Our feet are easily the body parts that we most take for granted. We wouldn’t be ambulatory without them, but we never seem to pay attention to them until a problem arises. Fortunately, following a few steps to look after your feet will not only help prevent podiatric problems, but it can also help you stay active and healthy, benefiting all aspects of health. Here are 15 essential tips to help keep your feet healthy and happy:
Don’t Ignore Foot Pain
Do your feet hurt on a regular basis? If you experience discomfort nearly every day, you might not be wearing the right shoes. In any case, pain is never normal. If it persists, you’ll want to check in with your podiatrist to find out what the problem is.
Inspect Your Feet Often
Keep an eye out for any unusual changes in your feet like corns, calluses, blisters, swelling, redness, abrasions, and discolored nails. Checking your feet often can help you catch problems early, which can prevent them from becoming more serious later!
Take Greater Care if You Have Diabetes
If you suffer from diabetes, you’ll want to keep a sharper eye on your feet. The disease can lead to a higher risk of podiatric infections and sores, so you’ll want to check your feet daily for anything unusual. Manage your blood sugar levels, and remember to schedule a checkup with your podiatrist at least once a year!
Wash Your Feet Regularly
It sounds obvious, right? You’d be surprised how many people skip washing their feet every day, however! To ward off bacteria, fungi, and other painful health issues, you need to wash your feet – including in between your toes – with a mild soap. Remember to dry your feet completely once you’re done to keep fungal infections at bay!
Trim Toenails Straight Across
We know you want to round your nails when you trim them, but doing so can cause painful ingrown toenails to develop. Instead, carefully cut your nails straight across, but not too short. This will also help you avoid any fungi or bacteria from forming under the nails.
Wear Shoes That Fit Well
Did you know that wearing the right shoes is one of the easiest ways you can take good care of your feet? Choose shoes that aren’t too loose or tight, offer ample arch support, and provide the toes with enough wiggle room in the toe box. Shop for shoes in the evening when your feet are at their largest; this will ensure that your shoes will always fit and feel comfortable!
Match Your Shoes With Your Activity
You wouldn’t wear flat-soled canvas shoes to go running, would you? If you do, you shouldn’t. To protect your feet and avoid injury, pair the right shoes for the activity you’re engaging in. Basketball shoes are for basketball, not running. Hiking shoes are perfect for hitting the trails, but not so much for shagging balls in the outfield.
Alternate and Inspect Shoes Regularly
Nothing wears shoes out faster than wearing them all day, every day. Alternate which shoes you wear to promote their longevity. While you’re at it, look them over for any signs of wear and tear. Remember, running shoes should be replaced every 300 miles (about twice a year)!
Refrain from Walking Barefoot
We know that walking on plush carpet can feel luxurious on your feet, but you run the risk of getting injuries like stubbed toes. Know what prevents injuries and makes you feel like royalty at the same time? Fuzzy slippers. The same idea applies when you’re at the beach, except you’ll want to wear sandals to protect your feet.
Don’t Perform Bathroom Surgery on Your Feet
You know what we’re talking about – shaving calluses, trimming corns, and trying to get rid of ingrown toenails yourself. More often than not, DIY solutions turn minor problems into bigger ones. Do yourself a favor – book an appointment with your podiatrist.
Avoid Sharing Shoes and Other Footgear
Sharing is caring, but not when it comes to your feet. Doing so is like sending an invitation to plantar warts, athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, and others to join the party. Wear your own shoes and use your own pedicure tools to keep your feet healthy.
Don’t Hide Discolored Nails with Polish
If you have a discolored or cracked nail, you might be dealing with a fungus. Instead of using polish to cover up the problem, book an appointment with your podiatrist right away.
Keep Your Feet Dry
Warm, dry feet are happy feet, so remember to change your socks frequently and totally dry your feet off after a shower or bath. Wearing moisture-wicking socks can help keep feet dry as well. Remember to change out of wet shoes and socks as soon as you can, too!
Protect Your Feet in Public Places
Heading to the gym or swimming pool? Take shower shoes or flip-flops with you to wear as well. Warm, moist, communal areas are breeding grounds for athlete’s foot and other fungi. If you want to avoid getting any infections, don’t walk around those places barefoot.
Treat Your Feet Kindly
Your feet deserve love. Treat them well by maintaining a good exercise regimen, using a moisturizing cream on them (except in between the toes), rolling a tennis ball under them regularly, giving them a massage, and bathing them gently. Your feet will thank you tenfold if you do!
Foot health is essential if you want to continue feeling well and staying active. While you can certainly prevent many issues from arising by following a few easy steps at home, you should rely on the experts at The Foot & Ankle Center to keep your feet in top shape. We can easily diagnose and treat any podiatric problem you may experience! To make an appointment, please call us at (314) 487-9300!