weisenfeld says. “But like many people, women with or without breast cancer often find it difficult to incorporate exercise into their lives. We can’t help them make the time, but we can suggest ways to make it easier and more comfortable to do so by taking care of their feet and properly fitting their footwear.”
To make regular walking easier on the feet:
• Inspect your feet daily. If you see lumps, bumps, bruises, cuts or other signs of problems, see your doctor or a foot health professional.
• Wash your feet in lukewarm—not hot—water daily. If you have neuropathy (nerve damage), use your elbow to test the temperature of the water.
• Apply a thin film of skin-softening lotion to the tops and bottoms of your feet.
• Wear padded socks that provide terry fabric under the fat pads beneath your toes, the ball of the foot and the heel.
• Wear shoes with non-slip outsoles that fit properly.
• Rotate shoes every day and change your socks daily.
If you’re just starting a regular exercise program, “remember that athletic shoes and sneakers generally are a size larger than street shoes, and that sizes may vary by brand,” Dr. Weisenfeld advises. To fit new walking shoes/sneakers, follow these steps:
1. Wear padded walking socks in your size;
2. Choose walking shoes/sneakers in the size you think you might wear—there should be space (a thumbnail’s length) between your longest toe and the end of the shoe;
3. Put any inserts or orthotics in the shoes/sneakers;
4. Now try them on and walk around the store;
5. If your feet feel uncomfortable, try a different size or brand until your feet feel comfortable.
“Make sure you don’t feel any rubbing, pinching or chafing, and don’t buy shoes that don’t feel comfortable in the hope that they’ll feel better when you ‘break them in,’ Dr. Weisenfeld cautions.
A staggering 78% of U.S. adults age 21+ report they have had one or more problems with their feet at some time in their lives, according to The National Foot Health Assessment 2012, a survey conducted for IPFH by The NPD Group. A total of 26% of respondents reported foot fatigue or sore/achy feet, and women were significantly more likely to report either ailment than men.
The Institute for Preventive Foot Health (IPFH) is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness, education, research, and the identification of easy-to-follow methods to prevent, treat and manage painful conditions and diseases affecting the feet. IPFH was founded by James L. Throneburg, owner of THORLO, Inc., based on knowledge gained from groundbreaking clinical research conducted with novel padded sock designs donated by THORLO. Both Throneburg and THORLO continue to provide financial support for IPFH and to initiate collaborative efforts with the organization’s educational partners: the Amputee Coalition and the International Council on Active Aging.