Recommendations For Starting A Walking Program


  • Walking is the best exercise for your feet.
  • If you have not exercised in a long time, consult your podiatrist before starting a new exercise program.
  • Before beginning an exercise regimen, proper stretching is essential. Stretching exercises should take 5 -10 minutes.
  • Begin an exercise program slowly; don’t go too far or too fast.
  • Purchase and maintain good shoes and replace them regularly.
  • Have your feet measured every time you purchase shoes, and do it while you’re standing.
  • Stretch each foot and achilles tendon before and after exercise.
  • Avoid uneven walking surfaces or stepping on rocks as much as possible.
  • Avoid going barefoot on hard surfaces.
  • Vary the incline on a treadmill during exercise. Nobody walks uphill all the time.
  • If it hurts, stop. Don’t try to “work through the pain.”
  • Don’t buy shoes that need a “break-in” period; shoes should be comfortable immediately
  • Before you get going, a series of warm-up exercises will help relieve any muscle stiffness or pulled muscles that may be caused by walking. Consult your podiatrist for exercises to loosen up the heel cords (Achilles and calf) and thigh muscles.
  • Choose a good quality, lightweight shoe if you are only walking and running shoes if you may want to run as well. Seek the advise of your Podiatrist.
  • All sneakers should be worn with socks and moisture wicking socks if possible to reduce the amount of perspiration that stays on the feet.
  • Move at a steady pace, brisk enough to make your heart beat faster. Breathe more deeply.
  • Walk with your head erect, back straight, abdomen flat. Keep your legs out front and your knees slightly bent.
  • Swing your arms freely at your sides.
  • As you walk, land on the heel of your foot and roll forward to push off on the ball of your foot.
  • At least at the beginning, confine your walks to flat surfaces, avoiding excessively steep hills and embanked roadways.
  • If you’re walking in the evening, be sure to wear clothing with reflective material.
  • Cool down after a long, brisk walk to help pump blood back up from your legs.

After all, the average person takes about 8,000 to 10,000 steps every day. Add that up over the course of a lifetime and it’s the equivalent of walking four times around the world!

That’s why it’s so important to have your podiatrist check your feet regularly, the same way a dentist regularly checks your teeth. Podiatrists are doctors trained to diagnose and treat foot and ankle ailments who look after patients ranging in age from children to seniors.

Our feet are complex instruments, containing one -quarter of the bones in our bodies. With regular checkups, you and your podiatrist can keep them running like well-tuned race cars.

Studies show that 75% of  people will experience foot problems at some time in their lives. Foot pain is not normal, and can disrupt the quality of your life. When you or someone you care for has a foot problem, seek help from a podiatrist, the health professional specifically trained to care for feet. There are many things a podiatrist can do to correct foot problems and prevent them from happening later in life.

Over a lifetime, feet change size more than 25 times and each of us will walk the equivalent of four times around the world. That’s a lot of walking!

For this reason it is so important to make certain that your feet are in good working order fitted with the right kind of shoes. For example, children’s feet absorb two million pounds/one million kilograms of pressure per day. The cost of correcting foot problems is enormous. Bring your children to a podiatrist periodically to ensure there are no problems. If a problem exists, the podiatrist can provide immediate assistance thereby putting off much more costly problems later in life.

How many people suffer from foot problems?

Studies show that 75 per cent of the population will experience foot problems at some point in their lives.

Do women have more foot problems than men?

Women have about four times as many foot ailments as men; high heels are frequently to blame. Women should limit the time they wear pumps with heels higher than 5 cm/2 in., and alternate these with good-quality sneakers or flats for part of the day.

Are people born with foot problems or do they develop later?

The American Podiatric Medical Association estimates that only a small percentage of foot problems are genetic. Foot problems often develop because of neglect and poor understanding of proper foot care. Common causes include ill-fitting shoes and constantly wearing high heels.

How much sweat do feet produce in a day?

