/Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you!

Our feet are the foundations of our bodies, yet we give them little respect. Your feet are probably the last part of your body you think about and we take them for granted until they start hurting. They're too important to overlook, though: With some 26 bones and a complex framework of muscles, tendons and ligaments, your feet absorb the impact of your full body weight with every step, keeping you balanced and upright in the process

The problems that can afflict your feet are numerous. Foot odour, cracked skin, fallen arches, corns, ingrown toenails, fungal infections and even damaged bones can cause discomfort and reduced mobility. You don't need an expensive spa treatment to take care of your feet. Spending just a few minutes a day on foot care and choosing the right support, shoes and socks can keep you free of problems that may lead to pain and even disability.

Here are some tips we have gathered together:

Make a point to wash your feet (and between your toes!) with a washcloth carefully and regularly. Don’t soak your feet for lengthy periods. Be sure to dry feet completely, including between the toes. This wash-and-dry system lessens problems such as athlete's foot, odour, bacteria and fungus.

Moisturise your feet after washing. During dry-skin winter months, you may want to moisturise more times a day. Nothing fancy is needed: basic lotions and creams are fine.

Wear shoes that fit well. Your feet should not hurt—ever. Tight shoes can worsen bunions, distort toe shape and cause painful foot growths. Overly large shoes prevent your heel from settling in the proper place as you walk, causing blisters and calluses, sore heels and excessive shoe wear. Remember that your feet "stretch out" late in the day, so go shoe shopping after work, when your feet are at their largest. If you wear high heels, choose heels that are wide, stable and no higher than two inches. To protect your Achilles tendon from shortening, alternate heel heights regularly

Alternate the shoes you wear each day. That may mean having two pairs of your favourite everyday style, but shoes need time to air out to avoid triggering foot odour or infections.

Change socks or stockings at least once a day. Socks also play a vital role in absorbing and drawing moisture away from your feet. For basic day-to-day wear, use socks made with natural fibres like cotton or wool. They're absorbent and will eventually wick moisture away from your feet to the breathable portion of your shoes (leather or mesh). For high-performance socks, there are synthetic materials made for athletes that are better at wicking moisture away because the material don't compress as much as natural fibres do when saturated with sweat.

Flip-flops and completely flat shoes don't provide arch support. Neither does walking barefoot. Women are especially prone to developing flat feet, which can lead to other foot problems. To keep feet strong and healthy, minimise the amount of time you wear shoes that lack supportive arches.

The muscles in your feet are just like any other muscles -- they need exercise to stay strong. You can't really lift weights with your foot muscles, so the best way to exercise them is to just take a walk.

If walking causes sore legs or feet, there are a couple of extra steps you can take to improve the problem. FootBalance custom made insoles can keep your feet in the proper position to support your weight during walking. If you've been doing a lot of walking on pavement, your feet might not be up to the impact. Try walking on grass, dirt or a soft cinder track for added cushioning.

Overall, it is important to know your foot type and the impact this has on your body. To find out about your foot type you can avail of a free FootBalance foot analysis. During the analysis a FootBalance expert examines your arches and foot and ankle movement. As you stand on our podoscope, the FootBalance expert makes a computer-aided analysis of your foot type. Based on this the expert will help you identify the best type of shoes for you. If insoles are recommended, a pair can be rapidly custom-moluded for you to try immediately in the store. Click here to find a store near you.


Sources: Both our own sources and sources from the internet such as heatlhywomen, health & how stuff works as well as medical bodies websites were used in the creation of this blog post.