Looking after our feet should be as much a part of our daily routines as brushing our teeth. After all, healthy feet are essential to mobility. With the average person walking an incredible 160,000 kilometres in their lifetime, looking after your feet is critical to your health and wellbeing. In this article, we look at why foot care is so important and we share some tips to keep your feet in top condition.
Foot Care: Why It’s Important
A painful foot can be debilitating. Often it’s only when we have an issue with our feet that we realise just how much we take mobility for granted. Our feet are not only essential for keeping us mobile and independent, they are also essential to our mental wellbeing because when something goes wrong it can have a big psychological impact too. Imagine not being able to get about as freely as you’re used to. And imagine being dependent on others to get out of the house. Quite a daunting prospect, isn’t it? It will come as no surprise, therefore, to discover that psychiatric disorders, especially anxiety and depression, are more than twice as common in people with long-term physical illnesses compared to the normal population.
Poor foot care and a consequent loss of mobility has also been linked to weight gain and a reduction in cardiovascular health. Often it’s a vicious circle. Increased weight can in itself lead to painful feet. What’s more, misalignment of bones and limited joint mobility as well as moving differently to alleviate pain can lead to problems in other parts of the body such as knees, hips and the spine.
Foot Care: What You Need To Do
So, how can you look after your feet to make sure you get the best out them for as long as possible? Here are our tips on how to promote good foot health.
Choose well-fitting shoes. Corns and calluses, as well as general foot pain, are all problems associated with ill-fitting shoes. So when buying new shoes have your feet measured for width as well as the length and go shopping in the afternoon after any natural swelling has occurred.
Clean feet and regularly trim toenails. Cleaning your feet and keeping toenails trimmed is important to overall foot health. However, avoid soaking your feet as this can destroy the skin’s natural oils. In addition, make sure that you dry your feet thoroughly paying particular attention to the areas between toes to avoid problems with athlete’s foot.
Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers. Going barefoot may be standard for Antipodeans but it’s best not to if you want to avoid damaging or traumatising your feet. In addition, slippers may seem like a good idea but they are unsupportive and are often ill-fitting making them a tripping hazard.
Consult a podiatrist. If you have any concerns about your feet, suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes or arthritis or you are elderly and find bending over difficult, then it’s worthwhile consulting with a podiatrist at the earliest opportunity. That way any issues can be dealt with swiftly before they become bigger problems.
Taking care of our feet needs to be a priority for all of us. After all, our mobility and independence, as well as our general health and wellbeing, depend on it.