Love your Feet: Why Foot Care Matter and How to Pamper your Feet Today
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if each day as we woke-up and hung our feet over the side of our bed, our feet made us smile? What if we looked down each day and saw beautiful, pain-free, healthy feet!
We often overlook our feet until there is a problem or the warm summer months beckon us to slip on a pair of sandals, and yet our feet make up 25% of the body’s bones, 18% of joints and 6% of our muscles! With this in mind, not only do we not want damage them, we want to keep them as healthy and beautiful as we can. Our feet are like the root of a tree. If something isn’t right with the roots, the whole tree suffers. If something isn’t right with our feet, the whole body suffers. Foot pain can lead to knee and hip pain, which can then lead to back and neck pain, and the list goes on. To get a better understanding of why our feet are important, here’s 3 reasons to keep them healthy:
1. If our feet hurt or we have foot problems we will not function at our best. Our quality of life will suffer. Our daily living activities such as walking, shopping, working, and playing are all affected if we are in pain.
2. We all know that regular physical activity is not only good for physical health but our mental health as well. We’ve been told that we need at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week to stay healthy both physically and mentally. This in itself can be difficult but, when our feet hurt, it is almost impossible to get out there and get our hearts pumping.
3. And the final reason to keep our feet healthy is so they will be baby soft and beautiful. When our feet look and feel fantastic it boosts our confidence and buoyancy. We feel confident, free and fun-loving.
The following strategies will help us keep our feet healthy and beautiful all year long.
Stretching and Strengthen our feet and ankles
Ø Foam roll or ball roll the bottom of your feet
Ø Heel to toe rock - to stretch the foot have a continuous motion -- hold to strengthen
o Starting flat footed with feet shoulder width apart and parallel to each other. Rock to your toes and then back to your heels. Do these 10 to 20 times. Do the same motion but hold for the count of 5 when you get to your toes then rock back to your heels again for the count of 5. Repeat 10 times
Ø Standing calf stretch
o With palms at shoulder height and pressed to a wall, put one foot behind and lean forward until you feel a stretch in your calf. Hold for the count of 20. Repeat for the other leg. Do 3 to 5 repetitions
Ø Calf raises three ways
o Standing with your legs shoulder width apart raise up on your toes. Repeat 10 to 20 times. Now point your toes out at about a 45-degree angle and raise up on your toes again for 10 to 20 times. Now point your toes inward as far as you can go. Raise up 10 to 20 times.
Ø Toe scrunches
o Get a towel or old tee-shirt and place it on the floor. Stand on the edge of the towel, with your toes over the towel, now try picking up the towel or scrunching the towel with your toes. Repeat about 20 times.
Ø Heel walk
o Start at one end of a room and rock up on your heels. Now walk across the room on your heels. Repeat for about 2 minutes.
Ø Toe walk
o Start at one end of a room and rock up on your toes. Now walk across the room on your toes. Repeat for about 2 minutes.
Ø Pronation walk
o Start at one end of a room and rock to the outside of your foot. Now walk across the room on the outside of your feet. Repeat for about 2 minutes.
Ø Supination walk
o Start at one end of a room and rock to the inside of your foot. Now walk across the room on the inside of your feet. Repeat for about 2 minutes.
Wear proper footwear
We all love a new pair of shoes. A new pair of walking shoes can add bounce to our morning walk, and there’s nothing like that feeling we get when we find the perfect pair of shoes to go along with a new outfit. However, fashion isn’t the only factor to consider. It’s just as important to think about the health of our feet when we’re looking to buy new shoes. If our shoes don’t fit us correctly, it can lead to foot pain. And, as we mentioned above, foot pain can have a negative impact on our whole body. Here are just a few points to consider when buying new shoes:
Ø Buy shoes in the afternoon. Your feet naturally swell during the day.
Ø Wear the same types of socks you intend to wear with the new shoes.
Ø Have a salesperson measure your feet each time you buy a new pair of shoes.
Ø Stand and walk in your new shoes. Make sure you have about a quarter inch from your longest toe to the end of the shoe.
Ø Walk around and ‘test drive’ your new shoes. You may love the way they look but they feel horrible on your feet or they just don’t fit correctly. Trust your comfort and be honest with yourself.
Also, remember not to wear shoes that have a lot of wear on them or have an odor. Check the soles and heels monthly to make sure the wear is even.
Whether we’re working, dancing, or going for a walk, finding the correct fit is the most important part when it comes to new shoes.
Just like our shoes, we also need to think about our socks. Socks perform an important function for our feet. They wick away moisture from our feet and they provide cushioning for the foot. It’s important to keep our feet dry because fungus thrives in moist, dark places. And it’s important to protect our feet from our shoes rubbing and creating blisters or hotspots.
Here a few points to consider:
Ø Change socks daily or more often if you have sweaty feet.
Ø Wear natural or a blended fabric of cotton. hemp, or wool.
Ø Throw worn socks out
Ø Wear the same type of socks on each foot – this is not the time to mix and match!
Go for a walk barefooted
Walking barefooted, on the beach, in a grassy field or along a bubbling creek is advantageous for our feet and can even improve our wellbeing. It helps improve blood circulation, stimulates the foot's sensitivity, and induces a state of relaxation.
Here are a few tips to walking barefooted:
Ø The first few times you walk barefooted, take it easy. Walk on a sandy beach or soft grass.
Ø Watch where you are walking. Avoid stepping on dirty or sharp objects.
Ø Always carry your shoes with you and if you don't think the ground is clean or safe, slip your shoes back on.
Ø Don't overdo it. At first the tendons and joints in your feet and legs may get stressed, causing pain and inflammation.
Ø When you get home, wash, and dry your feet well.
Pamper your feet
Ø Examine your feet. These are questions to ask:
o Do I feel any pain with my first step?
o Are there any sore spots when I wash my feet?
o Do I have any creaks, over-sized callouses, or the beginning of a bunion?
o Are my toe nails clear of discoloration? Yellowish or blackish?
Ø Wash all areas of your feet, including between the toes and the heel. This will reduce bacteria, fungus, and help clear away dead skin cells.
Ø Gentle exfoliate with a scrub or pumice stone, paying close attention to your heels.
Ø Moisturize your feet daily. It doesn’t matter if you do this in the morning or in the evening, just make sure you moisturize your feet.
Once a Week – At Home Pedicure
Ø Remove any toe nail polish. Clip and file toe nails. Clip and file straight across toenails.
Ø Gently exfoliate with a pumice while feet are dry. This will remove more dead skin with less effect.
Ø Soak your feet in warm, infused water for about ten minutes to soften more dead skin. Remove feet and dry off.
Ø Exfoliate with a foot scrub. Put feet back in water to rinse off scrub. Dry completely.
Ø Massage your feet using gentle upward motion.
Daily and weekly foot care creates healthy and beautiful feet. Work out your daily and weekly routine. Don’t feel selfish for taking the time to strengthen and pamper your feet – your feet will love you for it.