Your daily tasks, hobbies, and sports activities will always require your feet to perform in their best condition. Feet contain about 26 bones and joints that sustain your entire body’s weight. They are an integral part of your body, allowing you to stand, move around, balance, walk, and run. Depending on how physically active you are, 80 percent of most people’s daily routines involve using their feet.
Therefore, ensuring and maintaining the healthy condition of your feet is very important. They have to be kept strong and comfortable, ready to withstand any situation. However, due to the constant use of such parts, they are very much prone to heel and arch pain and other injuries at some point. As a result, many people spend a hefty amount of money on foot treatments and surgeries, which could have been prevented with proper foot care.
This article will cover some common foot disorders and tips on the appropriate and necessary foot care to maintain your foot health.
Common Foot Disorders
Although most people are born with healthy feet, some disorders arise due to negligence and improper foot care. Here are some common foot problems:
- Athlete’s Foot
Deemed as a fungus infection of the skin, an athlete’s foot begins with tiny blisters found on your foot. They eventually burst or dry up, which then causes the skin to flake, itch, crack, or burn.
One obvious symptom of having this disorder is when your feet suffer from an unpleasant smell. A way to battle against this condition is to keep your feet clean and dry at all times. You can wear socks that are good for moisture absorption and discourages fungal growth. You may also use other medications like anti-fungus powder or solutions.
Usually caused by misaligned joints, you may likely suffer from bunions through some swollen and tender areas on your feet. It is the big toe that is commonly affected. To prevent this, you can wear some special cushions on your shoe to alleviate the pressure caused by bunions. In some cases, you will need Cortisone injections to relieve swelling.
- Corn And Calluses
Corns are formed on top of your toes which may be on the center joint or your feet’ soles. On the other hand, calluses are found on the heel or ball of your foot. Symptoms for these disorders include thickened skin and these are usually painful. One way to eliminate it from forming is to wear properly fitted shoes. There must be no friction and pressure on the feet.
- Foot Cramps
A prevalent and sometimes unavoidable foot ailment is foot cramps. These are characterized by sudden pain in the arch of the foot because of strained muscles. When you experience this, you must stretch the arch muscles and massage them until the cramp dissipates.
- Foot Strain
Many athletes probably experience foot strain due to fatigue or foot stress. To treat this, you must rest your feet, soak them in warm water, and give them a good massage too.
- Ingrown Toenail
An ingrown toenail starts when the corners of the toenail somehow cause pain to your skin. The pain becomes severe when pressure is exerted on the toe. A way to avoid this is to soak your toe in warm water. You can also seek medical treatment as early as possible so that it won’t lead to infection.
How To Look After Your Foot Health
Now, take a look at some essential tips for looking after your foot health:
- Always Wash And Clean Your Feet
Make it a habit to wash your feet properly every day during your bath time. In cases when your feet are exposed to bacteria and germs during outdoor activities, make it a point to take more time washing them with warm and soapy water.
However, remember not to soak your feet often, as it can lead to drying due to the natural oils being removed.
- Dry Your Feet Well
After washing, ensure to dry your feet thoroughly, especially on the parts between the toes. Never forget to dry them thoroughly as this is where fungal infections like Athlete’s foot may quickly develop.
- Use Foot File And Moisturize
Depending on your foot’s condition, you must apply moisturizing cream if the skin is dry. However, try to avoid putting the cream or lotion in between toes as this might lead to fungal infection.
You may also remove the hard skin and calluses on your soles with a foot file or a pumice stone. Don’t forget to be gentle and scrape just the right amount of callus as overdoing it could hurt your fresh skin underneath.
- Cut Toenails With Care
More of a hygienic routine than a foot health care tip, cutting your toenails regularly is crucial. Keep it straight and avoid cutting down the edges or on a particular angle to avoid ingrown toenails. Also, having long toenails is uncomfortable and painful on your enclosed shoes, especially if you habitually run to improve your health.
- Shop For Shoes In The Afternoon
One helpful tip in buying shoes is to shop for them in the afternoon. This is the time of day when your feet have become their most accurate size as you have been using them for some hours already. When you buy your shoes in the afternoon, you’ll be able to choose a size that will make your feet comfortable.
- Wear The Right Work Shoes
Depending on the type of shoes required by your company, you must shop for something that will allow you to stay comfortable the entire day. You can look for special footwear with anti-slip soles or reinforced toecaps.
If you are required to wear high heels at work, you may bring spare shoes when you need to walk on your way and back home. This will give your feet ample time to rest and recover without hurting them.
- Limit Wearing High Heels
If possible, wear high heels only when necessary. Also, when you need to wear one, select the right height and weight. Some heels might be too heavy and high for daily use. Unfortunately, wearing high heels constantly will damage your feet in the long run.
Always wear the appropriate shoes for any event, job, occasion, or activity. If you use shoes unfit for a situation, this will only lead to blisters and might even lead to infection when left untreated.
- Change Socks Daily To Avoid Foot Odor
Another hygienic tip is to change your socks on a daily basis. Also, go for socks that are made of wool, cotton, or even bamboo. These materials are breathable and will help the socks maintain the right temperature. You can also go for specialist socks that are perfect for different sporting activities.
- Wear Socks That Fit
Like shoes that should perfectly fit, your socks should also be the right fit and size. Consider width size as well as ankle fit. If you have swollen feet, find the right socks that are good for your condition. You may also go for elastic-free socks so they won’t cut into your leg. The seams of your socks should also be taken into consideration. The constant rubbing on your skin can cause injuries and blisters.
- Wear Proper Footwear In Communal Areas
When going to public areas like gym showers, swimming pools, saunas, and other public places with water, make sure to wear slippers or flip-flops. This will protect your feet from getting Athlete’s foot or other bacteria-induced ailments.
- Don’t Overuse Flip-flops
Avoid wearing flip-flops constantly because it may cause arch and heel pain over time. Try to wear them only when you need to.
Good Shoe Checklist
Most importantly, try to consider this checklist when choosing or wearing specific footwear:
- When your running shoes have been used for over 300 miles, it’s time to consider buying a new pair.
- Even when flats or boots can be repaired, always check the cracking on the upper area, soles, and damage to toe boxes.
- When your high heels have exposed nails on the sole, inner part, it indicates that you need a new heel lift.
- Check your sandals for any loose or broken straps and have them replaced.
- Always consider repairing and recycling first before tossing your shoes out.
Contact A Podiatrist For Your Other Foot Problems
Although many foot disorders can be prevented and resolved through easy methods and medications, it’s imperative to visit a podiatrist when more severe foot problems are involved. You can have your feet checked regularly, especially if you suffer from other health issues like poor circulation, diabetes, or a weak immune system. Sometimes your feet condition may trigger these health issues in the long run.
The point is, you need to ensure that your foot health is in its prime condition. You must purchase properly fitted shoes, and replace them when necessary. Wear the right shoes for the right occasion and activity. Also, try to avoid wearing high heels as these will only cause damage to your feet. You can also take advantage of some footwear products that will support your foot health. Lastly, when more severe foot issues arise, it’s best to consult your podiatrist.