How to take good care of your feet

You use them every day for standing, walking, running and playing sports, so taking care of them should be a top priority. Because they are normally hidden away under socks and shoes, people often neglect them when it comes to their daily care and hygiene routine. Improper care of your feet can lead to odor problems, skin conditions, as well as a great deal of discomfort in the feet, ankles, and lower legs.

Choose comfortable footwear

Choosing the right shoes makes a big difference to the condition of your foot, and there are a number of factors to consider. Firstly, the shoe should fit correctly. This may seem obvious, but it can be tempting to go up or down half a size if the shop doesn't have your exact size in stock, but even this can make a difference. Shoes that are too big for you can cause common problems such as blisters, calluses and sore heels, and shoes that are too tight can lead to corns, ingrown toenails and hammertoe. Shoes should have proper heel and arch support or else they can cause pain in a number of areas of the body, not just the feet and ankles. Shoes with insufficient support cause postural problems, issues with the lower back, and joint pain in the knees and hips.

Limit your time wearing high heels

High heels may look good, but they can be a nightmare for your feet. That isn't to say you should stop wearing them entirely if they're a favorite of yours, but try not to wear them too often, and only when the occasion calls for it. For example, if you're going to be on your feet all day at work or walking outside a lot, a pair of flats would be more advisable. If you do wear high heels frequently, try to change up the size of the heel; alternate between your two and three inches heels for work, for example, and try to save the six-inch pair only for special occasions.

Wash your feet daily

Our feet sweat more than the rest of our body and spend most of the day cooped up inside socks and shoes, so they don't get much room to breathe. Because of this, you should focus on including a daily foot washing routine to prevent discomfort and foot odor. You only have to wash your feet with soap and warm water, when you're in the shower or you can wash them under a faucet. Pay special attention to the areas between your toes, as this is especially suited for the growth of bacteria. Don't soak your feet in warm water for extended periods of time; this can dry out your skin and destroy its natural oils.

Keep feet dry

After you shower or wash your feet, make sure you dry them thoroughly. Again, focus and ensure that the skin between your toes is dry. Talcum powder or cornstarch can be used to absorb any excess moisture. Change your socks whenever they become damp from sweat or if they get wet, because damp socks cause moisture to continuously surround your feet. If your shoes get wet, remove them, dry your feet, and stuff your shoes with newspaper to absorb the moisture. After this step, leave them to dry out before wearing them again. It may also be wise to get into the habit of wearing different shoes everyday. Even having just two pairs of shoes that you can wear on alternate days is a good practice because it allows your shoes to properly air out and can benefit the condition of your feet.

Moisturize your feet

Moisturizing the feet is another good practice to keep them in good condition. Doing this regularly, every day ideally, will prevent skin from becoming dry and cracked, which can be a problem if you wear sandals a lot. If the skin on the edges of the heel becomes particularly dry from walking barefoot or wearing sandals in dry climates, heel fissures can develop. Heel fissures are deep cracks that can be very painful. Moisturize the soles and the top of your feet, but avoid getting any lotion in between the toes, for reasons we've already discussed. After applying the moisturizer, give your feet a few minutes in the air to allow the skin to wick away some of the moisture. For the best results, apply lotion at night and then, after a few minutes wear a clean pair of cotton socks to bed. This will stop the lotion from dirtying your sheets, and will leave your feet feeling nice and soft in the morning.

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