Our feet carry us through every day. Without them, we literally couldn't get from point a to point b without intervention or assistance. yet all too often, we treat our feet poorly: cramming them into ill-fitting shoes; pounding them on the pavement as we run; allowing them to become dry, cracked and calloused. Here's a novel idea: what if, instead of beating up on our appendages, we showed them some daily love? Try out any one of these steps, and we bet your feet will be thanking you soon, in the form of pain-free movement, smoother, softer skin or even more optimized work out!
5 Ways to Show Your Feet Some Love
1. Give them a workout. Feet need to be strong, and we can help get them in top working shape! The best way to do that? Improve their flexibility and strength with regular massages and stretching. Not sure where to begin? Try these suggestions from Better Homes and Gardens:
- Standing up in bare feet, wiggle your toes. Spread them apart and try to raise each toe individually. Next, rise up and stand on your toes for a count of 10, holding on to something for support if necessary. Go up and down a few times. This is also a great way to improve your balance as it calls lots of other muscles in to play at the same time.
- While you’re sitting or lying down, draw circles with your feet, moving from your ankles. Repeat in the opposite direction. Next, point and flex your feet several times.
- When possible, go barefoot and walk on the sand, grass or floor to stimulate nerve endings and pressure points. If it’s cold wear loose socks indoors.
2. Check in with them every day. This rule is especially important for diabetics, but basically applies to anyone with feet. Wash your feet, every day, to prevent the buildup up sweat or germs that could lead to fungal infections or other problems. Once your feet are squeaky clean, dry them carefully, taking time to go between the toes and other slower-to-dry spots. Take note of any corns, calluses or cuts and see your podiatrist if the problems don't clear up within a day or two.
3. Cut carefully. It turns out that proper nail trimming is your best defense against painful problems like ingrown toenails. The safest way is to cut your toenails straight across. If you must, you can create a slight curve, but never cut down the sides. And, if you do see the beginnings of an ingrown nail, never EVER attempt to correct the problem on your own. Bathroom surgery, as I call this move, is a surefire way to invite infection into your nail bed. Instead, come into our Houston podiatry practice for a sterile, (likely) pain-free and quick correction of the problem.
4. Keep them covered. Sweaty feet are a great breeding ground for odor and fungi like athelete's foot. Never wear closed-toed shoes without socks; when possible, select socks made from breathable fabrics like cotton or wool. And when walking through moist public areas like pool decks or locker rooms, keep flip flops on at all times. Even (and especially) while showering! And heck, if you want to opt for water shoes inside the pool, you wouldn't be wrong!
5. Make wise shoe choices. Shoes that don't fit properly put too much pressure on certain parts of your feet, leaving you with calluses and corns (refer back to our carefully crafted introduction). To keep pressure off your feet, try wearing different shoes every day, and never squeeze into a pair that's too small for you. And remember--OTC corn products don't do much. If you already have a problem, just come into the office. We can get rid of those pesky rough spots quickly and permanently!