Practical reminders, common sense approaches and clever solutions to avoid everyday challenges and live your best life.
We have many senses to experience the world around us: sight, hearing, taste and so on. But did you ever consider your feet to be a sensory organ? We sense the ground beneath us through our feet. They support us and carry us through the world, so they deserve special care. When your feet are happy, the structure of your entire body is happy. Follow these simple steps to keep your feet healthy.
Wear the Right Shoes
You've undoubtedly heard many stories about discomfort caused by poorly fitting shoes. Years of wearing improper footwear can lead to or exacerbate many foot problems, including:
- Foot deformities like bunions and hammertoes
- Corns and calluses
- Ingrown toenails
- Foot pain from conditions like plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, neuromas (painful nerve enlargements) and tendonitis
It's not just your feet that suffer from shoes that don't fit. Poor fit leads to poor support, which in turn can lead to poor posture. What happens in your feet can resonate upward through your legs and torso, so it's no surprise that a lot of muscle and joint pain, back pain and even neck pain can be related to shoe fit.
How to Choose Shoes
Your shoes must have enough room for your toes to move freely. Good heel and arch support are also a must. Unfortunately, most of the features of high fashion shoes (i.e. stiletto heels, pointy toes) don't meet these requirements. That doesn't mean you can never wear these type of shoes. Just limit the amount of time you wear them, and rotate your shoes so you aren't constantly in the same pair. Also consider using insoles designed specifically for the structure of your foot and the type of shoe (there are even supportive insoles made for high-heeled shoes). Another tip: when shopping for new shoes, do so at the end of the day because your feet typically swell slightly by afternoon.
Shop the shoes pictured above here.
People who participate in sporting activities are already familiar with the wide-ranging choice of athletic footwear. If you engage in one or two activities regularly, such as running, hiking or playing basketball, be sure you wear shoes and insoles specifically designed for your sport. You will save yourself a world of foot trouble.
And if you choose to wear flip flops on a daily basis (we’re looking at you, California), be sure they too are the style of sandals with ample shape and support.
How to Take Care of Your Feet
Wearing shoes keeps your feet protected and warm, but that also means they're susceptible to bacterial and fungal growth like toenail infections and athlete's foot. Your feet have hundreds of thousand of sweat glands; all that perspiration and warmth creates a perfect environment for infections to multiply.
Take these steps to ward off nasty fungi:
- Clean your feet thoroughly and be sure they are completely dry, especially between the toes, before you put on socks and footwear.
- If you have particularly sweaty feet, use foot powder and change your socks several times a day. This should also help control foot odor.
- Choose socks and shoes that let your feet breathe. Look for socks made of synthetic fibers that wick moisture away and shoes made of leather, canvas or mesh.
- Anytime you use a gym, locker room or public pool, wear shower shoes to avoid picking up a fungal or bacterial infection.
- Don't share footwear, especially rentals.
The two most important things you can do to make your feet happy are to wear shoes and insoles that support and fit properly, and to keep your feet clean and dry. Such simple things with the potential result of a lifetime of happy, healthy feet. Worth it? Absolutely!