05 May FOOT HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH – 2020
Think about how much we depend on our feet each and every day! The average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day for a lifetime walking average of 115,000 miles, or more than 4 trips around the earth. That is why it’s important to develop healthy foot habits to help avoid injury, illnesses and keep them pain free!
Keeping our feet healthy is an important part of staying active and healthy, and are a key indicator of our overall health. We all experience tired and sore feet sometimes, especially if we live an active lifestyle or stand on our feet all day. However, foot pain whether mild or severe, is NOT normal and should be addressed by a footcare specialist – and the sooner the better!
Here are some great tips for keeping your feet healthy and happy:
1. Wear Comfortable Shoes
Comfortable shoes will help improve your foot health in many ways…
Contrary to popular belief, our shoe size continues to change as we age! Weight gain or loss, pregnancy and the effects of aging are all common causes for changes in the length and width of our feet. If you haven’t measured your feet in the last 12 months, you may be included in the 1/3 of men and 1/2 of women who do not wear
the right shoe size.
If shoes are too tight they can cause hammer toes, ingrown toenails, corns, and foot pain. If they are too big your heels will not sit securely in the shoes and this can cause blisters, calluses, sore heels, and increase wear on your shoes. Wearing flat-soled, supportive shoes every day is recommended with only occasional use of heels and unsupportive sandals!
2. Take A Walk
Like the rest of your body, your feet have muscles that need to be exercised. If you spend all day sitting or standing, walking, even if only a short daily walk, will help to stretch and strengthen the muscles of your feet and keep your ligaments and tendons flexible! Oh, and remember to wear those proper fitting, comfortable shoes when you go for a walk!
If you do not have a proper fitting pair of shoes, you can view some great options here!
3. Wash Your Feet Everyday
Because your feet are trapped in shoes all day, the sweat and moisture that builds up provides a perfect home for bacteria and fungi to grow, especially between your toes. This bacteria and fungi can lead to unpleasant foot odour, infections, or other skin conditions! Feet are often overlooked and do not get a proper cleaning. Washing your feet and between your toes with regular soap is all that is needed. Remember to be careful when washing your feet (if you’re washing your feet while standing in the shower, hold onto something to stay balanced!) Ensure that when you dry your feet you pay special attention to thoroughly drying between your toes. A dry environment between your toes will help to reduce infections and skin
The last step explained the importance of keeping your feet dry. This next step says to moisturize your feet…so should you keep your feet dry or moist? The answer: both. Keeping your feet dry is important, as well as wearing shoes that allow your feet to breathe and release moisture. Moisturizing helps your skin to remain soft to prevent dry, scaly, and/or cracked skin, especially during warm sunny months when you may wear sandals frequently. The important part of moisturizing your feet is to not apply lotion in between your toes.
If you have very dry feet, one option is to wash your feet in the evening, dry very well in between your toes, and apply a lotion that contains cocoa butter (or another natural emollient) to your feet (remember to avoid applying lotion between your toes). Put on a pair of cotton socks overnight to allow the cocoa butter to stay on the skin. Your feet will feel smoother in the morning!
5. Wear Socks
Now that you are aware of the importance of proper footwear, let’s discuss why
socks are also important. Socks absorb and wick away moisture, provide cushioning, and reduce wear and tear on your feet. Your heels take most of the impact and as we age the fatty pad on our heels gets thinner. The cushioning from
socks becomes more important because it helps to absorb more of the impact from walking and standing.
For daily use it is recommended to wear socks made of natural fibers, like cotton or wool. For athletic purposes, synthetic materials are recommended to wick away sweat and moisture!