How To Put Your Best Foot Forward

Foot care
Even though feet are one of the most durable parts of the body, they're prone to a wide variety of injuries and ailments. And because we spend so much time on our feet, these injuries can become problematic if they go untreated.

So, in the third and final part of the The Early Show's series on foot care, Dr. Sean Kenniff of Miami's WFOR-TV discusses a few of the most common ailments and offers some advice on how to rid yourself of them so you can be back on your feet as soon as possible.

People who live an active lifestyle and do a lot of running and jumping will often experience the pain of an ankle strain or sprain because of the constant pressure they put on their feet. But it can happen to anyone who falls or comes down awkwardly. You'll often hear sprains and strains referred to as "twists" or "turning the ankle."

A sprain is a stretch or a tear of ligaments, which connect your bones together. Ligaments are like rubber bands in that they can stretch, but only so far. When you put too much pressure on them, ligaments stretch past their limit and tear, and that's called a sprained ankle. Sprains usually occur when you turn your foot inward, due to the pressure put on the ligaments of your outer ankle.

Strains are similar to sprains, but different in that they're a stretch or tear of a muscle or tendon.

Your bones are supported by a combination of muscles and tendons. A strain is the result of an injury to either a muscle or a tendon, usually in your foot or leg. The strain may be anything from a simple stretch in your muscle or tendon, to a complete tear in the muscle-and-tendon combination.

Both should be treated the same way: with plenty of rest to keep the pressure off the injury and give it time to heal. You'll also notice some swelling, so it's usually a good idea to put some ice on it. A compression wrap and elevation are also good ideas. And that's basically just taking an ace bandage and wrapping it around your injury and keeping it elevated. This will also decrease the swelling. This should be followed by simple exercises to relieve pain and restore mobility. For a serious tear, you may need surgery.

You can prevent these injuries by stretching out before engaging in physical activities. And if you're starting to feel pain, that's usually a warning that it's time to stop.