Our feet pull us through thousands of steps per day. Yet we fill them into pointy pumps, pound them on the pavement, and often tend to the last when it proceeds to self-care.
A 2014 review shows that 8 out of 10 Americans have experienced a foot problem — described as everything from an ingrown toenail to recurring foot pain. And depending on how long that foot problem lasts, it could potentially affect one’s overall quality of life and health. If you’ve got foot pain or also a minor skin irritation, you’re more likely to avoid exercise, for example.
Basically, if your feet fall behind, so do you.
“They put us ambulatory,” says podiatrist Michael J. Trepal, the vice president for academic affairs also the dean at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. “People unable to move about tolerate numerous physical, psychological, and social distress as a direct or incidental result of foot dysfunction.”
Also if you’re known among your friends as having beautiful Cinderella feet, or the tall gal who jocularly refers to her feet like skis, foot health is critical. “It is not simply how they look exactly how they work that matters most,” Trepal says.
Learn more about the own soles, hygiene, and other lifestyle choices to give your feet the relief they’ve been giving you.
10 easy ways to manage your feet right and pain-free
Be a great friend to your feet by avoiding these dangerous habits:
- Don’t carry too-tight shoes.
- Don’t share footwear.
- Don’t share pedicure utensils beside your pals.
- Don’t cover discolored nails with polish. Allow them to breathe and treat the underlying issue.
- Don’t cut calluses.
- Don’t do “DIY surgery” on an ingrown nail.
- Do try the Legs-Up-the-Wall yoga pose behind a long day or a difficult workout.
- Do provide yourself a foot massage or book a reflexology session.
- Do roll a tennis ball under your feet.
- Do calm irritation with a vinegar toes soak.
If you’re querying if socks in bed are okay, as a hygiene thing or for usual foot health, here’s the solution to your burning question: Yes, it’s OK to use socks to bed! “They’re not a difficulty unless they are overly tight also constricting,” Trepal says of nighttime socks. “Of course, they should be replaced daily.” However, do keep in mind that chronically cold tootsies could be a symptom of an underlying position.
Perfect shoe fit
⦁ You should have enough depth so that your toes don’t rub the tops.
⦁ Stand up with the shoes on and make sure you have a half-inch (about the width of your finger) between your longest toe and the front of the shoe.
⦁ Walk around in the shoes and make sure you don’t experience any rubbing or slipping.
If you’re wondering about recent footwear trends, Trepal says cloth kickers, like cotton slip-on or canvas sneakers, are fine. Just don’t wear them for running, hiking, or activities that require foot protection.
As for the minimalist running shoe craze, you don’t want to switch too fast. These shoes are intended to mimic barefoot running by encouraging a forefoot strike (the front of the foot hitting the ground first) rather than the heel strike that built-up or cushioned shoes encourage. A recent study shows this footstrike change can make some runners more efficient, but transitioning too fast from traditional to minimalist shoes could cause calf or shin pain.
Wear your heels like they’re deserving millions — sparingly
We might love the way heels stretch our legs and make us feel strong, but while we wear them, we sacrifice our health. 52 of the bones in the human body are truly in our feet and ankles. High heels, which tip us forward, replace the natural position of the foot relative to the ankle.
A study shows that this sets off a chain reaction up into the legs and lower spine, which could start to the chronic knee, hip, or back pain. If you’re not able to part with your heels, pick sensible ones and wear them sparingly. “If they must be worn,” Trepal says, “find a shoe with as wide a heel as possible to increase cover area contact within the shoe and the ground.”
Always inspect your shoes
No matter what types of shoes are in your closet, you need to inspect them regularly for wear and tear.
The “good shoes” checklist
- i. Replace your running shoes every 300 miles.
- ii. Nice flats or boots can usually be fixed, but watch for cracking on the upper part, softening in the soles, and damage to the boxes.
iii. Check high heels for the same concerns, as well as for exposed nails, an indicator you need a new heel lift.
- iv. Check sandals for loose or broken straps.
- v. Repair, recycle or toss out when appropriate.
Take care of your feet in the ages
Our eyes might be the windows to our souls, just our soles are often the windows to our overall health. “Feet tend to mirror the body as peoples age,” Trepal says. “We see things such as reduced circulation, thinning of the skin, brittle bones, muscle atrophy, arthritis, etc. Various of these conditions can originally manifest in the foot and ankle.”
Hold an eye on your feet for changes, pain, irritation, or anything else. Again, be mindful of whatever you put on your feet.
“Younger people will usually sacrifice pain and function for style,” Trepal says of shoes. “As people age, there looks to be a shift toward comfort and function over style.” Don’t wait for pain and trouble to catch up to you later in life. Feet come in all shapes and sizes — and really all walks of life — but if you’re feeling foot pain that doesn’t go away or an issue that’s stopping with your daily activities, see a podiatrist and take care of your tappers now.