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Shoes with support from hind foot to mid foot is a great start to preventing foot injuries

It is certainly a time to get out there and exercise, but you want to make sure the shoes you get have good support from the hind foot to the mid foot.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It's understandable if you want to get outside and exercise these days. Spring is in the air, but, is there a spring in your step?

Yes, it is certainly a time to get out there and exercise. But if it has been a while, “I would say start walking before running that way you can at least build up the stamina,” Podiatrist Dr. Naval Patel said.

With Dr. Patel, it's all about the shoes.

“You want to make sure that the shoes that you get are not too flexible,” he said. “Something that has some good support from the hind foot to the mid foot.”

In Dr. Patel's office, they can get custom make insoles for you, because the last thing you want is the most common foot injury that affects two million Americans each year.

Plantar Fasciitis — named for the ligament on the bottom of the foot, and when it suffers strain, you know it.

“When you're at rest, the plantar Plantar Fasciitis is at rest — but as soon as you take a step up, your foot flattens out,” Dr. Patel said. “When your foot gets all that weight from your body, it becomes very tight and it starts pulling. A majority of the time, people have pain right here to the heel bone that's where the inflammation is occurring otherwise, and that's what we end up treating.”

Fear not. Dr. Patel said 90 percent of the time conservative treatment can cure it. But, timing is everything.

“Sometimes people wait too long until they can't even walk at times, or they limp into my office,” he said.

Another springtime complication is also a temptation for Arkansans.

“Avoid going barefoot on hard concrete or wooden floor.” Dr. Patel said. “Number one, it is not good. It's going to cause some issues down the line later on.”

Ankle problems, heel pain, bunions — Dr. Patel has treatments, and if need be, minimally invasive surgery.

He echoes what we've heard from every doctor we've talked with on Wear the Gown: “Catch it early before it gets a lot worse.”

One last bit of advice for walkers and joggers: Depending on how often you head out, Dr. Patel recommends new shoes every six months to a year.