Our feet are our bodies’ workhorses but we often take them for granted. They are important for an active and fulfilling lifestyle. Whether you are chasing a toddler around your home, running a marathon, or chasing the next lucrative business deal, your feet are the best ally in your busy life.
We put our feet through various challenges throughout the day by jamming them into high heels or smothering them in tight nylon pantyhose. However, healthy feet are essential for staying active and feeling good.
According to experts if you neglect your feet, it could lead to unnecessary pain and other foot problems. You do not need expensive spa treatments and foot creams to take care of your feet. By spending a few minutes of your day on foot care and following the foot care tips in this article, you can save yourself from many problems and help your feet feel great:
Wear Comfortable Shoes
Shoe fashion changes regularly but the best preventive measure that can ensure greater mobility is wearing comfortable shoes. Wearing high heels or tight shoes occasionally when you are going to a party or for a night out will not cause lasting damage.
However, if you are going to be on your feet most of the day, then you need to choose comfortable, supportive shoes. Also, invest in some well-fitting athletic shoes for the gym, running, or other high-impact activities.
Make sure that your shoes are a perfect fit
When it comes to buying shoes the fit together with style is very important. Do not rely on the idea of breaking them in or waiting for them to stretch by wearing them around the house. According to podiatrists, your shoe is a perfect fit when:
- There is enough depth in the shoe thus ensuring that the toes do not rub the tops.
- Your shoes should not be tight, and the balls of the feet should fit in the widest part of the shoe comfortably.
- Walk around when you are trying on the shoe to make sure that you do not experience any slipping or rubbing.
- There should be space of at least half an inch between the front of the shoe and your longest toe.
Practice foot hygiene
Wash and completely dry your feet when you bathe or shower as moisture can cause foot fungus. To prevent ingrown nails always cut toenails straight and use a filer to take care of the edges. Avoid shaving calluses but use a pumice stone to remove them. Also, do not share pedicure equipment with your friends.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight can cause many problems including affecting your feet by putting greater stress on them with each step. It can increase the risk of contracting arthritis in the feet and worsen pain from other foot problems. Obesity can also harm foot health by increasing the risk of poor blood circulation or diabetes thereby causing foot pain or loss of sensation in the foot.
Moisturize your feet
Moisturizing the feet also helps to keep the feet healthy. With age, the skin becomes drier and thinner and can cause callused feet to crack and bleed. Use a good quality moisturizer and rub it into your feet after bathing or showering. This will keep your skin soft.
However, do not apply moisturizer to the space between the toes as it could cause infections.
Stretch your feet
Stretch the tops and bottoms of your feet regularly to keep your feet healthy. Stretching your feet helps to treat and prevent foot pain. It is important to stretch the Achilles’ tendons as well.
Safety measures in public areas
It is essential to wear shower shoes at public pools, in locker rooms, and at the gym as these places are the breeding grounds for bacteria that can cause fungal infection.
Precautions regarding footwear
Another important tip to keep your feet healthy is never to share shoes as well as socks worn by another person as it could cause fungal infection. An interesting fact regarding feet is that there are 250,000 sweat glands in each foot and perspiration is one of the main causes of bacterial growth. Therefore, you should wear socks that will help to keep your feet dry. Another healthy practice is to avoid wearing very tight pantyhose as it traps moisture.
Give your toes a break from nail polish
If you wear nail polish on your toes, it is important to keep them nail polish free a couple of days every week before applying it again. Furthermore, cracked, thick, crumbling, or discolored nail may indicate nail fungus and applying nail polish on such nails could worsen the problem.
Choose breathable footwear
Always try to buy shoes made of leather as they allow air to circulate and keep your feet dry and healthy. Also look for shoes made of mesh fabrics that allow maximum breathability.
Visit a podiatric physician
If you are suffering from any foot problems, do not try to self-treat them. Any swelling, redness, discoloration, and pain that persists should be examined by an experienced podiatric. Usually, the problem requires prescription medicine or a small in-office procedure. Timely checkup by a qualified doctor can help minor problems turn into major ones.
Alternate your shoes
Avoid wearing the same shoes every day. Alternate between two pairs of your everyday style as a shoe needs time to air out. This can help prevent foot odor or infections. Change stockings or socks regularly. If you have a problem of smelly feet soak your feet in a mixture of water and vinegar.
Give your feet a relaxing massage
Massage your feet regularly especially after a hard workout or a long day. You can roll a frozen bottle of water or a tennis ball under your heel arch for 15 – 20 minutes. This will help loosen your arches and soothe your muscles.
Low-impact exercises for your feet
One of the most advantageous ways to maintain healthy feet is through low-impact exercises such as walking. The added circulatory and cardiovascular benefits of walking also help to contribute to your overall health. Moreover, pick up small objects such as socks or pebbles with your toes to help strengthen foot muscles and improve balance.
Choose the right type of shoes
Completely flat shoes and flip flops do not provide arch support. The tendency to developing flat feet is greater in women which can lead to other foot problems. Therefore, to keep your feet healthy and strong avoid wearing shoes that lack supportive arches for longer periods. Wear heels with a broad base to provide greater support and cloth shoes for leisure activities only. Replace your inserts and insoles every 6-8 months and your shoes once a year. This helps to prevent foot problems like plantar fasciitis.
Shoes for pregnant ladies and people suffering from diabetes
Diabetes, pregnancy, and aging all affect your feet. Pregnant women should look for shoes with arch support, good shock absorbency, and broad heels. Pregnancy can also cause a change in shoe size, therefore, be mindful of the shoe size. Aging can cause loss of cushioning fat on the balls of the feet; therefore, older women should choose shoes that provide more shock protection.
Furthermore, diabetes can be a cause for some serious conditions related to lower legs and feet. Check regularly for any problems with your feet daily and visit a podiatric physician annually.
Choosing the right type of socks is also important
Choose socks made with blended materials designed to wick wetness away from the skin and to retain shock absorption qualities. Socks made from 100% cotton dry slowly and keep moisture near the skin which can cause blisters. Always wear socks with closed-toe shoes to prevent foot fungus. You can also wear socks to bed unless they are not constricting or overly tight.
Foot health is essential for overall health
Healthy feet are an indication of your overall health. Younger people tend to prefer style over comfort which could cause many foot problems in old age. Therefore taking care of your feet through all ages is essential. Be mindful of what you put on your feet and keep an eye on your feet for pain, irritation, and changes. If you do experience any foot pain that persists or interferes with your daily routine consult a podiatrist immediately.