Keeping your feet healthy is a key aspect of overall good health. Taking care of your feet protects you against general pain and discomfort and can also prevent conditions like decreased circulation, brittle bones, and arthritis, which tend to manifest in your feet and ankles.
The Basics ---
- Staying in good physical shape and checking your feet regularly for telltale signs of neglect are primary factors in keeping your feet healthy.
- With just a few minor changes to your regular bathroom regimen and our tried-and-tested foot care tips, you can take control of your foot care at home.
- Investing in good quality shoes that fit correctly and have plenty of support is essential, as is limiting time spent wearing high-heeled shoes.
- If you're currently suffering from common foot conditions, consider Tread labs Pace insoles. They offer extra-firm support and are available in four arch heights for a semi-custom fit.
What you need to know ---
There are 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles, and over 8000 nerves in your feet. So it's little wonder that 75% of Americans will experience foot health problems at some point in their lives without proper care.
The good news is that taking care of feet needn't be time-consuming or involve hours spent in costly salons. With just a few simple supplies and a little effort, you can significantly improve your general foot care.
How to Take Care of Your Feet
Feet may come in all shapes and sizes, but the principles of healthy foot care are the same for everyone. Keep your feet comfortable and in the best condition by following these best practices and recommendations.
Stay Physically Fit
While it may not seem like an obvious connection, staying physically active is one of our top healthy feet tips. Being overweight puts greater pressure on your feet with every step you take, increasing your potential for pain and discomfort. It also increases the risk of developing conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and poor circulation, leading to further foot pain and even loss of sensation. Plus, like any other muscles in your body, your feet muscles need regular exercise to stay strong.
However, you don't have to be a marathon runner to have healthy feet. An easy walk is an excellent exercise for your foot muscles, and there are also some simple exercises you can do without even leaving the house. Examples include:
- Toe raises, splays, and curls
- Toe stretches
- Legs-up-the-wall yoga poses
- Tennis ball rolls
- Marble pick-ups
- Achilles tendon stretches
Keep Your Feet Happy
For the happiest feet, self-care is a must. You should examine your feet regularly (when you are getting in or out of the shower is usually a great time) for bruises, cuts, swelling, sores, or skin irritations. If you notice something unusual that doesn't heal on its own within a few days, contact your primary care provider for a consult.
Pampering yourself every now and then is also an excellent method of taking care of feet. So if you want to splurge on a regular foot massage or reflexology session, go for it. Otherwise, an at-home vinegar foot soak is often just as effective for soothing pain and irritation.
Invest in Good Quality Shoes
We've all heard the saying 'but cheap, buy twice,' and rarely is this phrase more fitting (pun intended!) than when discussing shoes. Cheap shoes made of inferior materials are much less likely to be comfortable. Particularly if you're the kind of person who spends lots of time on their feet, it's worth paying a little more for a pair that offer comfort, support, and longevity.
You should also consider the activities you plan to do and invest in the right pair of shoes for each. For example, running shoes are different from walking shoes or sneakers for court sports. Likewise, field sports like soccer, basketball, and lacrosse all require different types of shoes.
Find The Right Fit
Taking care of your feet includes avoiding shoes that are too big or too tight, leading to blisters, bunions, sores, rubbing, and other forms of skin irritation. There's usually considerable variance between manufacturers when it comes to sizing. So instead of relying on the size label, be sure to try on shoes every time you make a purchase. To find the perfect shoe, we recommend you:
- Always try shoes on while standing up.
- Wear the same socks you intend to wear with each pair you try.
- Make sure the ball of your foot fits comfortably in the widest part of the shoe.
- Ensure adequate space at the front and back.
- Test walk on various surfaces.
Another essential consideration for taking care of feet is ensuring your arches are supported, including adding arch support insoles for increased support and cushioning. Tread Lab insoles provide options for people with ultra-high arches, flat feet, and everything in between.
Inspect Your Shoes Regularly
Even the most hardwearing shoe will need replacing after continued wear. It's a good idea to inspect your shoes and boots regularly to look for:
- Softening of the soles
- Worn out treads
- Damage to toe boxes
- Exposed nails under the heel
- Loose or broken straps
How often you replace your shoes will depend on how often you use them, and what surface you run or walk on. Experts recommend replacing running shoes every 300-500 miles and more lightweight shoes every 250-300 miles.
Skip Wearing Heels
We're aware that suggesting you stop wearing heels outright would be a losing battle. However, the more you wear heels, you're more likely to encounter toe pressure, heel pain, arch strain, and sprained ankles. Plus, the chain reaction caused by changing your posture when wearing heels can lead to knee, hip, and back problems. Wearing heels long-term can also cause your Achilles tendon to shorten, which can be linked to plantar fasciitis and tendonitis.
To minimize problems and take care of your feet simultaneously, experts advise opting for a broader heel that distributes your weight across a larger surface area. Keeping your killer heels for times when you're stationary and kicking them off in favor of a pair of pumps or lower-heeled shoes when you need to walk anywhere is also recommended.
General Foot Care and Hygiene
There are many ways you can improve your foot care at home. These are our top foot care tips for healthy, happy feet.
- Wash your feet daily to remove dirt and bacteria.
- Always dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes where fungus is most likely to build up.
- Moisturize your feet regularly to keep skin soft and avoid cracking.
- Use a pumice stone and skin softeners rather than chemical peels to remove dry skin, calluses, and corns.
- Always remove toenail polish with non-acetone polish remover
- Cut your toenails every few weeks. Trim straight across the nail to avoid ingrown nails.
- Wear clean socks every day.
- Rotate your shoes to help them dry out before the next wear.
- Never share shoes or pedicure equipment.
- If you can't resist the urge to pop a blister, leave the 'roof' on and cover with a topical antiseptic and Band-Aid.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
If you have foot pain or discomfort, it's a good idea to book an appointment with a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis. Ask about insoles and whether the extra-firm support provided by a pair of quality Tread insoles might be right for your foot conditions.
However, for many common foot conditions, the extra-firm support provided by a quality pair of insoles may be all you need to avoid discomfort. At Tread Labs, we specialize in arch support insoles and insole kits for walking, running, and everyday wear. Tread Labs Pace Insoles are particularly practical for everyday wear and are available in four arch heights for a semi-custom fit. With insoles that accurately fit the contours of your feet combined with the medical-grade structure you need to support your arches, you'll benefit from improved alignment and enjoy long-term pain relief.