Healthy Foot Habits
While you’re going about your day, it can be easy to take your feet for granted. However, if you neglect their health, you could end up with lasting issues that make walking or exercising uncomfortable. Luckily, there are a few simple, pain-free ways to help keep your feet in tip-top shape.
Choose the right shoes
We’re all familiar with the feeling of getting a blister from wearing shoes that don’t fit properly, but that’s not the extent of the damage it can cause. Not only will bad shoes result in irritations like corns, calluses and ingrown toenails, they can negatively affect your posture and result in back pain. Jennifer Chesak of Healthline says that if the ball of your foot sits in the widest part of the shoe, your toes don’t brush against the top and you have about one finger’s width between your longest toe and the front of the shoe, it’s probably a good fit.
Chesak also recommends that you choose the right shoe for the right activity. Specifically, cloth footwear for casual fun, tennis shoes for everyday wear and exercise and high-heels for special occasions. It’s also a good idea to limit the amount of time you spend in heels as they put unnatural pressure on your foot, drastically change your posture and can cause long-term hip and back pain.
Stay clean and dry
When you shut your feet up in a tight, enclosed space and then walk or run around on them all day, it’s only natural that they’ll sweat. While it may seem like the worst thing that results from moisture is an unpleasant odor, that’s far less worrisome than the possibility of bacterial growth and fungal infections like athlete’s foot. For most people, taking a shower every day and wearing moisture-wicking socks when possible can go a long way towards preventing those maladies. If your shoes got completely soaked for whatever reason, make sure they’ve fully dried before you put them back on again.
Don’t shave your calluses
Nobody likes having calluses on their feet, either because they’re unsightly, uncomfortable or have started to impact the way your shoes fit. It’s tempting to pick up a commercial callus shaver, but Chesak and others state that those can result in serious damage to your foot’s skin. Instead, consider using a pumice stone — potentially paired with a skin softener — which will gently exfoliate the callus rather than scraping it off with the equivalent of a cheese grater.
Don’t be afraid to see a doctor
While a number of foot issues can be resolved through over-the-counter medications, a visit to a pedicurist or a change in footwear, it’s important to know when to seek medical help. If you have chronic foot pain, you may need prescription orthotics from a certified podiatrist — and commercially available inserts aren’t a suitable substitute. Additionally, Chesak encourages you to avoid performing “DIY surgery” on ingrown toenails, as you may end up making the problem worse in the long run. In short, if it seems like something a professional should handle, don’t hesitate to contact one.
With these tips, you’ll be able to keep your feet healthy and yourself happy and active for years to come. For more advice, contact your trusted medical advisor.
This article is presented by Wantagh Mazda.