Your feet contain about 250,000 sweat glands, which can produce as much as 250 mL/1 cup of moisture a day.

How should toenails be trimmed?

Trim your toenails straight across and leave them slightly longer than the tips of your toes. Don’t cut nails in the corners or on the sides as this can lead to ingrown toenails.

What’s the best exercise for your feet and overall health?

Walking is the best exercise for your feet.

How many bones are in your feet?

The 52 bones in your feet make up about one-quarter of all the bones in your body. Together, they also contain 66 joints, 214 ligaments and 38 muscles.

True and False Quiz on General Foot Health

  • People with diabetes should inspect their feet daily. (True)
  • People with diabetes can develop numbness in their feet that they are unaware of. When the feet are numb, the patient can have injuries that go undetected with could develop into serious problems unless daily foot inspections are performed. Early diagnosis greatly improves the chances of successful treatment.

  • If your toes always burn or are numb your shoes are just too tight. (False)
  • Burning pain or numbness in the toes or the ball of the foot could indicate a nerve inflammation such as a neuroma and should be evaluated by a podiatrist.

  • Bunions may be inherited. (True)
  • A bunion is a bone deformity of the foot that is genetically related. High-heeled, pointy-toed shoes tend to aggravate the area and encourage bunions to form sooner. Some forms of trauma may also cause bunions. If a bunion is painful or is growing larger you should consult a podiatrist.

  • A bunion is a dislocation of the big toe joint. (True)
  • A bunion is an enlargement at the base of the big toes caused by a misalignment of the joint that may become swollen, tender, and painful when wearing shoes. The big toe bends toward the other toes and may become stiff and sore, making wearing shoes difficult or impossible.

  • Swelling, redness, and pain around a toenail are signs of an ingrown nail. (True)
  • Toenails should not be painful. Pain or redness surrounding the nail is frequently a sign of infection caused by an ingrown toenail and should be inspected by a podiatrist.

  • Toenails should be rounded when cut to avoid snagging socks and stockings. (False)
  • The corners of toenails should be visible after cutting or trimming. Improper nail trimming causes most ingrown toenails.

  • If you have pain and swelling in your feet it may indicate a stress fracture and should be treated medically. (True)
  • Stress fractures can occur without any specific injury being identified as the cause. Pain can arrive suddenly or slowly develop over time. Pain and swelling should be evaluated by a podiatrist.

  • Women suffer four times as much foot trouble as do men. (True)
  • Studies show that women suffer more frequently from foot trouble because of improper shoe selection and heredity. Women should receive annual foot exams from a podiatrist in an effort to avoid injury.

  • Shoes must be broken in to be comfortable. (False)
  • A shoe that is properly constructed and fitted correctly should be comfortable when it is first worn. A shoe that causes discomfort or pain when first purchased is most likely to remain painful and could cause damage to your feet.

  • Foot pain is natural, and everyone should expect to experience it as one time or other in his or her life. (False)
  • Foot pain is not normal and should be evaluated whenever it is severe or persistent. If the source of the pain is not easily identified or resolved, it should be treated by a podiatrist before permanent damage occurs.

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, most Americans log 75,000 miles on their feet by the time they reach the age of 50. Serious Striders — those whose professions or lifestyles involve using their feet more than the norm — reach the milestone much sooner.
The rigorous sports and fitness activities that many contemporary Americans now engage in — while beneficial to overall health and well-being — accelerate wear-and-tear the feet and ankles. During running activities particularly, pressure on each foot can be three to four times normal body weight. Even walking can take its toll: a 150-pound person walking one mile exerts the equivalent of 63-1/2 tons — 127,000 pounds — on each foot!

Fortunately, the foot and ankle are well designed to handle this stress and to support us a lifetime. But certain conditions — if undetected and untreated — can seriously sideline even the most fit individual. With proper detection, intervention and care, most foot and ankle problems can be lessened or prevented.

What potential effect does 75,000 miles or its equivalent have on your feet? To find out, take the following test – found on the Web site.