why you should take care of your feet

Are you looking for Why You Should Take Care Of Your Feet? Read through for how to take care of your feet. The article contains the benefits of foot care. You will also find the health benefits of washing your feet in the post.

We are careful to take care of most parts of our bodies, from the essential care of our hearts, muscles and joints to the more superficial hair and nail care. However, many people tend to neglect their feet. This issue can become severe when problems with your feet significantly impact your quality of life, and lead to further health concerns.

As people get older, the likelihood of developing a foot condition increases. According to Health in Aging, “One in three people over the age of 65 has foot pain, stiffness or aching feet.” This rate worsens in residents of long-term care facilities. However, practicing proper foot care techniques will ease discomfort and bring positive results regardless of age or current health status. Keep reading to learn valuable information about foot care, foot conditions and why taking a little time each week to care for your feet will make a massive difference in the long run.

health benefits of washing your feet

Why You Should Take Care Of Your Feet

Feet are your body’s foundation, so keeping them healthy is vital to your overall health. Years of wear and tear can be hard on your feet. Overuse, shoes that don’t fit properly and even genetics can lead to injuries and disorders of the foot that can greatly impact your mobility. Aside from some foot issues becoming incredibly painful, they can also make you more susceptible to accidents. You risk falling if foot issues persist. Walking awkwardly to avoid that pain sets you off-balance and heightens your risk of hurting yourself further.

Caring for the skin on your feet is also important. Your heels are not meant to feel rough and dry. The longer this issue persists, the more likely it is that your feet will begin to crack. Although some cracks are not painful, they still allow harmful bacteria in. If left untreated for a long time, the healing process will also take a while.

The importance of proper footwear

The wrong shoe can also cause serious damage to your feet. People who wear high heels are probably keenly familiar with the feeling of pinched toes, pain radiating from the balls of their feet and aching arches after a long period of wearing such shoes. However, other shoes can still cause these sensations if not correctly fitted to the individual’s foot.

Those who will be on their feet all day need to have shoes with proper cushioning and traction. Gel inserts are highly recommended, and you should always try to take breaks to rest their feet periodically throughout the day. Most athletic shoe stores, like Fleet Feet, offer foot measuring to find the ideal size and shoe for your foot. Custom orthotics are molded specifically to your foot and can be used to address a variety of orthopedic issues.

Foot conditions

Athlete’s foot is not the only threat to foot health, but it is incredibly prevalent. However, it is easy to prevent. Fungal infections like athlete’s foot or infected toenails are easily contracted through sweaty feet that are left to sit in shoes or socks for long periods. If you are in a situation where you know that your feet will be sweating, make sure to change your socks as soon as possible once you finish your activities. Also, consider wearing socks made of moisture-wicking material.

Another common foot condition is Achilles tendinitis, a condition that affects the Achilles tendon that connects the muscles in the back of your calf to your heel bone. Read our blog, Everything You Need to Know About Achilles Tendinitis, to learn more about this condition.

Other foot conditions include:

  • Hallux balgus (bunions)
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Foot or ankle sprains
  • Ankle instability
  • Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction
  • Achilles tendonitis syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Stress fractures
  • Arthritis

how to take care of your feet

With all these threats to the health of your feet, how should you care for them? First of all, make sure to wash your feet often, taking care to clean between your toes and trim your toenails. You should also use lotion on your heels to prevent cracked skin. If your heels are already dry, consider using a pumice stone lightly. It is also essential to make sure your shoes fit properly, neither too tight or too loose. Stretching and strengthening your feet is also critical when it comes to avoiding pain and injury. Always modify your activity or rest if you begin to notice foot pain. 

Caring For Your Toenails

Caring for your toenails is just as important as caring for your fingernails.  Whilst they might not be as immediately visible well cared for toenails make your feet more comfortable and prevent problems such as fungal nail infections.

Caring For Your Cuticles

Some aspects of caring for your toenails are very obvious, such as cutting them properly, others are less so.  The duticles on your toenails need just as much care as those on your fingernails. There is a temptation to just cut them away, this is not a good idea – better to leave them untouched.  Just as you would with your fingers, apply a good cuticle cream or foot cream and when they have softened push them gently back with a properly shaped stick. Don’t push them back too hard or too far or you can cause them to tear which can lead to infections.

Cutting Your Toenails

Nails should be cut straight across using well maintained sharp clippers.  The best time to clip them is when the nails are softer as they are following a bath or foot soak.  If you want them to be slightly curved then you should gently round off the edges using an emery board, but always cut straight and finish with an emery board. 

If you have difficulty cutting your toenails, or you have underlying foot conditions or fungal infection, it is better to have your nails cut by a Podiatrist.  Incorrect cutting will cause further problems which can be very painful.

How Long Should Toenails Be?

Ideally you should leave 1-2 millimetres of nail when you clip them.  Nails grow at around 2mm per month so cutting them every 4 – 8 weeks is ideal.  It can be difficult to trim your toenails properly.

Using Nail Polish

If you use nail polish then make sure you clean off the old polish properly using a gently remover, preferably without acetone which can be very drying for the nails.  Some nail polishes do stain toenails if they are left on for too long and cause discolouration. This is not harmful but can be a little unsightly. However you should let your toenails have a breather every now and then.  Ideally leave them free of polish for at least a week every now and then. This allows the nail to breathe and recover from the chemicals in the polish.

Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus, which causes a thickening of the nails, is surprisingly common.  If you have this it is best to get it treated by your Podiatrist. Whilst there are over the counter treatments, most fungal infections are bedded deeply into the nail and need to be professionally treated.  Cutting nails that have a fungal infection is also not easy to do yourself and may cause further damage to the nail so is best done by a professional.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are often the result of poor trimming of your toenails.  Cutting them too short is one of the most common causes and can be extremely painful.  The nail can cut into the side of the nail bed causing infections which can be very dangerous for people with underlying conditions such as Diabetes.

Looking after your toenails does not take much effort but will reward you with feet that both look and feel good.

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