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Health Beat: Tips for healthy feet

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BALTIMORE – The average American takes about 5,000 steps a day. That's 5,000 times your feet pound the pavement, so how can you keep your tootsies in tip top shape? First: wear the right shoes.

"If you're going to play basketball, wear a basketball sneaker," said Dr. John Campbell, an orthopedic surgeon at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. "Don't wear a running shoe. It's not the same kind of event. It's not designed to protect you for that."

When deciding on a new pair of shoes, make sure you have at least a half-inch between your longest toe and the front of the shoe. Walk in them to make sure there's no slipping or rubbing. If your feet aren't the same size, buy the shoes to fit your larger foot. Also, be sure to replace running shoes every 300 miles.

To avoid ingrown toenails on your feet, cut your nails straight across. Don't round them, and if you do develop an ingrown nail, see a doctor instead of dealing with it yourself.

To prevent bacterial and fungal infections, bathe daily and take time to dry the skin between your toes.

If you suffer an injury, see a professional. It might be more serious than you think.

"The old wives tale, where people say, 'Well, if you can walk on it, it's not broken,' absolutely false," Campbell continued.

Another tip: avoid high heels as much as possible. They don't support your ankle and can actually change the natural position of your foot.

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