A stronger base makes a stronger building. Similarly, for humans, strong feet make you feel active and fit. Although our all-day activities like walking, standing and running require our feet, they are often neglected by us when it comes down to taking care of our body.
The probable reason is that they are mostly covered by nice shoes or fashionable footwear. We are even more conscious about footwear appearance rather than the feet. But, these hard-working feet are the most significant and crucial part of our body. They deserve proper attention and care to avoid foot problems like arthritis, bunions, hammertoes, callouses and athlete’s foot. Eating right, wearing the right shoes and caring for them properly will make your feet soft, beautiful and more flexible.
Here are ways to keep your Feet Healthy:
Maintain proper Body Weight
Whether it is a matter of walking, standing or running, your feet always have to support all of your body weight. So, it is greatly important to maintain proper weight as per your age and height. Heavyweight would load your feet in excess and cause disease conditions like diabetes or arthritis. In diabetes, maintenance of proper weight is crucial as heavyweight decreases blood flow in feet and may result in loss of sensation in the feet.
Keep them Clean and Dry
The best way to keep your feet clean is to scrub and wash them thoroughly with soap and warm water during your shower. Then, dry with a clean cloth with special attention to dry between the toes, as bacteria and fungus develop in moist areas. Scrubbing helps to remove dead skin cells and improves circulation.
Pedicures provide relief to your feet but the instruments used for pedicures are not properly sterilized so the chance of spreading infection is higher. Use your own kit if you are willing to get a pedicure.
Choose Proper Footwear
It is essential to choose the correct footwear for comfort and support. Avoid pointy shoes which would cram your toes and cause ingrown toenails, blisters, and callouses. Use broad and rounded shoes instead.
Flip-Flops are good for beach or locker rooms. But if you have balance issues, avoid their use as they don’t provide enough support to the feet.
For Gym and Running- Use Supportive Athletic Shoes.
Never go barefoot inside the gym, pool deck or locker rooms. Use water slippers or aqua shoes instead. Moisture-laden areas are breeding grounds for fungus.
Use proper quality socks- Perspiration leads to discomfort and infection. So, socks are used to absorb perspiration from your feet. Socks that are too tight or too loose can cause blisters. Choose cotton or cotton blend socks. Also, socks with darker colors have pigments that trap moisture so lighter colored socks are recommended.
In addition, air circulation is important. Leather Shoes allow air to circulate into your feet. Shoes with perforations are also better than those without perforations.
Avoid any exchange of footwear to minimize the spread of infection.
Use Moisturizer and Sunscreen Lotion
Dried and cracked skin is always painful. With age, the skin of your feet tends to dry and thin.
So always apply good quality moisturizers after bath every day. Make sure that excess moisturizer is wiped out in between the toes to avoid bacterial and fungal growth. A moisturizer containing salicylic acid, ammonium lactate or urea has good softening properties.
Feet can get burned easily if they are exposed to prolonged sunlight. If you are wearing an open shoe, use mineral based or zinc oxide sunscreen lotion to avoid burning.
Drinking plenty of water is also helpful to keep your feet hydrated and healthy.
Take Proper Care of Toenails
Cut them Regularly: – Keep the habit of cutting your toenails on a regular basis. Cut them straight across. Never cut them too short as dirt and fungus can find a place in between the skin and nails.
Use of nail polish: – If you are using nail polish to decorate your nails, then give them at least 7 days between the next application so the nails can breathe. Use good quality nail polish to avoid any nail damage. Avoid use of nail polish if your nails are cracked and damaged. It would make them worse.
if you are wearing toe-rings, then remove them at every week to clean the area hidden under the rings. This is essential to avoid fungus growth.
Examine your Feet Regularly
Check your feet daily. You need to look for skin between the toes which could be peeling, as this is a sign of athlete’s foot. Also, check for any discoloration and swelling which may be a sign of fungal infection. If you are a diabetic patient, you must give more attention to your feet as diabetes leads to high chances of the foot complications.
Don’t hesitate to visit a doctor if you are suffering from a painful foot. Most feet problems can be cured quickly and easily with the advice of a podiatrist.
Understanding a few medical conditions of the feet would help you to diagnose early.
Bunion– Involves a protruding bone. Symptoms- Stiffness and pain in the big toe.
Hammertoes- When your toes get bent downward from its middle joint. It is due to muscle imbalance.
Flat feet- The entire feet touch the ground.
Athlete’s feet- Fungal infection grows in between toes. Symptoms are itching, swelling and redness.
Callouses- A part of the foot gets thickened and hardened especially due to friction.
Arthritis- Stiffness in any joint.
Daily Foot Exercises
We don’t think to do foot exercises. But it is important for better mobility. Do a few stretching exercises regularly. Sit down with your legs straight and lift your every individual toe for one or two minutes. Running, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing also help in proper functioning of your feet for better mobility.