Family Activities to Promote Healthy Feet
Foot health is a family matter.
It starts all the way in infancy, when babies rely on their parents to keep their feet clean and check for rashes, cuts, blisters, warts, and other infections—not to mention identify more serious abnormalities with their foot structure or walking gait.
It continues through childhood, as young ones are taught healthy habits, including the proper way to wash their feet and cut their nails. Parents remain responsible for ensuring their children are wearing proper shoes and socks (not too loose, not too tight, not pre-used, and appropriate for their activity).
As you get older, physical changes (loss of muscle tone, thinning of fatty pads on heels, balance issues) can put you at greater risk of pain and injury. If you want to stay as active, mobile, and independent as possible for as long as possible, proactive foot care should be near the top of your to-do list.
Since promoting long-term foot health is so critical at every age, why not try one of the below family-friendly activities?
Go for a walk
Walking remains one of the best (and most underrated) forms of exercise, whether you’re after foot health specifically or just general fitness.
It’s a great way to get moderate intensity exercise over a longer period of time, which helps immensely with cardiovascular fitness and weight control.
From a foot perspective, walking is one of the best ways to manage the symptoms and slow the progression of diabetes and peripheral neuropathy, two conditions that can have devastating consequences for lower limbs. And because walking has a lower impact of feet and joints, you’re less likely to injure yourself or develop chronic pain than you would with running.
If you’re getting sick of circling the block near your house, you could also try:
- Touring the Old Town District. Despite covering just 16 blocks in the heart of Wichita, the Old Town is packed with museums (Great Plains Transportation Museum of World Treasures, Kansas African American Museum, Wichita Toy Train Club), shopping, great restaurants and more. You can join an official tour, or just explore at your own pace.
- Exploring a nearby park. We are partial to Sedgwick County Park, which offers relaxing natural beauty, plenty of shade, lots of playgrounds for the little ones, and of course the adjacent zoo. If you’re looking for an even more “natural” environment, try Chisholm Creek (and the adjacent Great Plains Nature Center) or Pawnee Prairie Park, both of which have been designated wild habitat areas.
Go for a bike ride
If walking isn’t your thing, biking is a great alternative for all the same reasons—good moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise with minimal stress and strain on feet and joints.
Sedgwick County Park, which we mentioned above, offers mixed-use trails that are just as good for biking as they are walking. But the most popular bike trail in Wichita, though, is easily the Arkansas River Path, a wide, paved 10-mile route the follows the river from W 21st to E Galena and offers immediate access to tons of shopping, dining, and attractions.
(It might not be the best for very young children, however, since guardrails aren’t always in place between the path edge and the river.)
If going for a bike ride, remember to wear your helmet, along with any other appropriate safety gear.
It’s coming up fast! This year’s Riverfest runs from June 1 to June 9, 2018—barely more than a month from now.
Once again, the nine-day festival is going to be crammed with family-friendly activities, including concerts, the 42nd annual River Run, great food, a parade, paddle boats, a kid’s corner, and so much more. It’s a great opportunity to get the whole family out and active.
Actually, that’s a point we’d like to make generally about making fitness and foot health fun for the whole family—variety. At Riverfest, there’s always something new to check out and explore. And while this opportunity only comes around once a year, you can apply the principle to your day-to-day activities by checking out new trails, exploring a different part of town, etc.
Make footprint and handprint art
We’ve seen some truly creative artists out there using footprints to create fun pictures and designs! Birds, hearts, butterfly, Marvel comic book heroes—you name it, someone has done it. All you need is some washable, skin-safe paint and something to stand on!
Of course, even a simple footprint every year to see how fast your little one is growing up can be very meaningful, too.
How does this relate to foot health? Well, examining your footprint is actually a pretty good way to evaluate your arch height.
Adults and kids with mature feet should see about half their arch in the print, where it narrows before reaching the ball of the foot and toes. Young kids (under age 5 or 6) are more likely to have arches that flatten when standing, making the entire print visible on the page. This is actually pretty normal and usually goes away on its own, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
If the print of an older child or adult shows flat feet (whole arch visible) or high arches (only a sliver visible, or a complete gap), stop by for a checkup—especially if you suffer from foot pain otherwise.
Get comprehensive foot care for the entire family
If you, a child, or a parent are suffering from pain, sensation loss, mobility restrictions, deformities, or any other issue with the health and function of the lower limbs, give us a call today.
The Kansas Foot Center offers comprehensive and advanced treatment for almost all foot and ankle conditions. We cover everything from traditional care, to high-tech options like MLS laser therapy, to surgery. And we work hard to provide customized solutions to fit your unique needs and goals, whatever they may be.
To schedule with us, dial (866) 222-5177, or request an appointment online.