Our feet are a body part we often don’t think about until we encounter issues. Whether you’ve been doing high-impact exercises or wearing high heels on the daily, you may find you need to visit a podiatrist if you start experiencing pain. But what can you do to ensure to prevent and avoid foot problems in the first place? Keep reading to find out great tips from podiatrists, and what they can do to help you if your foot problems persist.
1) Find the right fit
It is commonly thought that you need to “break in” your shoes before they are comfortable to wear. In reality, if a shoe is a right fit for you, it shouldn’t need to be broken in at all. Ensure that the shoes you buy leave 1cm of room for your biggest toe. Also bear in mind that your feet will swell somewhat throughout the day, meaning it’s smartest to shop for shoes in the afternoon to ensure that your new shoes will leave enough space for this natural occurrence.
2) Dress for the occasion
High heels should not be an everyday shoe, and neither are flip flops and sandals. Each put stress on your feet and do not provide support. Instead, wear comfortable flats on a daily basis, the appropriate sports shoe depending on what activity you are doing, and solid boots for hiking, camping and the like.
3) Clean and dry appropriately
Wash your feet daily in warm soapy water, but do not soak them for too long as this may disturb your skin’s natural oils. Dry your feet properly afterward, especially between the toes, where fungal infections tend to flourish. Afterward, moisturize your entire foot, except for between the toes. Use a pumice rock to smooth down calluses on the soles of your feet around once or twice a week, while making sure not to irritate your skin.
4) Clip carefully
Don’t cut the corners of your toe nails just to get a rounded shape. Always cut in a straight line using nail cutters, so as to avoid ingrown nails. To get a rounded shape, use a file or emery board in the corners instead.
5) Freshen up
Change your socks daily to ensure that your feet smell fresh and bacteria does not grow. Wear socks made from natural materials like wool and cotton, or socks that are specially made to absorb moisture if you have a particular issue with sweaty feet.
6) Hygiene first
Always wear thongs at pools, gym showers, and hotel bathrooms to ensure that you do not catch a fungal infection from these heavy foot-traffic areas.
7) Don’t go bare
During the summer, it is common to visit the corner store or beach barefoot. Some may even enjoy jogging barefoot. However, going barefoot exposes your feet to numerous dangers, like scalding hot concrete surfaces, broken glass on the path, and impact on your bones which can be damaging in the long run.
8) Protect your skin
We all know to apply sunscreen daily, particularly during the warmer months. Many of us, however, forget to protect our feet. Melanoma can affect your feet too, so always apply sunscreen when visiting the beach or wearing shoes that are not completely enclosed.
9) Try foot massages
Whether you are experiencing soreness or simply want to ensure the ongoing health of your feet, massages can be a great way of doing so. Foot massages will relax your muscles, improve circulation, strengthen your ankles and relieve pain. Use a massage oil to knead your feet with your thumbs, and pull your toes back and forth to stretch them out.
10) Examine yourself
Like with many other parts of your body, it is a good idea to regularly inspect your feet and toenails to check for any signs of discolouration, infections, fungus or other potential issues. A good time to do this is in the shower, where you can inspect any bruises, blisters or warts. Elderly and diabetic people, in particular, should get professionally examined every six months, as they are more prone to certain foot ailments.
If you are experiencing ongoing problems with your feet, it is time to seek help from a podiatrist. Whether you are suffering from warts, ingrown toenails, fungal infections or pain, podiatrists are able to professionally diagnose and treat your issues.
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