You know it’s important to take proper care of your heart, your hair, your teeth … but how much thought do you give to caring for your feet? Considering the average person walks a distance of about 110,000 miles in their lifetime, this is one body part you don’t want to take for granted! Keep reading for some dos and don’ts that will keep your feet feeling their best.
…practice proper foot care. The foundation of healthy feet is good hygiene. This includes washing your feet when you bathe, as well as drying your feet – especially the skin between your toes – thoroughly afterward. If you wear nail polish on your toes, keep them healthy by giving your toenails a few days to “breathe” between applications. Always wear clean, dry socks, and try to air out your shoes between uses to prevent fungus infections.
…moisturize daily. As you age, the skin of your feet gets drier and thinner, making them more susceptible to cracks that could cause bleeding or pain. Rubbing a thick moisturizing lotion on your feet every night can help keep the skin soft and nourished. Just be sure not to apply the lotion in between your toes – too much moisture in this area can lead to infections.
…choose the right shoe for the job. Your choice of footwear matters; not only should your shoes be comfortable, but they should also be activity-appropriate. Athletic shoes are going to be the best choice for high-
impact activities such as running or aerobics, while sturdy sandals will give your feet proper support on vacation. Although high heels are notorious for causing foot problems, they won’t do any lasting damage when worn sparingly – for
example, a date night on the town.
…apply sunscreen when wearing open-toe shoes. The tops of our feet face the sun directly when we’re barefoot or wearing a skin-baring shoe outdoors, so why is this spot so often overlooked when we’re applying sunscreen? You can do your part to reduce your risk of skin cancer by lathering up and reapplying every two hours you’re outdoors.
…wear tight-fitting shoes. Ill-fitting shoes can do significant damage to your feet, which is why it’s important that any shoes you wear fit properly. When trying on a pair of shoes, they should fit right away – if they’re rubbing or causing discomfort, no amount of “breaking them in” is going to fix that. Ideally, there should be about a half inch between your longest toe and the front of your shoe, and the ball of your foot should comfortably fit in the widest part of the shoe.
…ignore foot pain. If you’re plagued with foot pain, you’ll want to get things evaluated before it gets worse. Common causes of foot pain include bunions, corns, plantar fasciitis, ingrown toenails, fallen arches, and arthritis. Seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing severe pain or swelling, unable to walk or put pressure on your foot, or developing signs of an infection, such as warmth, redness, or tenderness in the affected area.
…cut corners. When it comes time for a nail trim, experts suggest cutting your toenails straight across the top with a nail clipper. You can then use a nail file or emery board to smooth out the corners of the nail. Cut your nails regularly, but not too short, or you may experience an ingrown toenail.
…forget to rest! Just as you want to make sure your feet are getting enough exercise, you also want to make sure your feet are getting plenty of R&R. Spend a few minutes every day lying back with your feet elevated. You might use this opportunity to do a few foot stretches, or you can give each foot a soothing massage, which will help boost your circulation and reduce muscle soreness.