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What are the best ways to take care of our feet?

Wash your feet often 

Keep your feet clean by washing them every day in warm soapy water, but don’t soak them, as this might destroy your skin’s natural oils. 

Dry your feet well 

Dry your feet thoroughly after washing them, especially between the toes, which is where fungal infections like athlete’s foot can develop. 

Moisturise and file

 If your skin is dry, apply moisturising cream all over the foot, except for between the toes. Gently remove hard skin and calluses with a pumice stone or foot file. Don’t overdo it or you could damage fresh skin underneath. 

Cut toenails carefully
Trim your toenails regularly using proper nail clippers. Cut straight across, never at an angle or down the edges. This can cause ingrown toenails. 

Shoe shop in the afternoon 

Shop for shoes in the afternoon. Your feet swell as the day goes on and if shoes fit in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest, you can be assured they’ll always be comfortable. 

Footwear tips for work 

Depending on the type of work you do, you may need to wear specialist footwear, such as shoes with hard reinforced toecaps or anti-slip soles. If you wear high heels at work, wear comfortable shoes on your way to work and change into your heels when you get there. The College of Podiatry has more information and advice about footwear for work. 

Limit time wearing high heels 

Only wear high heels and pointed shoes for special occasions. If you wear heels, try to vary your heel height. Wearing a heel that’s higher than a couple of inches (about 5cm) on a regular basis can damage your feet. 

Wear the right shoes 

Always wear the right shoes for the job – so not sandals for mountain climbing! The College of Podiatry has more information and advice about shoes for sporting activities. 

Change socks daily to avoid foot odour 

As well as changing your socks regularly, wear socks made of cotton, wool or bamboo. These allow your feet to breathe and help keep them at the right temperature. Specialist socks are also available for different sporting activities. Wear socks that fit Make sure your socks fit properly, paying particular attention to the width for your foot and ankle. If you have swollen feet, look for socks designed to accommodate your swelling. Elastic-free socks are available to help prevent them cutting into your leg. If you have difficulty feeling your feet properly (neuropathy), make sure there are no knobbly seams inside your socks that may rub and damage your skin. Turning your socks inside out can help prevent rubbing. Protect your feet in communal areas Wear flip-flops or pool shoes to avoid getting athlete’s foot and verrucas when using public areas such as gym showers or swimming pools. 

Take care with flip-flops 

Avoid wearing flip-flops all the time. They don’t support your feet and can give you arch and heel pain if you wear them too much.

Special Precautions 

Everyone needs to take care of their feet. However, there are certain groups of people who need to take extra good care of their feet because they are likely to develop foot problems. These people include diabetics, the elderly, children and athletes.

Diabetics 

Diabetes can cause poor circulation in the feet, making infection a serious danger. Here are some special tips for diabetics: 

  • Never go barefoot; wear shoes or slippers whenever possible. 
  • Try not to wear garters, rolled hose, tight girdles, tight or elasticized socks or ace bandages.
  • Don’t cross your legs for extended periods of time. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes and socks. 
  • Use lotion on your feet to keep the skin soft and supple. 
  • Avoid letting your feet get cracked and dry. 
  • Do not treat corns and calluses yourself. See your doctor. 
  • Use only lukewarm water on your feet when you wash or soak them. Do not use hot water, heating pads, iodine or hot water bottles which can cause burns. Also, avoid Epsom salts or alcohol. 

Older Adults 

As you grow older, your feet are more prone to injury because of poor blood circulation. Older adults can protect their feet by following these suggestions. 

  • Be faithful about daily foot care. 
  • Try not to stand for long periods of time or over-exert yourself. 
  • Avoid over-the-counter remedies for foot ailments. See your doctor. 
  • Use properly fitted, good-quality shoes. 
  • Do not expose your feet to extreme temperatures. 

Children 

Children’s feet develop during the first 18 years of life; this is when abnormalities usually can occur. Give your child the best foot care possible: 

  • Allow babies to kick freely by leaving their covers loose or off. 
  • Try not to force your child to walk before he/she is ready. 
  • Be alert to abnormalities in your child’s walk. If you notice anything odd about the way your child walks or if he/she is bowlegged, pigeon-toed or flat-footed, inform your pediatrician.
  • Teach your child about proper foot care. 
  • Check the fit of your child’s shoes regularly since their feet grow rapidly. 

Athletes 

Most sports put a lot of strain on the feet and demand the best performance from them. This makes feet extremely vulnerable to injury. You can prevent infections and injury by doing the following: 

  • Use shoes appropriate for your activity . Look for leather or fabric shoes which are cushioned and don’t cram your toes. 
  • Stretch and warm up before you begin any physical activity and take the time to cool down and stretch afterwards. 
  • Begin slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your activity at a comfortable pace. 
  • Keep your feet clean and dry; air out your shoes after using them and change your socks daily. 
  • Deal with injuries immediately. See a doctor for persistent pain or swelling. 
  • Listen to your body. Stubborn muscle cramps and spasms that can’t be worked out may be a signal for you to rest. 

Protect Your Feet on the Job 

More than 100,000 foot injuries result each year from accidents at work. These injuries can cause pain, suffering, disability and losses of time on the job and income. Save your feet and toes from disabling injuries by using the basic form of protection — the safety shoe. To get the most out of protective footwear: 

Ask your supervisor about the type of shoes you need for your job. 

Be aware that you can add special features to your shoes for protection against specific hazards. 

For maximum protection, choose your safety shoes carefully. They should protect your feet against any work hazard and be comfortable. 

Wear your protective footwear every time you need it. Care for your protective footwear properly so it stays in good shape: 

Check them regularly for damage such as cracks or dampness which could lessen their effectiveness. 

Clean and condition them. 

Repair or replace them when necessary. Repairs made should not decrease the protective ability of the shoes. 

Let your supervisor know of any problems with your shoes.

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