Feet have a vital role in human anatomy. They facilitate mobility and balance. They take the strain and pressure of the whole body throughout the day. Our feet support us all day long. That’s why they may easily get exposed to different sorts of injuries and ailments. Some common foot problems include calluses, athlete’s foot, bunions, blisters, and corns. Taking proper care of your feet can help you avoid these problems. But how do you ensure you don’t experience any foot troubles? Here is how:
1. Clean Your Feet Daily and Wear Clean, Dry Socks
One of the best ways to prevent foot problems is to keep your feet clean and dry. Wash your feet daily with soap and water, and dry them thoroughly afterward, especially between the toes. Wear socks that fit well and are made of breathable material, such as cotton to help keep your feet dry. Change your socks daily. If your feet sweat a lot, you may need to change them more than once a day.
2. Trim Your Nails Carefully and Regularly
Trim your nails regularly to prevent ingrown toenails and other problems. Cut your nails straight across, and file the edges with an emery board or nail file. If you have trouble reaching your toes, ask someone or a podiatrist to trim your nails. When you’re at the nail salon, request the beautician not to cut your toenail too short or injure your skin during filing.
3. Wear Well Fitted Shoes and Socks
Wear shoes that fit you properly and cushion your feet. Avoid wearing shoes with pointed toes, high heels, or any other type of shoe that doesn’t support your foot well. If you’re going to be on your feet for long periods, such as when you’re working or exercising, choose comfortable shoes that provide good support. If you’re already suffering from foot problems, a physical therapist can guide you in buying shoes that fit properly and are suitable for specific activities. Physical therapists often recommend general-purpose orthotic sandals for foot pain for foot conditions such as Plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis.
4. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise helps keep your feet and legs strong and flexible. This prevents injuries, pain, and other problems. If you have a foot condition, such as arthritis, exercising may help reduce pain and stiffness. Check with your doctor or physical therapist before starting an exercise program. A recommended amount of physical activity can help you prevent and manage many chronic conditions and diseases.
5. Moisturize Your Feet at Night
If your feet are dry and cracked, moisturize them every night before bed. Apply a thick lotion or cream to the tops and bottoms of your feet. Rub it in well, especially on any rough areas. Avoid applying lotion between your toes. Put on a pair of cotton socks to help lock in the moisture.
6. Make Sure Your Blood Sugar is Low
If you have diabetes, it’s important to keep your blood sugar levels under control. High blood sugar can cause nerve damage and other problems in your feet. Being diabetic, you may not be able to feel pain or other problems, so it’s important to check your feet every day. Look for cuts, blisters, redness, or other problems. Tell your doctor if you have any foot problems.
7. Avoid Walking Barefoot in Public Locker Rooms and Showers
Walking around barefoot in public areas exposes your feet to bacteria and other germs that can cause infections. Diseases such as athlete’s foot can spread easily in damp places like locker rooms and showers. Always wear shower shoes or flip-flops in these places.
8. Inspect Your Shoes Before Wearing Them
Ensure your shoes fit well and don’t rub or pinch your feet. While putting on your shoes, inspect the insides thoroughly for foreign objects, such as stones or pieces of glass. Also check the outside of your shoes for signs of wear, such as holes or tears. Never wear shoes with worn-out heels, which can cause falls.
20 fascinating foot facts
While many of these foot facts are fun and interesting, some point out how important it is to take great care of your feet. Many maladies of your feet may point to more substantial health problems. If ignored, a few of these conditions can create debilitating and life-threatening conditions.
- Three out of four people will experience foot health problems of varying degrees of severity at one time or another in their lives.
- There are approximately 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet, and they excrete as much as half a pint of moisture each day.
- The 52 bones in your feet make up about one quarter of all the bones in your body.
- Women have about four times as many foot problems as men; lifelong patterns of wearing high heels are often the culprit.
- The American Podiatric Medical Association says the average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day.
- There are times when you’re walking that the pressure on your feet exceeds your body weight; and when you’re running, it can be three or four times your weight.
- Your feet mirror your general health. Such conditions as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in the feet. Foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.
- Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in America. It limits everyday dressing, climbing stairs, getting in and out of bed or walking for about 7 million Americans.
- About 60-70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of diabetic nerve damage, which in severe forms can lead to lower limb amputations. Approximately 56,000 people a year lose their foot or leg to diabetes.
- Only a small percentage of the population is born with foot problems. Many leading foot associations believe that eventual foot problems are caused by neglect, and a lack of awareness of proper care including ill-fitting shoes.
- Shoe size in Britain is measured in barleycorns, a unit of measurement that stretches back to Anglo-Saxon times. Based on the length of a grain of barley, there are three barleycorns to an inch, so each shoe size adds a third of an inch in length to a shoe.
- The measuring device in shoe shops is called a Brannock Device, after the inventor who designed it in the twenties. Mr. Brannock worked for the company all his life and ensured the devices were built to last. The firm is still going strong.
- Most people do not wear the correct shoe size for their feet. According to David G Armstrong, Professor of Surgery at the William M Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago, three-quarters of people wear the wrong size shoes. The reason for this may be that people stick to the size they were measured for when young and fail to realize that their feet change shape. People also like to get the most out of their footwear, and wear and re-wear them even if they no longer fit.
- Going barefoot is best for your feet, joints and overall posture. A South African study in the podiatry journal The Foot in 2007, studied 180 modern humans from three different population groups (Sotho, Zulu and European) and compared them to 2,000-year-old skeletons. The researchers concluded that people had healthier feet and posture before the invention of shoes. The Zulu, who often go barefoot, had the healthiest feet of the modern humans.
- You can’t tell anything about a man from the size of his feet. In 2002, nurses at St. Mary’s Hospital and University College Hospital in London measured the foot size and penis length of 104 men and found there was no link between the two. Previous studies which had shown there was a mild correlation relied upon asking male subjects for their personal information rather than direct measurement.
- Animals can be divided into ‘plantigrades’ creatures that walk on the whole of their feet (like people, bears, baboons, alligators and frogs) and ‘digitigrade’ creatures that walk on their toes (like dogs, cats, birds and dinosaurs). A biped is something with two feet (from the Latin ‘bi’, (two), and ‘ped’ (foot)).
- Butterflies taste with their feet, gannets incubate eggs under their webbed feet and elephants use their feet to hear they pick up vibrations of the earth through their soles.
- The word ‘pedigree’ is derived from the French phrase ‘pied de gru’, literally ‘the foot of a crane’, because the descent lines of family trees look like birds’ feet.
- Although centipedes have been extensively studied for more than a century, not one has ever been found that has exactly a hundred feet. Some have more, some less. The species which came closest to 100 was discovered in 1999. It had 96 legs, and is unique among centipedes in that it is the only known species with an even number of pairs of legs: forty-eight. All other centipedes have odd numbers of pairs of legs ranging between 15 and 191 pairs: that is, 30 and 382 legs.
- ‘Elvis foot’ is climber’s jargon for being so tired that your foot trembles on the rock (it is also known as ‘disco knee’).
Taking care of your foot is as important as caring for any other part of the body. With a few simple steps, you can avoid many common foot problems and live a healthy life.