A new year means a perfect opportunity to focus on a healthier lifestyle and self-care.

While it is easy to take your feet for granted, foot health is an important indication of your overall health and plays a big role in achieving your goals, whether it’s regular exercise or a healthier weight. Many New Year’s resolutions revolve around fitness, whether it’s losing weight or incorporating regular exercise into your routine. As a result, the beginning of the year is often met with foot and ankle injuries. In order to prevent common injuries like ankle sprains, heel spurs, Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis, it is important to follow these tips before you start a new fitness plan.

Wear properly-fitting shoes – If the only pair of athletic footwear you have is an old, worn pair you pulled out of the back of your closet, chances are you need a new pair. Buy shoes in the afternoon when your feet tend to be swollen and consult with an experienced salesperson at a specialty athletic foot store.

Buy shoes that match your activity – Did you know that each type of exercise requires different shoes? While running shoes need a lot of shock absorption, shoes for aerobic exercise need more lateral support.

Wear custom orthotics – If you have chronic heel pain, flat feet or a bunion, inserting custom orthotics into your shoes can help correct any abnormal foot movements and prevent worsening of existing conditions.

Consulting with an experienced podiatrist before starting a new exercise can help assess your overall foot health and address any concerns you have, especially if you have diabetes.

Incorporating foot care into your new year’s resolutions this year will help you start the year on a positive and healthy step!