LONDON – With more than 50 bones and 60 joints, your feet provide you with mobility, balance, and support. Keeping them healthy and protecting them with proper footwear is essential to overall good health. While everyday foot care can be done at home, specific foot-related problems may need to be addressed with your physician.
Basic Foot Care Keeps Skin and Nails Healthy
When many people think of foot care, pedicures and painted toenails may come to mind. While pedicures are nice, you can care for your feet at home. Basic care starts by keeping your feet clean and dry. If you have dry skin, chances are your feet are dry or cracking, too. Washing your feet and applying a good foot cream can keep the skin on your feet healthy and help to prevent cracking. Keeping toenails trimmed straight across also helps to reduce injuries to the toes.
Proper Protection Reduces Risk of Injury or Infection
When it comes to your feet, a variety of problems can affect foot health. Many of these issues are common and preventable by making smart choices with foot care.
Corns or calluses are hard patches of skin often caused by improperly sized shoes and pressure placed on the foot. Wearing properly fitted shoes and thicker socks that protect the skin can help prevent these problems. Foot powders can help to reduce moisture. If you notice hard, flat, and gray- or brown-coloured spots, you may have picked up a virus that causes plantar warts, which require medical treatment to correct. Avoid walking barefoot in public places where your feet can be exposed to the virus.
Unhealthy Feet Can Lead to Serious Conditions
Paying close attention to your feet will help to prevent or detect more serious conditions. When you suffer from pain in your feet, this pain can often be an indication of a much bigger problem.
Heel pain, plantar fasciitis, is one of the most common foot complaints and is often caused by issues with the arches. If you experience heel pain that doesn’t go away, consult with your physician. Fungal infections of the feet or toenails can cause problems such as thickened toenails and possible odours. Avoid walking barefoot and keep your feet clean and dry. If you have foot pain that keeps you from walking or functioning, see your physician immediately.
Incorrect Footwear Can Complicate Conditions
When looking for the right pair of boots or shoes, what you choose plays a large role in maintaining healthy feet. Choosing footwear that fits well, yet still provides movement and circulation to the feet, is essential.
Avoid shoes with pointed ends that can crush your toes. If you suffer from arch problems, talk with your doctor about inserts or orthotics before shopping for new shoes. Since feet tend to swell throughout the day, shop for shoes in the afternoon so that you know your shoes will not become too tight. Consider purchasing an extra pair of work shoes so that you can rotate your shoes and not wear the same pair every day. This rotation enables your shoes to dry properly and reduce bacteria in the shoes.
How you care for your feet can make a big difference in your daily life. Regular and proper hygiene, as well as wearing the proper fitting footwear, can help to reduce foot infections and injuries.