Why is Foot Care Important?
Your feet are important! You wouldn't ignore a headache or backache that comes back day-after-day, would you? Unfortunately, that is how many people treat their feet. Thinking that it is normal or “bearable” to have a bit of soreness or foot pain each day. But what you may not realize is how a problem with your feet can lead to a more serious problem somewhere else.
Think of all the activities that would not be possible without your feet. Healthy feet allow you to be active and that has many benefits such as more easily maintaining a healthy weight, proper foot and body alignment, lowered risk of injury and a better sense of well-being.
People with diabetes are especially susceptible to foot-related issues because diabetes can restrict the blood flow to your feet and damage the nerves in them. By taking the proper care of your feet, you can avoid many health issues that left unchecked will cascade into larger problems. Managing your foot care is simple if you keep up with it, and you will be glad you did.
Simple Steps to Healthy Feet
Taking strides to better foot care is easy when you know what to do, here is a quick checklist of how to keep your feet happy and healthy:
- Examine your feet each day
- Wash and dry your feet daily
- Take care of your toenails
- Use proper footwear
- Protect your feet with shoes and socks, especially when you are active
These two steps can be combined because they both require a close look at your feet. Check the tops and bottoms of your feet, looking for dry skin, cracked skin, blisters, cuts, or other sores. Are there any areas that are tender to the touch or warmer than the other areas of your feet? Also look for ingrown toenails, corns, or blisters and if you have a blister- do not pop it! Apply a bandage and wear a different pair of shoes.
When you are ready to wash your feet use mild soaps and warm water when possible. Pat your skin dry and avoid rubbing them dry, which can cause excessive dryness or flaky skin. When you are done washing, use a gentle lotion on your feet to prevent cracking, find one that is non-greasy if possible. And you do not want to put lotion between your toes if you put socks on right away. The lack of air-flow may give bacteria a place to hide out and grow.
Take Care of Your Toenails
A large part of foot care is the maintaining of healthy toenails. Long toenails can press against the front of your shoes or catch on things and have painful side effects. If you do not trim them regularly, they can also catch infections or break. The best time to cut your toenails is shortly after bathing when they are soft.
Cut straight across and smooth with a nail file to avoid rough edges that can catch on things. Do not cut or press down your cuticles. Set up an appointment with a podiatrist to cut your toenails and check your feet if they are too thick or if you cannot reach them for regular maintenance. After an initial visit, many people can have someone help them at home with their feet.
Protect Your Feet With Shoes and Socks, Especially When You are active or Standing A Lot
There are many aspects to protecting your feet. Below is a list of things to consider in your daily routine and when selecting what to wear over your feet.
- Never go barefoot. Always protect your feet by wearing comfortable shoes, hard-soled slippers or specialty footwear
- Avoid shoes with high heels and pointed toes. ( They can create “hot spots” and metatarsalgia)
- Avoid shoes that expose your toes or heels (such as open-toed shoes or sandals). These types of shoes increase your risk for injury and potential infections
- Try on new footwear with the type of socks you usually wear. Bring a clean pair of your own socks with you to the store if necessary
- Do not wear new shoes for more than an hour or two at a time while you “break them in”
- Change your socks daily
- Look and feel inside your shoes before putting them on to make sure there are no foreign objects or rough areas
- Avoid tight socks
- Wear natural-fiber socks (cotton, wool, or a cotton-wool blend). These allow for good airflow and ventilation
- Wear special shoes, like ones made for plantar fasciitis or heel spurs if your physician recommends them
- Wear shoes or boots that will protect your feet from various weather conditions (cold, moisture, etc.)
- Make sure your shoes fit properly. If you have nerve damage (such as neuropathy) you may not notice that your shoes are too tight. Perform the "footwear test" described below
Before we get too caught up in specifics of finding a good shoe for your foot type, try this “footwear test” with your current shoe, or try it with a potential purchase at the store:
- Stand on a piece of paper with no shoe on. Make sure that you are standing and not sitting because your foot changes shape when you are sitting versus standing
- Trace your foot. Then put your shoe on the paper (over the tracing of your foot) and trace the outline of the sole of the shoe
- Now compare the two and see if the shoe is too narrow or short
Does it seem like your foot is crowded? The shoe should be at least a half-inch longer than your longest toe and as wide as your foot.
- Closed toed shoes without heels are always preferable as they will protect your feet and legs from the risk of injury
- Something with a stiff material outer sole and a leather upper (without a seam inside) will provide you with a sturdy shoe that will not chafe over time
- Of course you will want to find some shoes that can give you a good amount of arch support so that your foot can move naturally without taking too much impact
- And finally look for a pair that has enough space inside for your feet to move around. That means there should be at least half an inch of extra space at the end of your longest toe and the width cannot be too narrow for your foot, or you can run into a lot of issues
No matter which activity you are wanting to do in your life, KURU has a shoe for you that will give you the support, comfort and style that your feet have been craving.
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