Monday, August 6, 2012

Tips to achieve a Healthier Feet

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

Taking that first step means keeping one's feet healthy and protected so that one can reach the destination in good stride.  Podiatrists (feet doctor) caution that neglecting one's feet can lead to incessant pain, infection and other foot problems particularly this rainy season.

Keeping our feet pain-free is surprisingly easy.  Healthy measures include good hygiene, self-examinations, and proper fitting shoes and socks.

The following are tips to keep our feet in best form :

1. Perform a foot exam regularly.  Do this first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  Take note of any change in their general appearance, like color and texture.  Be wary of unusual swelling and changes in the toenails which might signal fungal infection.  Discolored, thick, cracked or crumbling nail are distress signals that needs medication and therefore, should never be hidden with nail polish.  Scaling and peeling areas are tell-tale signs of athlete's foot. 

 2. Practice consistent foot hygiene.  Keep your feet clean and dry.  Thoroughly clean and scrub your feet with antiseptic soap and lukewarm water every time you take a bath.  Dry them well with soft towel to avoid the growth of fungi.  Keep close attention to the gaps between the toes.  Use antimicrobial foot spray to avoid sweaty feet.


3.  Trim toenails properly.  Cut straight across; avoid getting too close to the skin or drastically rounding the corners of the nails, which can cause painful, ingrown toenails that may also lead to infection.  Use anti-microbial socks, it helps in preventing bacteria build up in the toe nails area.

4.  Invest in an appropriate and well fitting shoe.   Always buy the right size, as shoes that are too tight tend to bruise or tear the skin within the pressure points of the feet.  Comfort should never be sacrificed for style.  It is highly recommended to choose rounded shoe for there is a lot of room for your toes to move.  Avoid pointed shoes, which can cramp your toes and cause ingrown toenails and calluses.

5.  Leather shoes are best for they allow the air to circulate.  Different seasons require particular types of shoes.  Closed shoes are a must during the rainy season, when waterborne diseases like leptospirosis are widespread.

6.  Never walk barefoot, especially in public areas.  Be sure to wear shower shoes at gyms, in locker rooms, and public pools.  These places may most probably be the breeding ground for fungi which may lead to infections.

7.  Do not wear other people's footwear!  Fungal infections are contagious, so avoid sharing shoes and socks.

8.  Exercise regularly.  Running exercises such as walking on a treadmill improve blood circulation, helping prevent many disorders of the heart and blood vessels.

9.  Apply foot moisturizer.  Our feet need occasional pampering.  On cold days, feet lose their natural oils (like our face and skin), making them extremely dry.  So it is necessary to hydrate the skin with lotions and creams to avoid cracks and fissures especially on your heel area.

10.  Know when to see a doctor.  Never self medicate foot woes.  If you notice or feel anything unusual with your feet, do not hesitate to consult to podiatrist immediately.

Addition:  You may also try foot-spa at home or visit your favorite salon to pamper your tired feet. :)

With these 10+1 helpful tips, one can achieve healthy and great-looking feet.  Make it a habit. :)

Note: Photos are credited to respective owners and also to Inquirer Libre.

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