By Christina DeBusk
Feet are often the most neglected parts of the body. We stuff them in shoes all day, walk on them without so much as a thought, and focus on the fact that they are there only when there is an issue that requires our attention. However, if we paid more attention to them in the first place, many of those problems could be avoided.
Common foot problems
According to WebMD, some of the most common foot problems include bunions, corns, calluses, plantar warts, and hammertoe. Some of these are created from wearing shoes that don’t fit properly (in either size, width, or in the toe area), and others can be brought on with shoes, such as high heels, that are more stylish than functional.
While most foot issues can be treated with remedies such as pads, orthotics, and inserts, sometimes it takes the hands of a skilled doctor or surgical intervention to fully treat the problem. This makes practicing basic foot care critical to keeping your feet out of the doctor’s office. Besides, why put yourself in pain and agony if you don’t have to?
Basic foot care tips
To keep your feet healthy and feeling great, here are five basic foot care tips that are easy to incorporate into your daily routine:
- Buy new shoes later in the day. Because your feet tend to swell the longer you are on them, you’re better off shoe shopping in the afternoon and evening. If you buy shoes earlier in the day, you run the risk of purchasing a pair that won’t fit you when your feet grow in size.
- Take your heels to work with you. If you are required to wear heels at work or just like the way they look, save your feet some time in them by wearing more functional and comfortable shoes on your commute, putting on your heels only while you are there.
- Keep your feet clean. The National Health Service (NHS) in the U.K. suggests that you wash your feet regularly with soap and water—even giving them a good scrub-down before retiring to bed for the night—as this will reduce your risk of irritation and infection. Be sure to dry them well too (especially between the toes).
- Wear shoes in common areas. When in areas that others may walk in their bare feet, such as locker rooms, saunas, and hotel room restrooms, wear a pair of shoes. This will keep any bugs that may exist from finding their way onto your feet.
- Give your feet a look-over once a day. The Institute for Preventive Foot Health recommends that you look closely at your feet at least once a day. Scan them for any bumps, bruises, cuts, cracks, or other visual injuries or abnormalities. Pay attention to whether they feel funny, such as if you notice tingling or if they become overly cold or warm.
If something doesn’t feel or look right with your feet, get in to see your family doctor or a podiatrist. Some foot-related symptoms could mean something more serious, such as diabetes, nerve issues, or circulation problems, so the sooner you catch them, the better.