Our feet take a beating and often get ignored. Those two little things at the base of our bodies get crunched into awful shoes, are required to run, dance, walk and hold up the weight of our entire body each day. We rarely think much about them, but they have a big job, so it’s vital that you keep your feet happy and healthy. If we don’t practice proper foot care, it can cause a whole slew of problems such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, sesamoiditis, turf toe, hammertoes and so much more. In this article, we give you three basic habits for proper foot care to ensure those little guys stay happy and healthy (1).
1. Wear Proper Shoes
It’s important that you are wearing shoes that are comfortable and that actually fit you. When you squeeze your feet into too tight or too high shoes (like high heels), you can create ugly calluses, painful bunions or corns that sometimes need surgery to remove. If you can live without heels, then be sure to limit the amount of time you wear them. The higher the heel, the more pain and suffering you go through (women know this very well).
Running shoes should be fitted properly as well. We recommend going into a specialty running store and have the trained store clerks evaluate your gait and make a recommendation. Your feet swell when performing exercises like running and long walks, so consider getting a half size larger or even a wider version of the shoe.
2. Nurture Your Feet
We spend so much time taking care of our hair. We buy fancy sulfate-free shampoo, expensive conditioners to repair our locks and beautiful treasures to decorate it. Yet very little attention is paid to the appendages at the opposite end of your body. Foot care is vital and necessary if we plan on avoiding chronic problems in the future. Feet need to be intimately cared for, cleaned properly each day, exfoliated to remove dead skin and possible calluses that are forming, lotions to keep them soft. Also, it is wise to spend a little time and money on reflexology, a special form of massage that focuses on pressure points in the feet and can relax the entire body (2).
When your feet get tight and uncomfortable, you’ll be able to feel it in your whole body. Therefore, it is very important that you properly stretch your feet throughout the day, several times a day. Here are three really great stretches that can give your feet the energy to keep walking, running, hopping, dancing their way through the day.
- Yoga Toes: Toes get cramped up in shoes that are too small for you or simply shoes that don’t allow for room to wiggle around. Yoga focuses on stretching everything out and there is a great stretch called yoga toes. This pose will allow you to create space between those little guys and help you stretch out the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments that keep all your feet parts together. Simply cross the left foot over your right thigh and allow your foot to hang over. Take the fingers on your right and thread them between each toe. It may hurt a bit at first but stay with it for about 10 to 20 breaths. After this, remove the fingers and sit there feeling that amazing space you’ve created between the toes. When finished, switch feet.
- Ball Roll: If you find that your feet are sore from exercising or standing on them for too long, you can grab a tennis or golf ball and give yourself a massage. Place the ball under the sole of the foot and run it up and down the foot about 10 to 20 times. Then switch sides. You will put pressure on the sore areas, increase blood flow to the area, and relax the entire base of your foot.
- Circles and Wiggles: Sometimes all your feet need is a little non-typical movement. How often do your wiggle your toes around? I am sure you use to do this all the time when you were a kid, and you shouldn’t stop now. Wiggling your toes wakes your feet up and gets the blood moving. It also stretches out all the connective tissue that keep your feet together. Rotate back and forth between plantar flexion, which is pointing, and dorsiflexion, which is flexing. Circle your feet around at the ankles to stretch out the muscles, bones, ligaments and fascia that connect your feet to the legs.
If you want your feet to be good to you, then you must be good to them. Implement proper foot care each and every day of your life and your feet will thank you by carrying you through all you future adventures!