Make sure your feet are in optimal health throughout the entire year by practicing these five great ways to care for your feet.
1. Allow your feet to breathe
Giving your feet room to breathe can help prevent your feet from becoming sweaty and moist, which can increase your risk for fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. When you’re relaxing at home, take off your socks and shoes if you plan on keeping your feet propped up, and wear open-toed sandals in warm and hot temperatures. If you wear shoes all day long and and usually stay active, wear moisture-wicking socks or cotton socks, both of which could help your feet breathe more efficiently, based on your personal preferences.
Avoid walking around barefoot, especially if you’re diabetic. Diabetic neuropathy is common among people with diabetes, and many people aren’t aware they suffer from the condition until they get an injury.
2. Treat heel pain immediately
Most people who suffer from heel pain have plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation of the band of connective tissue that supports the arch of your feet and extends to the heel. Once you develop plantar fasciitis, your pain will grow worse over time when left untreated. Make an appointment with your podiatrist and treat heel pain immediately to prevent your foot health from worsening. In most cases, plantar fasciitis can be prevented by wearing shoes with good stability and arch support, and can be treated with procedures such as plantar fascial release.
3. Wear comfortable, sensible shoes
Some shoes may look great on the rack at the store, but if they’re not comfortable, your foot health will suffer down the road. For example, high heels can put excess pressure on the balls of your feet and affect the natural padding on the bottom of each foot. Certain styles of sandals and flip-flops will require you to grip the shoes with your toes to keep them on, which can result in inflammation in the tendons of your toes, also known as tendinitis.
When shopping for shoes, press your finger inside the shoe to see if the material on the arch and ball of the foot springs back. Make sure shoes also feature thick padding and have shock absorbers. Try wearing shoes with thick heels to better distribute your weight, and wear shoes made from breathable leather instead of plastic.
4. Stay away from contaminated water
Exposing your feet to dirty, contaminated water can increase your risk for fungal and bacterial infections. Always wear flip-flops or sandals in the locker room, at the pool, at the gym, and at nail salons. If you often get pedicures, schedule an appointment early in the morning to lower your exposure to dirty water, and if you’re diabetic, make an appointment with your foot doctor instead, who can take proper care of your feet based on your condition.
5. Take the right precautions in the wild
Taking care of your feet when you’re spending time outdoors in the wild is important, and can help prevent blisters and foot injuries. If you enjoy camping and going on hikes, only wear cushioned, comfortable footwear with socks, even in hot temperatures. Don’t pop blisters that may form — protect them with cushioning instead, and apply antibiotic cream and a clean bandage, if accessible. Also, take the time to break in new hiking boots and footwear prior to wearing them outdoors.
Are you living with foot pain and need help caring for your feet? Call Kansas City Foot Specialists to schedule an evaluation at (913) 338-4440, or request an appointment online so we can determine the cause of your injury and get you back on your feet.