Most of us are familiar with the phrase “happy wife, happy life”—but did you know that’s true of your feet as well? Think about it. We live in and on our feet. According to the Pharmaceutical Journal, in a lifetime the average person walks about 100,000 miles. If your feet are too hot, too cold, too tired or too sore, it affects your whole body. Healthy feet are critical for your quality of life, productive work and mobility. Unfortunately, the feet don’t always get the same attention as the rest of the body. And often, the result of neglect—or of cramming feet into too tight, too high-heeled shoes—is pain.
Foot pain can be debilitating, both physically and mentally. If your feet hurt, you’re less likely to exercise regularly. This can result in a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease, lack of endurance and loss of muscle. If you already have a chronic issue like diabetes, check with your doctor to make sure you’re keeping your feet happy and healthy.
If your feet are healthy, let’s keep them that way. Here are some great tips to pamper your feet!
Basic Feet 101. Regularly check your feet for cuts, sores, redness, swelling or bruises. You’ll figure out what’s normal for your feet pretty quickly. Make sure your feet are clean and dry, especially between the toes. When trimming your toenails, cut the nail straight across and use an emery board to smooth the corners, preventing a nail from growing into your skin.
Shoes make a difference. Make sure your shoes fit your foot. Corns, blisters, bunions and ingrown toenails are often caused by ill-fitting shoes and can aggravate other foot issues. Good shoes should support and protect your feet. Your perfect shoe fit has the ball of your foot comfortably set in the widest part of the shoe. The toe box should be roomy enough that your toes don’t hit the top or end of the shoe. If you have any pain in your feet, you should see your doctor. They may suggest changing shoe types or adding padding to your shoes.
Foot baths are awesome! Soaking your toes in a bath can help soothe sore muscles, aid in relaxation and moisturize dry skin. A small 2017 trial suggested that bath oil may improve skin barrier function in people with mildly dry skin. People with dry skin on their feet may find benefit from adding oil to their foot bath. Other Epsom Salt mixes or essential oils can soothe tired feet and help get rid of dead skin. If you don’t want to bathe just your feet, grab some bath salts and soothe your whole body.
Feet love a good massage. What body part doesn’t? A foot massage is a great way to improve circulation, reduce tension, help ease pain and stimulate your muscles. And it feels so good! There are plenty of videos online if you want a quick demonstration of how to give yourself a foot massage. In addition, there are plenty of massage pads that you can use. A quick foot massage before bed can help you relax before turning in.
Exfoliate! Clearing dead skin from your feet will help keep them in tip-top shape. If your feet are mild to moderately dry, exfoliate them in the shower or foot bath every two weeks. If you have severely dry, cracked or callused feet, use a pumice stone twice a week to help prevent hardened areas from building up further. Foot masks and scrubs are great choices. You can even use an exfoliating glove to help reinvigorate your feet.
Feet are the foundation for the body. Years of wear and tear can be hard on your feet and can lead to even bigger health problems. Prevention is key! Spend time taking care of your feet – they will thank you for it.