Top Tips for Happy Healthy Feet

There are some very simple steps that everyone can take to keep their feet healthy and sound throughout their life.
 

  • Wear shoes that fit.  A surprising number of  people don’t wear shoes that fit – sometimes knowingly and at other times because people have no idea what their shoe size is. Podiatrists recommend always trying shoes on before buying them and advise buying shoes in the afternoon as this is when your feet are at the biggest as they naturally swell throughout the day. If a shoe fitting service is available, it is worth having your shoes professionally fitted.                                                                                                    
  • Check your feet regularly. Take time to look at your feet regularly to check for any changes or noticeable issues. Common symptoms to look out for are yellow, brittle and discoloured nails which can be a sign of a nail infection, flaky skin which could be dry or red – which can be a symptom of athlete’s foot and any changes to the structure of the foot such as swelling where the big toe meets the main part of the foot – this can be a sign that a bunion is developing.                                                                                                                  
  • Don’t assume flat is best. People are more aware now about the health problems associated with wearing high heeled shoes frequently, but this doesn’t mean it is best to wear a completely flat shoe with a flimsy sole. Slip-on ballet pump style shoes are popular with women as an alternative to high heels, but they are also not great for every day, frequent wear because they are so flat that they offer very little shock absorption or support. Because they are slip-on they don’t hold the foot in place either so cause the toes to claw to hold the foot in place.                                                

  • Clean the inside of your shoes. To help keep your shoes clean and prevent them from becoming smelly, wipe the inside of your shoes with some surgical spirit on a cotton wool pad. This will help kill off bacteria.                                  
  • Alternate shoes. When we wear shoes our feet naturally sweat and wearing the same pair every day doesn’t give the shoe a chance to dry out. A damp shoe can become a breeding ground for bacteria which can cause bad odours and increase your risk of developing athlete’s foot. Therefore, it is a good idea to alternate shoes that you wear in the house and that you also wear outside - at least two pairs for inside and two pairs outside. Alternating your shoes will allow the fabric of your shoes to dry out in between the times you wear them.
               
  • Don’t ignore foot pain. If you experience frequent and ongoing foot pain this is an indication that something isn’t right. It may be an underlying structural issue with your foot or it could be that the type of shoes you are wearing are not suitable for the activity. Don’t put up with pain, something can always be done and a podiatrist can work with you to diagnose the cause and help treat it.       
  • Don’t forget to wash and moisturise your feet. To help avoid feet becoming smelly, make sure you give them a good wash at least once a day. If you suffer with smelly feet then try an antibacterial soap or foot scrub. Dry feet thoroughly, particularly between the toes, and apply a good foot moisturiser all over the foot apart from between the toes which is important to keep dry. The best foot creams contain urea.                
                                                                           
  •  Cut nails correctly. It’s best to use nail nippers, rather than nail cutters, because they have a smaller cutting blade and a longer handle. Cut your nails straight across and don’t cut too low at the edge or down the side. The corner of the nail should be visible above the skin. It is better to cut your nails after a bath or shower when they are much softer.                                                         
  • Wear the right shoe for the job. For an everyday shoe you should ideally have some type of fastening to hold the foot in place so it doesn’t slip around – such as a buckle, laces or a boot style shoe. The shoe should comfortably accommodate the width of the foot and not be excessively narrow or tapered around the toes. The heel height should be relatively low (no higher than 2cm) but try to avoid completely flat shoes with very thin soles as these offer no shock absorption or support for the foot.  By the way, slippers should only be worn at night when you go to the bathroom.                 

    • If you run, opt for a dedicated running shoe. Running shoes are specifically designed to support the unique motion and pressure that is placed on the foot when running. A fashion trainer will not offer the same level of support. Have your running shoes fitted by a reputable specialist sports shop to ensure a good fit and design.                        
    "Look after your feet and your smile will look after itself"