Feet do more than just hold us up. They hold us up. They walk us where we need to go. Basic Footcare is a necessity.
Feet can spend endless hours in uncomfortable shoes. Yet, they are often one of the most neglected parts of the body.
Taking a few minutes every day for basic footcare to be kind to your feet, they will be kind to you for years to come. Washing, scrubbing, nail-care oiling and moisturizing are simple and effective.
Basic footcare starts with foot washing
Okay, you’re probably saying you wash them every time you shower. Running soap over them doesn’t count! Take the time to actually rub the soap between your toes, under the nails and rinse them well. After the shower, be sure to thoroughly dry your feet, especially between your toes. Not only does it prevent athlete’s foot, but it can also keep foot odor at bay. Applying a good quality moisturizing foot cream afterwards can help to stop feet from drying out and cracking.
Give Them a Good Soak
Feet love to be pampered and a foot soak is a great way to treat your feet. This can be an extra sweet treat if your feet are swollen from a long day of standing, running or walking. Swollen feet love an ice bath which consists of room temperature water, about a dozen ice cubes, some tea tree oil and rosemary leaves*.
Put one foot in for 30 seconds or so, then remove and rub it vigorously with a towel. Repeat with the other foot and continue the process until the swelling goes down. The tea tree oil provides the extra benefit of being a natural antifungal, helping to keep feet fungus free.
If you just want a relaxing foot soak, use warm water and a foot soak with natural fruit acids to help slough off dry skin or mix some shower gel, or even dish washing liquid, in the warm water to soften the skin**.
After the soak, be sure to use a good moisturizer. Foot creams are thicker than regular moisturizers and are good for those with lots of dry skin. Otherwise any good body moisturizer can be used. During the winter months, moisturize before bed and wear socks to lock in moisture while you sleep. This should be part of any basic footcare routine.
Alternate Your Shoes
Have a favorite pair of shoes that goes with everything? Great! Buy another pair. In order to avoid foot odor and fungus, shoes need to air out. This means wearing a different pair of shoes each day. If your feet sweat, change your footwear once they get wet. Always change socks after a workout. If you follow these tips and your feet still get stinky, a soak in vinegar and water can alleviate the odor**.
Foot Pain Isn’t Normal
Everyone has a pair of killer shoes; the ones that kill their feet every time they wear them. If your shoes make your feet hurt, they don’t fit properly. Shoes that don’t fit can cause bunions, corns, callouses, hammertoes, and other foot growths that just make your feet hurt worse. Ideally, heels should not be higher than two inches and wide enough to provide stability. If the heels are pointed toe, make sure the point begins once it’s past the ball of your foot.
While heels make calves look great, they aren’t good for the Achilles tendon. If you’ve ever met someone who says, “I can’t walk in flat shoes,” it’s probably because their Achilles tendon has shortened and they can’t get their feet flat without pain. To avoid this issue, alternate heels with flats.
Everyone needs to be sure the toe box is wide enough to wiggle toes and that the ball of the foot doesn’t rub the sides. Try shoes on at the end of the day, when your feet are the largest.
Arch Support Prevents Flat Feet
There tend to be two types of people; those that love to be barefoot and those that don’t. Those that don’t like being barefoot may be onto something.
Walking barefoot, or in shoes that might as well have you walking barefoot like flip flops and ballet flats, provides no support to the arch when you walk. When you wear shoes, you should feel that the arch of your foot is supported. Ditch shoes once you no longer feel support in the arch.
Women take note since they are particularly prone to developing flat feet due to pregnancy, weight fluctuations and the aging process. Healthy and strong feet need good arch support.
Watch For Changes In The Appearance Of Your Feet
Feet are a good indicator of overall health. This is particularly true for diabetics since they often experience neuropathy, caused by decreased blood flow to the lower limbs. This decreased blood flow can cause nerves to “go numb” and cause stinging, burning or a “pins and needles” type of feeling. Diabetics should check their feet daily.
Pregnant women can expect their feet to swell and even change sizes. Shoes with a good arch support, broad heels and shock absorbing insoles are a must as part of basic footcare. Give those feet a soak as well. If continued swelling is a problem, see your obstetrician.
Age is a factor for men and women. As you age basic footcare becomes more important, the fat pads on the balls of the feet begin to diminish. Wearing shoes with a shock absorbing insole can help. More and more shoes are being sold with “memory foam” to cushion feet.