Feet have over 50 bones, 60 joints, and 200 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Don’t take those tootsies for granted! Think about these tips for taking care of your feet to help you maintain a great base for movement through your day.
Why Foot Care Is Important
Taking care of your feet before they hurt goes a long way in preventing a host of foot problems down the road. Foot care helps one retain mobility, which translates to a better quality of life, more healthful physical activity, and better performance at work. Neglecting your feet can lead to uncomfortable and painful conditions, such as athlete’s foot or bunions. When your feet don’t feel good, you’re less motivated to move around. Sedentary lifestyles are unhealthy, and too much sitting or immobility can cause blood to pool in the feet and ankles, causing swelling and discomfort. Poorly cared for feet also can develop rough, cracked skin, ingrown toenails, and fungal infections.
Foot Care 101
Here’s a breakdown of some of the top tips for taking care of your feet:
- Wash, dry and, moisturize your feet: Just wetting your feet in the tub or shower isn’t enough. You should actually wash your feet—including between the toes—with gentle, non-drying soap. Dry them with a clean towel and moisturize them with a non-greasy lotion. Use your spa or household slippers to get back from the bathroom to put on your socks and shoes without slipping.
- Wear quality socks: Socks provide important benefits like wicking moisture away from feet, preventing blisters, and providing cushioning. Investing in quality socks made for the specific way you use them (dress, athletic or compression socks) pays off in better foot health.
- Choose the right shoes in the right size: Cramming your feet into shoes that are too small, have heels that are too high, or that don’t provide enough arch support is a recipe for foot problems. Shoes that don’t fit well can cause blisters and even bunions over time. Don’t wear the same pair of shoes day after day—change up your shoe style regularly and wear the right type for your activity. If you stand up all day, you’ll need supportive, comfortable shoes. Heels for the occasional night on the town are okay, as long as you don’t subject your feet to stilettos every day.
- Exercise your feet: You may think that simply moving around each day is enough exercise for your feet, but there are particular exercises you can do to stretch and maintain flexibility in your feet. Consult your podiatrist if you have pain or difficulty moving your feet, flexing and curling your toes, or rising up on your toes and rolling back on your heels due to foot pain.
- Give them a massage: Encourage circulation by giving your feet a nice massage; give them a nice soak in gentle soap and exfoliate dry, rough skin. Elevate your feet after a long day to calm swelling and give them a good rest.
Taking care of your feet helps promote health from the ground up. See your podiatrist for a check-up and to address conditions like bunions, ingrown toenails, or bone and joint pain.