Total body health includes taking care of your feet too!
If you think your feet are not important… THINK AGAIN! The feet need care too. This vital part of the body helps us get around by walking, running, jumping, and much more! Feet can be a mirror to our general health and there are many conditions that could affect our feet, including bone anomalies, structural alignment issues, problems with gait, flat feet, corns, calluses, skin thickness, and others.
Other statistics we should know about feet include the fact that 75% of Americans will be experiencing problems with their feet at least one time during their lives. Such statistics could be similar in other parts of the world too.
For certain health concerns such as diabetes, foot care becomes even more critical and there should be sufficient attention paid to foot health to prevent drastic outcomes. For everyone, taking care of your feet is a no-brainer and something we SHOULD all be doing! Other problems that people develop can also be traced back to problems with their feet. Do you know that in your lifetime, if you add up the amount of walking you’ve done, you’d have walked around the world up to five times! This is about 115,000 miles during a person’s lifetime. So, let’s consider 7 keys to foot health. The MORE we all know about our foot health, the better off we’ll ALL be.
#1 – Know Your Feet.
First, we need to know our feet!
We NEED to understand the type of feet we have. For example, do you have flat feet?
Have you have had foot problems in the past?
When a child is born, he or she has flat feet because the foot of an infant is still developing. However, for some adults, this condition may persist and create occasions for clumsiness or tiredness when using the feet for prolonged periods of time. If you do not have a fully developed foot arch, you NEED shoes that provide arch support. You can create excessive strains and pressure on your feet when you increase certain activities. Knowing more about your feet and how you could affect ligaments such as the plantar fascia ligament around the heel area could help you avoid foot problems.
#2 – Buying the Right Shoes
Another key for successful foot health is to buy the right shoes. Once you identify what your feet need, consider buying shoes that provide the RIGHT fit for your feet. Your feet can expand and contract based on the time of day. At the end of the day, feet tend to be at their largest size. Hence, when attempting to buy shoes that fit properly, you may want to consider this and not buy shoes in the morning.
Certain types of shoes can also create foot conditions that I’m sure you’d rather do without. An example is bunions, which are quite prevalent in women who wear pointy shoes. The abnormal pressure that the WRONG shoe place on the feet gives rise to painful spots on the feet too. There are 26 bones and lots of joints in the human foot and you want to ensure that you find shoes that give your feet room to breathe and move. When shoes do not fit properly, this can cause about 80% of the problems people have with their feet.
#3 – Love the Low Heels!
Are you a high-heeled shoe fan?
If yes, you may want to embrace a low-heeled shoe lifestyle instead. Look at your feet in their NATURAL state. It sits low on the ground. This lowness and lack of stretching as seen with high-heeled shoes minimize the risk of harming the metatarsal bones. If high-heeled shoes must be used, it is recommended that no more than 2 inches high is attempted. If you are using low shoes, you are doing your feet a favor and contributing immensely to your FOOT HEALTH!
Bunions are also common in high-heeled shoe wearers because of the pressure exerted on the feet. Apart from bunions, high-heeled or poorly fitting shoes can also create a deformity known as hammertoe in which a toe is bent due to shoes that just do not fit properly. With the wrong shoes, a person could also suffer from metatarsalgia, which is a pain in the ball of the foot.
#4 – Let Your Feet Breathe.
Sometimes, we simply do not give our feet a break. YOUR FEET needs to breathe. We find ourselves in many types of places including the gym, damp areas, and also in damp clothing sometimes. We should also exercise CAUTION, though. Despite the desire to have feet breathe, shoes like flip flops which provide wide-open spaces for the feet are actually considered one of the worst shoes a person can wear. Yes … at the beach or near water, flip flops do come in handy. Hence, in these environments, flip-flops may be the more reasonable solution. However, for long-term wear, seek other shoes with better support. Also, feet have sweat glands, but this does not cause foot odor. Instead, foot odor is caused by bacteria.
#5 – Keep your Feet Active.
There are stretching exercises that can be used to ensure that your feet remain in great shape. If we don’t use our feet as we should or if our feet begin to suffer from inflammation, we may notice the onset of arthritis. This has also been referred to as an acute gout attack and such an attack could affect other joints of the body like the knees and fingers. Walking can help to prolong your life. It’s great for your heart and some cardiovascular activity is recommended for general health. However, beware of over-activity TOO, which could lead to INFLAMMATION and conditions like PLANTAR FASCIITIS. Exercise routines could be used to tackle foot ailments such as plantar fasciitis, and these exercises may eliminate the need for costly medical interventions such as surgery, drugs, and medical devices.
#6 – Other Conditions Affect Foot Health.
There are medical conditions such as diabetes that can adversely affect a person’s feet if sufficient care is not taken. Improper care, especially when a person is diabetic, for example, could lead to the amputation of the feet or the entire leg. YES, this is quite serious!!! Hence, it is imperative that we know how other medical conditions could be directly related to foot health. With conditions such as diabetes, a person has a certain level of vulnerability to foot problems. VIGILANCE to foot health is ESSENTIAL!!!
#7 – Throw Out Old, Worn Shoes.
If you have shoes that are old and worn, you should throw these shoes OUT.
Also, please note that you can have new shoes that have aged and become LESS IDEAL to wear such as shoes sitting on a shoe shelf somewhere with shoe glue drying out or shoes with air pocket cushions dissipating. Another thing to watch out for regarding your foot health care… SALES! SALES!! SALES!!! Yes, you’ll often find that these types of sales may include some shoes that are ultimately not good for your feet.
So, a good question to ask is: How long has the store had these shoes? Hmmm … perhaps the store clerk may not tell you this, but it’s good to consider just how “new” those shoes really are. Athletic shoes typically last up to 500 miles. If you’re actively using your shoes, consider changing shoes every 6 months or so. You could also recycle old or worn shoes rather than throwing such shoes in the trash.
Taking care of our feet involves being mindful of different aspects related to the health of our feet and what we wear on our feet. If you do want to wear high heels, anything over 2 inches can be linked to problems associated with the feet. Heel pain is the most popular type of foot pain, while bunions are more likely found in women than in men.
Wearing shoes can help protect the feet! However, we need shoes that provide adequate support and footwear that protects us from becoming infected with fungus, which causes conditions like athlete’s foot. Viruses could also infect the feet and cause conditions like plantar warts. Other conditions that affect the feet include arthritic gout which is a swollen toe, calluses, and corns caused by thickened skin and in-grown toenails caused by cutting nails too short.
Use the tips in this article to help keep your feet happy and healthy!
Rick Kaselj, MS
If you want to learn more about Plantar Fasciitis and how to treat it, click here to check out Plantar Fasciitis Relief in 7 Days.