There are many ways to approach happy, healthy living. If you’re not including your feet in at least a few of them, however, you’re denying a pretty significant foundation for the rest of your pursuits!
Just think about it. If getting out and active in the world makes you happy, then you don’t want painful heels holding you back. If you want to be able to play with your kids and grandkids, it’s a lot easier and more fun to do so without a bad case of bunions.
Taking actions to keep your feet healthy now can keep your whole body all that much healthier and happier in the future. Here are five easy but very important steps to follow for keeping your feet and ankles fresh.
Wear the Right Shoes
Or, more appropriately, don’t wear the wrong shoes.
Our feet spend so much of our lives in shoes, and our choices of footwear can have a big impact on what happens to them during that time.
Good shoes will have enough room in the toe box to allow them to move and not be crammed up against each other. The heel counter will be fully enclosed, high, and firm to support the ankle, but not completely rigid. The back of your foot should also not slip against the back of the shoe very much, if at all.
High heels are tickets to disaster, forcing body weight up against the front of the foot and aiding the development of big problems such as bunions and hammertoes. If you do decide to wear high heels, keep them as low as possible and only wear them for limited amounts of time.
Finally, don’t forget to have the right shoes for your activities. If you’re running, use running shoes. If you’re playing basketball, wear basketball shoes. They will provide the support in the right places you need to help avoid injuries, and a trained sporting goods store associate will help you find the best pairs for you.
Trim Your Toenails Well
Everyone believes they know the right way to trim their toenails; and you may be right! But it’s always worth a refresher to make sure you’re not increasing your chances of ingrown toenails.
Cut your toenails straight across, with little to no curving on the ends. You can always file the corners down a bit if you need to, but curving too far can risk the edges of the nail growing into the skin.
Always make sure there’s a little white on the ends of your nails, too. Cutting too far in increases odds of ingrowing (and can also hurt!).
Also make sure you’re using the right tool for the job. Smaller pairs of trimmers meant for fingernails force you to make several cuts along many nails, which can cause more jaggedness. It’s also wise to separate your clippers between fingernails and toenails just in case you ever get a fungus. You won’t want to spread that between nails!
Clean and Dry Your Feet
Make it a habit to wash your feet every day, or at the very least every time you bathe.
And no, just letting soapy water run down your body and over your feet isn’t enough. Give them a thorough scrub with mild soap, and be sure to get between your toes.
When you’re done, dry your feet fully, including (again) between the toes. While washing is a good way to help keep fungus and other undesirable organisms away, keeping moisture on your feet can allow them a safe haven once again.
Inspect Your Feet Regularly
While you’re washing or drying your feet, don’t neglect a moment to actually take a good look at what’s going on down there.
As humans, we tend to have a bad habit of not realizing something is wrong at foot level for a decent amount of time. Well, we do when it hurts, but we also tend to ignore that for a little bit as well.
Checking your feet out can help you identify certain problems such as athlete’s foot or fungal toenails earlier. And when a problem is found earlier, treatment for it tends to be a lot faster and more successful.
Look for anything out of the ordinary such as:
- Nail discoloration (even simple white spots can be the starting signs of nail fungus)
- Corns and calluses
If you see something, and it doesn’t start to look better after a day or two (and especially if it gets worse!), give us a call.
Stretch and Massage
Stretches and massages don’t just help your feet and ankles feel good; they’re also good for circulation and range of motion!
If you’re stuck sitting at work all day, try to take a few minutes now and then to get up and move your feet a bit. Another nice trick is keeping a tennis ball under your desk and running it along the bottom of each foot (take your shoes off first, of course).
Heel raises, calf stretching, and other small stretches in the morning and through the day can also be beneficial to your feet, increasing flexibility and helping to stave off heel pain. We can help you determine what kinds of stretches and moves would be best for your individual needs.
Taking the best care of your feet now will help you have a firm foundation to stand on in the future! Any time you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact our office in Upland. Give us a call at (909) 920-0884 or fill out our online contact form.