With 26 bones each, your feet contain a quarter of all of the bones in your body. Each foot also has 33 joints and more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments. All of these pieces have to work together so your foot functions properly and has the added task of bearing the weight of your entire body.
It’s not surprising that your feet are susceptible to numerous injuries and conditions. However, with proper foot care, you can reduce your risk of foot problems.
No matter what your activity level is, there are various foot problems that can affect anyone. These problems include:
- Broken bones and stress fractures
- Bunions, corns, and calluses
- Diseases including arthritis, cancer, gout, and diabetes
- Dry skin
- Foot deformities, including flat feet, hammertoes, and club foot
- Fungal and bacterial conditions including athlete’s foot and toenail fungus
- Ingrown toenails
- Sprains and strains
Foot care tips and recommendations
Here are some general foot care tips and recommendations that can help you maintain healthy feet.
Use Proper Footwear
It is very important for you to use proper footwear. Here are some important tips when it comes to selecting shoes:
- Alternate your footwear. Do not wear the same pair of shoes every day. It is better for your feet if you wear a different pair of shoes on alternating days.
- Purchase shoes by the way they fit, not by the size number. Not only can your feet change sizes throughout your lifetime, but also some styles of shoes may fit differently on your feet and require a different size. Also, try on shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are most swollen. Be sure to purchase a shoe that has adequate room in the toe box.
- Replace worn shoes as soon as possible. As your shoes get worn, you lose the proper fit and support. This can lead to various foot problems.
- Wear the proper shoe for your activity. You wouldn’t wear high heels to play basketball, would you? It is important for you to wear the right shoe for the activity that you are doing. For example, if you plan to go running, wear running shoes. If you are going to play soccer, wear a pair of cleats.
Maintain good foot hygiene
Although it may seem like common sense, it is important to wash your feet regularly. Also be sure to thoroughly dry your feet, especially between your toes to reduce the risk of fungal infections. Keeping your feet clean will reduce the risk of infection and help you notice new cuts, bruising, swelling, discoloration, or any other signs of injury or infection.
You also need to make sure that you trim your toenails. The nails should be cut straight across. Be sure to not cut the corners or sides of your nails, as this can lead to ingrown toenails.
Don’t ignore foot pain
Although it might seem normal for your feet to ache after a long day, you should not ignore foot pain. Experiencing pain in your feet (namely pain that does not subside over time) may be a sign that something is wrong. Be sure to visit your doctor if you are suffering from pain or discomfort in your feet.
Be cautious about home care
If you suffer from diabetes, poor circulation, or heart problems have someone else tend to your foot care, preferably a medical professional, since you may be prone to infection.
Also, if you have a foot condition or injury, you should speak with your doctor before treating the condition by yourself. In some cases, self-administered treatments without the guidance of a medical professional can actually turn a minor problem into a major issue.
For additional foot care tips, or to determine the cause and treatment for foot pain, visit a skilled podiatrist.