More than half of all Americans suffer some level of chronic foot pain, according to a 2016 study by the American Podiatric Medical Association. Chronic foot pain can have a profound effect on a person's overall health and quality of life. People with such pain exercise less, travel less frequently and interact less often with friends and family. However, according to the APMA, no amount of foot pain is normal. Fortunately, there are many things the average person can do to help prevent foot pain from developing.

1. Avoid extreme shoes. While three-inch-high stiletto heels may be stylish, they put an overwhelming amount of pressure on a person's toes and arches. On the opposite end of the spectrum, "flip-flops" can damage feet because they have so little support. Best to wear flat or low-heeled shoes with good arch support.

2. Exercise regularly.  Good leg muscles help support the feet and can prevent things like bunions and stress fractures from developing. Regular walking can develop good leg and calf muscles and reduce the pressure on your feet.

3. Eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated. A good diet and drinking eight or more glasses of water each day can also help stave off foot problems. In particular, gout is aggravated when your body becomes dehydrated. So, grab your water bottle, especially on those very hot days.

4. Keep your feet dry. Damp and sweaty feet can lead to fungus growth, such as Athlete's Foot, which can be painful. Allow your feet to dry after walking in hot weather and avoid wearing wet shoes and socks for an extended period of time.

5. Wear socks regularly. Going without socks may be more convenient and cooler, but it's a sure recipe for getting blisters that are not only painful, but can become infected and even morph into more chronic foot issues like bunions and bone spurs.

6. Stretch well before exercising. Another good tip for avoiding painful foot conditions is to do brief stretching exercises before you head out the door. Making sure that the tendons in your feet are loose and relaxed is a good way to prevent injuries to your plantar fascia, the long band that runs the length of the sole of your foot.

While foot pain is very common, you can help avoid being sidelined by foot problems by wearing sensible shoes, exercising regularly, drinking a healthy amount of water and keeping your feet dry. For more tips, talk with a specialist like Foot & Ankle Care Center PA.