People frequently undervalue just how important their feet are. But without healthy feet, there’s so much in life that we can’t do comfortably – run, play sports, exercise, dance, or even walk.
Fortunately, taking care of your feet is easier than you think. In fact, there are a few simple things you can do to protect your feet and give yourself the best chance at keeping them healthy.
Here are a few things we recommend as podiatrists to stay on your feet the right way.
Wear the Right Shoes
What are the right shoes? The right shoes are shoes that – despite style and looks – actually fit your feet.
There are a few areas to look at when finding shoes that fit. You want shoes that fit your size; you’ll know this if they fit snugly, with roughly ⅛“ or ½” of space between the end of the toe box and your longest toe.
The toe box should match the shape of your foot. And the heel should be snug, too, so that it doesn’t slip and cause blisters.
Finding the right size can be difficult because people’s feet change in size over time. You should have your feet measured before you buy a new pair of shoes. Measure both feet, too; one is usually larger than the other, and you should find shoes that match the larger of your feet.
Finally, choose shoes that match the width of your feet. You may need wider shoes. Shoes that pinch on the sides can put stress on the sides of your feet, which can cause muscle problems.
Moisturize Your Feet
A lot of discomfort is caused by dry, rough skin. You can avoid this by moisturizing your feet on a regular basis, while also keeping them clean. This can cut down on bacteria, odor, and the development of tough skin.
If you aren’t careful with your skin, it can dry out and crack, which opens your feet up to nasty infections that can seriously jeopardize the health of your feet.
Protect Your Toenails
Toenails can become dry and brittle, and can develop nail fungus. The best way to guard against this is to keep them trimmed and clean. Wear breathable footwear and try to keep your feet as dry as possible. Don’t go barefoot in public places, either.
If you wear nail polish, fight the temptation to cover up an “ugly” nail with polish. That ugliness could be caused by bacteria and could be the beginnings of a fungal infection.
Watch for ingrown toenails. If you develop one, you may need to see a foot doctor to have it removed.
Visit Your Podiatrist
If you notice any problems with your feet, whether it’s pain, tenderness, swelling, or cracked skin, visit your podiatrist. Your foot doctor is your best line of defense against problems getting worse and more difficult to treat. Follow his or her instructions and don’t hesitate to visit the doctor’s office if you feel something is wrong.