When it comes to health, the feet often get neglected. They’re so far away from your head and your heart, it’s easy to forget about them. That is until something goes wrong.
Many serious health issues start in the feet, so it’s absolutely worth the time and effort required to keep them in good shape. Follow these five tips to stay on top of your feet and make sure they can continue to carry you through your life.
1. Wear Shoes That Fit Properly
If you frequently wear shoes that are too tight, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of long-term foot issues, including:
- Ingrown toenails
- Nerve damage (in diabetics)
To avoid these issues, make sure your shoes fit properly. Keep these guidelines in mind when you’re shopping for new shoes:
- Wear the same socks you’ll wear with the shoes
- Make sure they don’t feel tight or cramped while standing
- Avoid pointy-toed shoes
- Look for leather shoes or ones made with mesh fabrics to increase breathability and keep feet dry
- Shop at the end of the day since feet tend to swell throughout the day
2. Keep Your Feet Clean
One of the best ways you can take care of your feet is to make sure you’re cleaning them regularly. Use a foot scrubber and wash them thoroughly with soap and water every time you shower.
Don’t forget to dry your feet well, too. If you’re walking around with moist feet, you’re increasing your chances of fungal growth.
Dry your feet with a towel before putting on shoes or socks, and don’t forget to dry in between each toe. If you don’t have to go anywhere right after you shower, you can also stay barefoot and let your feet air dry.
3. Examine Them Regularly
Once a week, spend a few minutes examining your feet for any potentially problematic issues. Look for scaling on the soles or peeling between the toes. This is a common sign of athlete’s foot.
Don’t forget to look for nail discoloration or thickness — this could be a sign of a fungal infection.
If you’re diabetic, you should be examining your feet on a daily basis. This is because diabetics have a higher risk of developing foot sores and infections.
4. Care for Your Toenails
To avoid ingrown toenails, make sure you’re cutting your nails straight across, rather than rounding the corners. This makes it easier for the nail to grow downward and into the skin.
It’s also important to pay attention to the appearance of your toenails and avoid hiding discolorations or cracks with polish. Covering up these problems with polish can encourage fungal growth or help infections spread.
As soon as you notice any changes in your nails, head to the doctor to rule out infections or other issues.
5. Don’t Share Shoes or Pedicure Products
Fungal infections can easily be spread by wearing someone else’s shoes or socks. No matter how much you like or trust your friends, it’s best to keep your shoes to yourself so you don’t risk catching or spreading any kind of infection.
Rental shoes or skates from a bowling alley or skating rink can also be breeding grounds for all kinds of infections, even if they’re sprayed down with a disinfecting spray. Bring your own shoes or skates if possible to keep your feet healthy, especially if you’re someone who’s prone to infection.
If you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle, don’t neglect your feet. Keep them healthy and free from infections or other unpleasant conditions by following these five tips.