Healthy feet are an important part of a healthy body. When one’s feet are not in good health, many problems can occur to a person as a whole. Poor foot health can lead to foot pain, which can lead to inactivity, weight gain, and loss of income from being unable to function at work. This article presents five simple steps to keep one’s feet in top shape.
1. Wash and dry all of parts the foot regularly
Hygiene is important, no matter what part of the body is involved. Clean skin feels better, looks better, and more importantly harbors less bacteria and fungus. These microscopic organisms are naturally found on the skin, especially foot skin where the warm, dark, moist environment of a foot encased in a shoe allows organisms to thrive. Even if they are not actively infecting the foot, these organisms can colonize the skin surface and wait their turn for a break in the skin to allow them entry. Regular bathing of the feet, especially in between the toes, removes dirt, debris, excess skin, and other material that bacteria and fungus can thrive on. This leaves the skin softer, smoother, and more able to function properly as a barrier from the outside and as a walking surface.
2. Keep feet well moisturized
Foot skin is an amazing organ unto itself. Composed of millions of cells that pad and protect the place where the body meets the earth, one’s foot skin has a vital role in keeping bad things out, and allowing a smooth surface upon which to walk. Keeping it clean is often not enough. The skin needs to stay well moisturized to stay healthy. The sweat glands of the feet keep this moisturization intact, in addition to helping to regulate ones body temperature. Dry skin occurs when these glands do not function as well. This often occurs during the winter, when colder temperatures prompt the body to keep its heat more internal and release less sweat. Other factors, such as genetic conditions and diseases like diabetes, can have a similar effect on the sweat glands. What results is skin that becomes dry, flaky, cracked, and itchy. The problems lies in that skin of this type is more likely to allow fungus, bacteria, and even a wart virus to enter the body. Athlete’s foot, bacterial infections, and warts are all introduced into the skin via cracks or breaks in the skin’s smoothness. By keeping the feet well moisturized, one can limit the occurrence of these common foot infections, and can also limit the development of the dreaded cracked heel, which is a source of significant pain for millions of Americans during the cold winter months.
3. Wear properly fitting shoes
Although this goes without saying, properly fitting shoes are a necessity. It is far too common that people are wearing the wrong size and style of shoe for their foot type. It is very important to wear the proper size shoe, and is equally important to be correctly sized every now and then. Over time, certain people can vary in their foot width, and the size one was measured with twenty years ago may not be so accurate today. Another factor needing to be considered is that shoe styles vary slightly with the actual size they claim. Shoe sizes are a suggestion, not a scientific law, and proper in-store fitting must be done to ensure an accurate fit. A size 8 shoe in one brand may actually be closer to 8 1/2 in another. When self-fitting, it is important to keep in mind that length and width are two separate measurements. If a certain size shoe feels too narrow, one should not go up a half-size to get better width. This can lead to a pistoning motion of the foot in the shoe, eventually irritating the toes. Manufacturers make differing widths of the same shoe size for a reason: if one’s store does not offer a variety of widths in the same size, then one should shop elsewhere. Finally, shoe styles need to match one’s foot type. Flat feet should not be in pointed, narrow shoes, as these feet tend to widen by the toes. High arched feet, with greater pressure to the ball of the foot, should avoid higher heeled shoes, as these shoes increase the pressure to the ball of the feet even further. This ultimately will lead to inflammation of joints in this part of the foot, and cause pain.