A foot’s work is underrated. Our feet take thousands of steps every day, yet we often don’t take time to specifically care for them.
Problems with your feet – from ingrown toenails, to blisters or corns – can impact your quality of life. Who really wants to exercise when moving around feels like a challenge?
You might not have considered it before, but your ability to walk and move around comfortably has a big impact on your physical and mental health.
Foot care is part of self-care, which is why we’ve pulled together tips to help you properly take care of your feet.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Healthy Feet
- Lay in Legs-up-the-wall pose after a lot of time on your feet or a hard workout
- A home foot massage, or go for a reflexology treatment
- Roll your feet with a Tune Up Ball
- Use a vinegar foot soak to soothe irritation
- Don’t wear shoes that are too-tight
- Share shoes with other people
- Share peducture utensils (they’re sterilized at the spa for a reason)
- Don’t cover discoloured toenails with polish – they need to breathe
- Avoid shaving calluses
- Don’t try to treat your own ingrown toenails
Buying The Right Shoe for You
It’s common to have one foot that’s slightly longer than the other. Be sure that your shoes fit your longer foot. Buy shoes according to proper fit, not for how they look. Your shoes shouldn’t need to stretch or break-in for them to fit your feet properly.
Guidelines for proper shoe fit:
- The widest part of the shoe fits the ball of your foot comfortably.
- Your toes shouldn’t rub the top of your shoe.
- When trying shoes on, stand up to make sure you have a half inch (or one finger width) between your longest toe and the front of the shoe.
- Walk around in the shoes and make sure they don’t rub or slip.
One of the latest trends in footwear are minimalist running shoes. These shoes help you mimic barefoot running by encouraging the front of your foot to hit the ground first, as opposed to a heel strike that cushioned shoes encourage. For this reason, transitioning to minimalist shoes too quickly can cause pain in your calf or shin. Make the change slowly (don’t wear your minimalist shoes all the time to start) to let your body get used to the difference.
The Truth About High Heels
While they may be beautiful and make us feel like supermodels, high heels aren’t great for foot health or body posture. High heels tip your weight forward, changing the position of the foot in relation to the ankle.
This change in orientation affects the positioning of the legs and low back and could lead to chronic pain in the knees, hips or back. If you can’t give them up, find shoes with broad heels to give more surface to the part that touches the ground.
Inspect Your Shoes Regularly
Part of taking care of your feet is making sure your shoes are in good shape. Inspect your shoes regularly for wear and tear. Here are some tips for when it’s time to toss them:
- Replace your running shoes every 300 miles.
- Watch for the wear in the structure of the shoes. Softening in the soles or damage to the toe box are signs that it’s time for your shoes to move on.
- High heels need to be checked as well. If you have an exposed nail in the heel, it’s time to get a new lift (these can be replaced easily).
- Look for broken or loose straps on sandals.
- Repair, recycle, or toss out when it’s time.
Rough skin and calluses
For healthy feet, keep them clean and dry. You’ll avoid forming rough skin on your feet if you wear properly fitted shoes. Calluses and thick skin will form from abnormal pressure or rubbing in shoes.
Treat rough skin or calluses using a pumice stone. If the rough skin bothers you, skin softeners can be used. Avoid shaving calluses though, even if your pedicurist wants to. This will save you from causing serious damage to your foot, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation.
See a podiatrist if you’re concerned about a foot callus. Remember, rough and thickened skin on your feet is a result of poor shoe fit.
Whether it’s from new shoes, working out at the gym, or running, we’ve all experienced blisters. For large blisters, it’s ok to pop them if you’re using a sterilized instrument. Afterward, apply a topical antiseptic and cover the spot with a bandaid to avoid exposure to air and dirt.
These are best left to be treated by a skilled professional, especially if it’s causing you a lot of pain. To prevent ingrown toenails from happening, cut your toenails straight across. Avoid rounding the edges.
Wash your feet daily and take time to dry them properly before putting on socks or shoes to prevent odor, and bacterial or fungal infections from forming. Dealing with foot odor? Try soaking your feet in a mixture of warm water and white vinegar. The acidic vinegar will kill the bacteria causing odor.
Make Foot Care a Priority At Every Age
It’s said that your feet mirror the health of your body. Things like brittle skin, thinning skin, arthritis, decreased circulation, etc. in feet come up with aging. Keep an eye on your foot and ankle health, as many foot problems can begin in the ankle.
When it comes to foot health, remember that your feet are your foundation. It’s not worth sacrificing comfort and fit for style. Don’t wait for food pain or conditions to happen before you start taking care of your feet.