Keep Your Feet Healthy With These Tips

By Hand On The Hip - 9/03/2019

Our feet are pretty important. We are on them for long periods of time, and without them, our movement would be more than a bit limited! It is vital that we pay attention to our feet and look after them - after all, it isn't like we can grow a new pair if they get damaged. Looking after our feet is surprisingly simple. Read on to find out what you can do to keep your trotters in near perfect condition.

Keep your feet clean and dry.

The most important thing that you can do to keep your feet in good condition is to keep them clean and dry. Clean and scrub your feet thoroughly with soap and water when you bathe or shower, and make sure that you dry them well afterwards. Fungal organisms thrive in moisture, so depriving them of any dampness will make it more difficult for them to grow. Take time, in particular, to dry in between each individual toe - it is the prime location for a fungal infection to start, and let's face it, no one wants fungi for feet.

Keep an eye on your feet for any problems.

Like with pretty much everything, prevention is better than cure. Keeping an eye on your feet and watching out for any signs of something not being quite right is the best way to stop things from getting out of hand (or out of foot, as it were?!) Perform a foot self-exam once a week when you take a bath or shower - check for any signs of scaling on the soles, and peeling between the toes, which is a sign of athletes foot. Also, watch out for discolouration of the nails, which could indicate a nail fungus. If you have diabetes, you should inspect your feet even more regularly since having diabetes puts you at a higher risk of contracting foot sores and infections.

Wear comfortable and well-fitting shoes

Wearing shoes that are too tight or not comfortable is pretty much the worst thing that you can do for your feet, and will cause long term damage. The best time of day to shop for shoes is at the end of the day, to compensate for any swelling to the feet. Shoes should be comfortable and allow your feet to breathe. Most of us have one foot that is bigger than the other, and while you can't generally buy two different sized shoes, you need to cater for the biggest foot first and foremost. When it comes to materials, leather ones are your best bet, but if you are prone to excessively sweaty feet, mesh fabrics are your friend. Choose a broad, rounded shoe from a quality footwear manufacturer such as Scholl, with plenty of room for your toes and a wide, stable heel. Try to avoid pointy shoes, which, while fashionable, can cramp your toes and cause ingrown toenails and calluses. High heels have their place - in the nightclubs, maybe - but avoid wearing them too often. They tip us forward and change the natural position of the foot in relation to the ankle. This not only can lead to sore and aching feet, but it is no good for our knees, hips or back. Wear them sparingly, and you will be fine, and where possible, go for ones with chunky heels to increase the surface area contact between the shoe and the ground.

Avoid sweaty feet

Sweaty feet are not pleasant. It is something that affects most of us at some point - after all, your feet have over 250,000 sweat glands in each foot- but is also something that can be easily avoided. Try not to wear shoes without socks and opt for synthetic fibres, which wick away moisture faster and more effectively than cotton or wool. Avoid pantyhose and tights, as these trap the moisture and create pretty much the perfect environment for bacteria.

Cut toenails correctly

One of the biggest mistakes we make when it comes to our feet is not cutting our toenails properly. If you have ever ended up with an ingrowing toenail, you will know how excruciatingly painful it can be, so avoid it by cutting toenails, particularly the one on your big toe, straight across. Avoid trimming them too close to the skin and creating excessively rounded corners.

Don't mask dodgy toenails.

When your tootsies are looking far from pretty, it can be tempting to hide the dodgy nails under layers of nail polish, but don't.  A discoloured, thick, cracked, or crumbling toenail could indicate a nail fungus. Applying the nail polish to an infected nail could make the problem even worse -  and there is only so much gross stuff polish can hide!

Be wary about manicures.

A manicure sounds like the absolute height of luxury for your feet, but be careful. If you go to a salon, check the cleanliness of the tools and tubs, and if you are not sure about anything, walk away. Infections and bacteria can be easily spread, and where possible, you should avoid sharing anything that touches your feet, especially if you have a condition such as diabetes. It is always best to check with a podiatrist or chiropodist before having anything done to your feet.

Make friends with your podiatrist

Your podiatrist (a specialist foot doctor) can advise you on how to deal with any issues relating to your feet and can help treat those pesky fungal infections we have spoken about, and get rid of calluses and bunions and hard skin without causing any further damage.

Looking after your feet should be one of your priorities. Well-fitting shoes, keeping them clean and watching out for any signs of something not being quite right are some of the best things that you can do to not only look after your feet but your general health as well. 

P.S. This post is a collaborative post and not written by Hand On The Hip.

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