By Yael Brender
We walk on them every day – and if you play any kind of sport, your feet are regularly having extra pressure put on them from every direction. It might be time to give them some attention:
1. Wear Shoes That Fit
If your shoes are too tight, it can cause hammertoe, corns, ingrown toenails and general foot paint. If your shoes are too big, you’re at risk of blisters, calluses and sore heels.
Shop for shoes at the end of the day – your feet ‘stretch out’ over the course of the day, so you need to buy shoes that fit comfortably even when your feet are at their largest.
Be careful of the material your shoes are made of – synthetics trap heat and moisture while natural materials like leather and cotton will release the moisture and keep your feet cooler.
Try alternating your shoes so that yesterday’s sweat can dry out before you wear the same pair again.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but the muscles in your feet need exercise to stay strong just like any other muscle in your body.
A short walk each day will keep your foot muscles firm and your ligaments and tendons stretchy and flexible. Walking will also help prevent fallen arches later in life.
If walking strains your feet, try insoles or arch support inserts to keep your feet in the proper position and able to support your weight as you walk.
Try low impact walking – on grass or dirt, rather than cement – to ease the stress on the soles of your feet.
3. Washing Your Feet
All the moisture and sweat from the inside of your shoes is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi – which particularly like to grow in between your toes. Yuck.
If you don’t wash your feet, then you’re letting all that muck accumulate, which can lead to your feeling smelling gross as well as more serious fungal infections and skin problems.
Use soap and an abrasive sponge and always dry between your toes. Foot powder will also help keep your feet dryer for longer.
The skin on your feet will unavoidably dry, crack and / or become scaly due to normal wear and tear. Hot weather makes this worse, so rubbing a lotion that contains cocoa butter into your feet every day is a must.
Don’t rub it between your toes though, and always do it in the morning. For seriously scaly skin, coat your feet in cocoa butter, put on a comfortable pair of socks and leave overnight while you sleep.
Your skin will be much softer in the morning, but don’t forget to wash those socks!
5. Speaking Of Socks…
Wear them. They’ll absorb the moisture from your feet and take the impact of heavy exercise or long walks off of your heels.
The fat layer on your heel thins out as you get older, so the cushier the sock, the better. Again, natural materials like cotton and wool contain fibres that are more absorbent.
You can also buy high-performance socks designed especially for athletes and exercise junkies, where the material doesn’t compress when exposed to moisture.
6. Get A Pedicure (Optional)
It’ll relax you and make your feet look pretty, and help you chill. It’s a win-win.
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