There’s a lot of advice out there for keeping your body healthy, from your eyes and teeth, to your heart and brain. But what about your feet? Neglecting them can lead to pain, infection and other problems, which may reduce your mobility and independence. With this in mind, it might be time to put your feet first.
1. Examine feet regularly
Tacked on the ends of our legs, feet can be easy to ignore, but they deserve as much attention as your other body parts. About once per week, briefly examine your feet, checking for nail discolouration and skin abnormalities, especially between your toes and on your soles.
2. Cut toenails carefully
Painful ingrown toenails can occur when you trim too close to the skin or when you deeply round-off the corners of the nails. Instead, always cut straight across, ideally after a shower or bath, when the nails will be softer and easier to cut.
3. Keep feet clean and dry
Good hygiene is vital for healthy feet. When you shower, be sure to scrub feet with warm soapy water. Afterwards, it’s important to dry your feet (and between your toes) thoroughly, as fungal organisms thrive on moisture and can lead to infections.
4. Don’t gloss over ‘ugly’ toenails
Hiding unsightly toenails with polish is unadvisable, as it can exacerbate any conditions you may have. Discoloured, thick, cracked or crumbling nails can be a sign of nail fungus. It’s best to consult your doctor if you’re concerned about your toenails.
5. Protect feet in public
Always wear shoes when you’re in a public area to help prevent accidental injuries. Public gyms, locker rooms and swimming pools are breeding grounds for fungi, so be sure to wear thongs or shower shoes at all times.
6. Wear responsible footwear
To help keep feet free of moisture, wear shoes made of breathable materials, such as leather or mesh. To protect bones and ligaments, wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Podiatrists recommend wearing shoes with a broad, rounded toe and a wide, stable heel. High-heels have been known to cause long-term foot problems, so wear them sparingly or avoid altogether.
7. Choose good socks
When it comes to socks, synthetic fibres (rather than cotton or wool) help to absorb moisture to help keep feet dry and healthy.