As a former ballet dancer, I know from healthy feet. At 42, I haven’t been on my toes for 7 years now. I suddenly felt an urge to put on my old pointe shoes. Warning: Don’t do this. My feet are too soft and happy to be stuffed into a too small shoe made stiff from paste and glue. But it got me to thinking: I feel better when my feet are happy.
Your feet do more than hold you up every day. They are barometers of what’s going on inside your body. Diabetics often are diagnosed after having sores on their feet that don’t heal. Blisters and bunions tell us that our shoes are too tight and ill fitting. Purple toes… well they can be indicative of poor circulation or a condition known as Pernio, or Chilblains, which I have. Yes, dead man’s toes in the cold months. Beautifully pink toes the rest of the year.
How can we keep our feet healthy? First of all, look at them. Study your foot every day. Are you noticing changes in color, texture, or sensation? Any serious changes should probably be referred first to a podiatrist. They will determine if you need to see other specialists.
How do your toes feel? Tingly? Stiff? Rough around the edges? Again, see your podiatrist if you fear any real issues, but most issues can be dealt with on your own. A little buffing and moisturizer, and maybe a good foot massage, can be just the things to keep your feet refreshed.
It’s important that we keep our feet mobile and strong especially as we age. We’ve often heard older people complain of foot pain. Well, our feet put up with a lot of abuse! Multiply that by 80 years and your feet will hurt too.
Exercises for the foot are simple and can be done at home without professional guidance. Try this for foot mobility, strength and some foot pain relief:
o Place a towel lengthwise on the floor. With your toes, grab and release the towel until you’ve gathered up the whole towel. Spread the towel out and repeat with the other foot.
o Now try writing the alphabet in the air with your toes holding onto the towel. Repeat with both feet.
Healthy feet will make you happy, and happy feet will surely make you feel better. Pay some attention to your tootsies and they will support you for years to come.