healthy feet it’s all about habits
For the most part, adjusting to the new routines, regulations and reforms of this global pandemic has been quite challenging and maybe for some, even frightening at times. But hopefully, if you are like me, these strange times have also been opportunity to reflect and ask yourself how you really want things to be. People all over the world are reassessing their work/life balance, their health, their relationships, and even their spirituality. It seems that time has given us the space to see what is important in life and what we wish to change.
What has it been for you? Maybe the government allowed, daily exercise has kickstarted a healthier lifestyle. Or the closure of non-essential stores has shown you that looking after those pennies really does look after the pounds. Or time to think has allowed to see more clearly the things that matter the most. Whatever it has been I hope that you have discovered that change and improvement is possible. Furthermore, that change can often happen with the smallest of adjustments, provided those adjustments become a habit.
This is exactly how I would love more people to be thinking about foot health; that small changes can often reap big rewards.
So often I hear clients say, ‘my feet are a lost cause’ or ‘there isn’t anything I can do’. The truth is there is plenty you can do to begin (or continue) to take care of those hard working feet. And your reward? - Happy, healthier toes and feet that will feel better, look better, and be able to work all the better, for it!
Here are a few good habits that might help to get your feet in tiptoe-top condition.
- Keep up to date with your shoe size and get your feet measured regularly; this could be an annual habit! This may sound like the strangest of suggestions, since most people believe feet measuring is a practice confined to childhood and synonymous with getting the new academic year's uniform. The fact is, whilst feet may not grow so much in length, the slackening of ligaments as our bodies get older, means that our feet often become wider (and in some cases longer) well into adulthood. One of the biggest causes of problem toenails and callus (hard skin) formation is a shoe that is too tight in terms of size or width. There are free printable pages available online so you don’t even need to go to a store to get checked. Just print out the page and DIY! A note for any runners/avid walkers amongst you. Did you know that during exercise feet swell with heat, increased blood flow, and fluid (sweat). This means the shoes that you exercise in should be AT LEAST one size bigger than your everyday shoe. Just be sure to tie the laces securely at the ankle eyelets to stop your foot sliding up and down the shoe. Furthermore, the ‘wiggle test’ is a good one to perform. Your toes should be free to wiggle without rubbing on the front lining of the toe box.
- Keep comfy and well supported! Even if the shoe fits, it doesn’t necessarily mean we should wear it. For the most part, try to keep your shoes sensible and comfortable. If you require insoles make sure you wear them in all your shoes. If you have plantar fasciitis, consider a heel lift that might bring some welcome relief. Pain is one of the bodies protective mechanisms. If your feet hurt, they are maybe trying to tell you something. If you need advice or help, speak to a care provider who can assess the issues and provide the help you need.
- Keep active! For some of us this will be a simple case of walking instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the lift, or keeping up with our daily exercise routines. For others, maybe if ill health has compromised your walking, it might mean thinking differently about how you can keep your feet and legs active. Try pointing your toes and drawing circles in a clockwise direction then reversing to anti-clockwise. It might mean stretching and relaxing your toes, or alternating between plantar flexing (pointing the toes toward the floor) and dorsiflexing (pointing the toes up and the heel down). Any exercise that involves moving the legs and feet helps to increase blood flow to that area. Better blood flow equals better overall foot health.
- Keep clean! Maintaining good foot hygiene is fundamental to good foot health. This is just a matter of washing the feet clean, but also drying the feet as well. Ensure feet are fully clean and dry - especially between the toes! Clean and well dried feet can thwart fungal infections and can even prevent soft corns and/or macerated skin from forming between the toes.
- Keep hydrated! For feet, staying hydrated means two things. 1. Drinking enough water to maintain good overall body hydration, and 2. Moisturising the feet - particularly if you have dry skin. The moisturiser you use doesn’t need to be anything fancy; a good over-the-counter emollient cream can work wonders if you add this practice into your daily routine.
- Keep in touch! Should there be anything at all foot related that you aren’t quite sure about, please feel free to get in touch. Corns and callus’ giving you problems? I can help. If you prefer to get help trimming toenails? Drop me a message. If I am unable to help, or your issue is outside of my remit, I will be more than happy to point you in the right direction of care. << contact me here >>
I hope to see some of you soon, when Leuchie House is back up and running it’s wonderful respite services once again. In the mean time, I think we can all agree that the ‘House’ and all it’s staff and volunteers have done an amazing job in supporting the NHS as they have endeavoured to keep Scotland healthy and well during this pandemic.