Be Kind to Your Feet

We demand a lot from our feet.  Every day, we expect them to keep moving while we work, walk, and play.  The least that we can do is to be kind to them in return.  Follow these tips to be kind to your feet.

Wear Shoes

The thought of going barefoot seems nice, especially on a hot summer day – until you step on something and hurt your feet.  It really is best to never go barefoot outdoors.  You never know what you might step on, even if you are being careful.

There could be sharp stickers in the lawn, and there could be pieces of glass or building materials on the ground.  The hot pavement can burn your feet.  It’s a good idea to wear house shoes or slippers indoors, as well.  We tend to not expect hazards indoors, but toys or other stray objects on the floor can cause cuts and injuries to the feet.

People who are diabetic have a tendency to develop neuropathy, which means that there is a loss of feeling and sensation in the feet.  Even people who aren’t diabetic can develop neuropathy, though.

If you have neuropathy, you can get an injury to your feet without feeling it.  Since you don’t know it’s there, the injury can progress from a minor cut or scrape to a more serious infection before you realize that it’s there.

Cope with Plantar Fasciitis

The bottom of the foot has a piece of connective tissue called the plantar fascia that runs the length of the foot and attaches the heel to the toes.  If the plantar fascia is overly taxed, it can become inflamed.  This inflammation is known as plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is a fairly common foot problem, and it is more common amongst people who have high arches or flat feet.  It can cause pain in the arch of the foot and the heel.  It usually is most painful when a person first gets up to walk after a period of rest, such as when they first wake up in the morning.  If untreated, this pain can become chronic.

If you have plantar fasciitis, you should wear shoes that are well constructed & have good support in the arch area.  Choose a stable shoe rather than a flip flop or sandal.  Visit your doctor for treatment recommendations.  Stretching in the morning can help.  Your doctor might also recommend steroid injections, physical therapy, or night splints.

Avoid High Heels and Sandals

It’s no secret that high heels are uncomfortable, and they really do cause damage to your feet.  They put so much pressure on the balls of the feet that they can actually change the physical makeup of the foot.

A three-inch heel increases the pressure on the ball of the foot by seven times the body weight.  This can alter the shape of the fat pads on the ball of the foot – and that isn’t a place where you want to lose fat.

Sandals often don’t stay securely on the feet.  As a result, we tend to grip the bottom of the sandal with our toes to keep them on, without even realizing that we are doing it.  This gripping action can cause a person to develop tendonitis, which is an inflammation of the tendons in the toes.

If you must wear a shoe with a heel, choose a platform rather than a stiletto.  A platform has a wider, more stable base, and it provides a better toe to heel height ratio.  When you are shopping for shoes, check the construction and comfort level of the shoes.

Try this test:  press your finger down inside the shoe at both the ball of the foot and the arch.  When you do this, the cushioning inside the shoe should bounce back.  Look for higher-quality materials, too.

Leather tends to be more comfortable and breathable than plastic or other man-made materials.  In terms of heels, choose a wider, thicker heel over a narrow heel.  It does a better job of distributing your weight and will feel more comfortable and stable.  Up front, choose a rounded toe over a pointy toe.

A pointy toe cramps the toes and forces them into an unnatural position, whereas a rounded toe gives the toes more space to move.  You should be able to wiggle your toes inside the toe box of the shoe.

Avoid Fungus and Bacteria

Any time that you would typically be barefoot in public, wear flip flops or clogs.  As previously stated, flip flops are not a good choice for any extended wear.  However, they can be quite handy to protect your feet from fungus and bacteria in public places.

The most common place where people go barefoot in public is the gym or locker room.  When you are changing clothes or taking a shower in the locker room, keep flip flops or clogs on your feet.

All of those sweaty feet tracking through the locker room can cause you to end up with a case of foot fungus.  Keep a pair of flip flops handy for visits to the pool, as well.

Athlete’s foot is always more common when the weather is warm and feet are sweaty.  Try to keep the feet as dry as possible, and consider applying anti-perspirant to the feet. Change your socks several times a day.  Your shoes need to have a chance to dry out completely in between wearings, so rotate pairs.  Wear one pair today, and then switch to a different pair tomorrow so that the first pair can air out.

Look out for funky water at the nail salon, too.  When you go to get a pedicure, try to book the first appointment in the morning or get there as soon as they open.  This is when the pedicure tubs and tools tend to be cleanest.

Although the instruments and tubs are cleaned between customers, they tend to not be cleaned as thoroughly then.  Make sure that the tools that are being used on you have been sterilized.  Better yet, bring your own tools for the pedicurist to use on you.  Don’t shave your legs the same day that you get a pedicure, either.  A small cut on your legs can be an opening for bacteria.

If you have diabetes, it is best to not get pedicures.  Leave the care of your feet to your doctor.  For a diabetic, a small cut could allow bacteria to enter the body and have serious results.

Blister Care

Prevent blisters by wearing new shoes for short periods of time before you wear them for a long day out.  If you get a blister, resist the urge to pop it.  The blister provides protective cushioning, so leave it alone.  If it pops on its own, don’t rip the top layer of skin off.  Instead, apply a bit of antibiotic ointment and a bandage.  If there is a spot where your shoes are rubbing against your feet, apply a bit of petroleum jelly to that spot to reduce friction.

You can be kind to your feet by visiting a Foot Solutions store.  We will help you find shoes that give you a perfect, comfortable fit.  Stop in to Foot Solutions in your area today.