The foot is a critical component of one’s life and a basic tool for mobility. Without healthy feet, it can be distressing to perform daily activities. Healthy feet can enhance your quality of life, allowing you to engage in productive work and regular physical activity which is essential to our well-being. In spite of the remarkable functions of the feet, most of us hardly exercise healthy foot care habits. This can, in turn, increase our susceptibility to foot-related illnesses and complications. (Images Credit: Raw Pixel/Pexels/Pixabay)
So, what entails healthy foot care?
There is a number of good practices. To enhance the well-being of your foot, you should:
- Wash your feet regularly
- Dry them well
- Moisturize and file
- Cut toenails carefully
It is important to keep your feet clean by washing them on a daily basis using warm soapy water. You should however not soak them when washing as this could destroy natural oils in your skin. After washing your feet, dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes because that is where fungal infections such as Athlete’s foot often occur. When your skin is dry, apply moisturizing cream throughout, but not in between the toes. It is also vital to remove hard skin and calluses gently using a pumice stone or foot file. Keep in mind that you should not overdo this as it could damage fresh skin underneath. Trim your toenails on a regular basis using the appropriate nail clippers. Cut straight across and not down the edges or at an angle as this could result in ingrown toenails.
What are some of the best practices when it comes to footwear?
- Wear the right shoe size
- Change your socks regularly to avoid foot odor and bacteria growth
- Wear well-fitting socks
- Protect your feet in communal areas
- Avoid wearing high heels and flip-flops for extended periods of time
Depending on the kind of work you do, it is advisable to wear specialist footwear. That could include shoes with hard-reinforced toecaps or anti-slip soles. In case that you wear high heels at your workplace, choose comfortable shoes on your way to work and change into your heels once you get there.
Reserve high heels and pointy toe shoes for going out and special occasions. If you are particularly fond of wearing heels, it is advisable to switch between different heights. Wearing heels that are 3 inches or higher on a regular basis can really hurt your feet down the line. Dr. Petkov, a board-certified podiatrist at Premier Podiatry in Clifton, NJ states: “Wearing high heels for prolonged periods of time is not advisable because it can put a lot of pressure on the ball of your foot where the metatarsal heads touch the ground. That can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, especially if the high heel shoes do not offer any sort of padding. You can also develop bunions and plantar fasciitis over time. If however, wearing high heels is a priority for you, I recommend that you consider getting custom-molded orthotics. There are models specifically designed to be worn in sandals, pumps and boots. That way, your arches would be supported and you would also get the added benefit of cushioning the ball of your feet.”
In addition to changing your socks on a regular basis, wear socks that are made of cotton wool or soft bamboo socks as it enables your feet to breathe and keep them at the right temperature. Also, ensure your socks fit well, paying special attention on the width of your foot along with the ankle. In case your feet are swollen, wear socks that can accommodate the swelling. When in communal areas or public areas such as swimming pools or gym showers, wear flip-flops or pool shoes to avoid contracting Athlete’s foot as well as plantar warts. However, avoid wearing flip-flops throughout the day as they could cause heel pain if worn all the time.
Best practices to keep your feet healthy through marathon training
The best practices to keep your feet healthy though marathon training entails a number of critical considerations. In view of this, you should:
- Choose the right type of sneakers for the terrain that you’re going to be running on
- Wear moisture wicking socks
- Avoid wearing brand-new sneakers on race day
- Always provide yourself adequate time to rest
During sporting activities, such as training for a marathon, it is critical to track your miles and replace your shoes when appropriate. It is advisable to replace them every 200 to 300 miles of running. Always ensure that you do not use your running shoes for other purposes. Wearing moisture wicking socks during training helps prevent blisters, bacteria, fungus, and other common foot problems. Lastly, you should never skip rest days as over-training could be harmful to tissues, leading to foot pain and complications. Rest days are pertinent in enabling your muscles and joints to recover.
When is the best time to shop for your shoes?
You should shop for shoes in the afternoon. As the day goes by the size of your feet can expand slightly due to swelling. In the afternoon, the size of your feet is at their largest.
Our feet are our means of mobility which enhances daily operations. Observing healthy footwear practices is important as it enables you to avoid complications related to bad foot care habits. Some suffer from flat feet but with proper foot care, you can go a long way toward attaining a good quality of life.