When it comes to taking care of our bodies, feet may not be top of the list. However, our feet are subject to daily wear and tear that can lead to problems which could cause discomfort and reduce mobility. Here is some advice for keeping your feet healthy all year round.
Maintain good foot hygiene
Foot hygiene need not be complicated. Just make sure you wash your feet daily in warm water and dry thoroughly, especially between the toes. If you experience sweaty or smelly feet, consider using an antibacterial soap followed by foot powder or antifungal powder. Moisturize your feet daily but avoid putting lotion between your toes as it might encourage an infection. If you have dry or hard skin on your feet, rub it off gently with a foot file or pumice stone. Trim toenails straight across and shape the edges with a nail file.
Choose quality footwear (including socks)
Our feet spend a lot of time covered up and constricted, so it’s important that what we wear on our feet helps rather than hinders their health and function. Choose shoes that are not too tight, but which offer good arch support. It’s also a good idea to rotate your shoes, so you don’t wear the same pair every day. Avoid wearing high heels regularly and if you run or go to the gym, choose specially designed athletic footwear. Complement your footwear with quality socks. You can get custom socks for sports and other activities that provide good support and comfort. Stick to breathable fabrics and change your socks daily.
Stay alert to foot issues
Check your feet regularly for issues including infected toenails, cuts, sores, and swelling. Other common problems include developing corns and calluses, which are essentially areas of thick skin. These generally heal by themselves, but you can help the process by protecting your feet with thicker socks, using a pumice stone in the shower, and wearing corn pads. If you do a lot of running, spend long periods standing up, or wear tight shoes, you might be especially susceptible to corns and calluses.
Seek medical advice
Finally, while you can treat many foot ailments and issues yourself, there are times when you should visit a doctor. For example, if you experience overly sweaty feet, warts or a foot infection, consider seeking medical advice. Developing a bunion might also require the intervention of a podiatrist, as might unexplained foot or heel pain. Likewise, if you have diabetes and experience any issues with your feet, it is important to have the problem checked out by a doctor before it progresses. Treatments for foot ailments can range from prescribed topical medication, oral pills, orthotics (i.e., custom foot support devices), or even minor surgery, such as laser wart removal.
We may take our feet for granted but they are important for enjoying a full and active life. By simply paying attention to your foot health and taking a few basic ‘steps’ to keep your feet functioning well, they will continue to work hard for you every day.