Our feet are one of the most neglected but essential parts of our body. Although they work hard for us every day, they are often forgotten until there’s a problem. Instead of ignoring your feet, start pampering them and taking care of them properly, so they stay healthy and feel good. Your overall health will improve, and you’ll discover that your feet don’t hurt as often if you treat them to a bit of self-care every week.
Exfoliate Your Feet
Feet tend to develop rough skin patches and callouses, especially if you do a lot of walking. Exfoliating your feet regularly with a foot scrub removes dead skin and prevents calluses and corns, so your feet remain smooth and soft. Exfoliating with a foot scrub twice a week will make a difference.
You probably use a moisturizer for your face and hands. You may even use an all-over body lotion but neglect to use it on your feet. This is unfortunate because our feet are often one of the driest parts of our bodies. The best time to moisturize is after you’ve exfoliated or after your shower when the skin is already moist. Lotion or cream will help lock in the moisture from a shower or bath. If you apply lotion before going to bed, slip on a pair of socks to encourage complete absorption.
Avoid High Heels
We all enjoy stepping out in high heels occasionally, but they’re not something you should wear every day. High heels put a lot of stress on the balls of the feet, which can lead to bunions and other problems. Also, avoid shoes with narrow, pointed toes. Your feet will thank you for wearing low heels or flats with a generous toe box so that your toes have plenty of room. Choose shoes made of breathable, flexible materials such as leather or canvas so your skin can breathe and your feet can flex easily.
Learn to Trim Your Toenails Properly
Ingrown toenails are painful and can lead to infection. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is cutting nails too short. Always use medical-grade toenail clippers and cut straight across. If you try to round them at the corners, the nail is more likely to grow into the surrounding skin. Don’t use fingernail clippers, as they are too rounded and too small to do the job properly.
Soak Your Feet
At the end of a long day, there’s nothing as relaxing as a nice foot soak. Soaking your feet relaxes the muscles, reduces swelling, and soothes your nerves. Use warm (not hot) water and add a commercial foot soak or toss in a few drops of essential oils, ½ cup of oatmeal powder, and a tablespoon of honey. Soaking your feet for a half-hour in the evenings helps reduce odor and soften the skin as well.
See a Podiatrist
Painful feet are a sign of problems that need to be addressed. A podiatrist like those at Northwest Surgery Center can help you determine whether your feet need additional treatment or surgery to correct the problem. Seeing a specialist can prevent minor issues from getting worse, so your feet will give you optimal mileage over the years.