Taking care of your feet

Most of us give little thought to our feet, those things we stand on, run on, tread on, but there are so many things that can go wrong, and if something is wrong with your feet, well quite frankly it can be miserable at best and debilitating at worst. So let’s take a look at caring for those tootsies.

The first thing to consider is the fact that most of us put on socks and cram or feet into shoes all day, depending on the shoes we are wearing, that can make for a very moist environment. Moisture can lead to things like stinky feet and fungus, both are uncomfortable and in certain situations can be most embarrassing.

The easiest way to prevent this problem is to change your socks, don’t wear the same ones all day long. Natural materials are good for socks as well as shoes. Cotton socks in the summer and wool ones in winter, don’t forget your feet sweat even in cold temps. Leather or fabric shoes breath, it’s best if you can swap between 2 pair of shoes, wear a pair on day one, then wear a different pair on day two, that allows your shoes to dry out sufficiently between wearing.

Wear proper fitting shoes, guys you probably don’t have a major issue with shoe size, but we ladies can be vain and do not wish to admit, even to the shoe salesperson what size we really wear. If you have any doubt, have your feet measured, as we age, our shoe size can change, be sure to have the proper width too. In winter, when you may be wearing thicker socks or more layers of socks, you will need to go a size up or two on your shoes to have enough room for your feet and all those layers. Don’t torture your feet because of vanity or ignorance, ladies no one can see what size your shoes are from the outside. Take the socks you plan on wearing to the shoe store, I don’t care if it’s the middle of summer, if you are buying for winter, then bring the thick wool socks, if you are going to wear 2 pair of socks, then bring them and wear them when trying on your shoes or boots, you’ll thank me for this later!

Cleanliness, keeping your feet clean is important, clean and dry. I believe most of us in the civilized world bathe on a regular basis, but if you live off-grid and have to haul your own water, or if your water supply is cut off for a period of time, a leisurely shower or bath may not happen as often as you’d prefer. In that case, you can use a basin or some other container that your feet will comfortably fit within, fill it with warm water, soak your feet for a while, then wash them, be sure to get the soap rinsed well. Dry them thoroughly and if possible allow them to “air out” a bit before cramming them back into socks and shoes.

Toenails, we all have them, they are often thick and tough, especially our big toe. Trim them properly to prevent ingrown nails. Trim them off in a rounded square shape, avoid cutting the corners off, you can round them but don’t cut down the sides. Don’t cut them too short, but please cut them before they become talons. Be sure you clean under your toe nails, you’d be shocked at the gunk that collects there. The best time to do this is after your feet have soaked for a while and things are softened up, buy and use an orange wood stick, these can be purchased at most drug stores, beauty supply stores and such, guys if you are embarrassed about asking for one of these, then get your wife, girlfriend or sister to get them for you. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to do anything with the cuticles, in fact the less you do to them the better, if you try to trim your cuticles or push them back you might end up doing more damage than good and can cause an infection.

When cleaning your feet, after they have soaked for a while, you might need to exfoliate them. That may sound like foo foo to you guys, all that means is removing the dead skin. There are many commercially available implements to do this, pumice stones are popular, but honestly you can just use a green scrubby pad, just please don’t reuse it in the kitchen afterward… once your feet have soaked, the dead skin will puff up and will easily come off, don’t go crazy with removing all the skin, you can be more persistent with the callused areas, but still don’t go too far, otherwise you will be limping for a few days while the tender baby like skin complains loudly at being exposed.

If you have stinky feet or fungus, there are many commercially available products to spray on, powder on or rub on. Remember that if you have a fungus, it may take a long time to get rid of it. Don’t despair, just keep at it.

Stretching your feet is a good way to prevent injuries, one good way to do this is to stand on a stair or a 2×4 on the floor, put your toes safely on the edge and allow your heel to drop down below your toes, push up and down slowly to stretch. After I injured my ankle, and it healed, my ankles stayed sore for quite a long time, I began doing this stretch and in just a few weeks time, I have rehabbed my foot and ankle. If you have any medical problems, be sure to talk to your doctor. There are many other stretches you can do, place a tennis ball on the floor, using your bare feet, rub the ball around under your foot. Do a search for foot stretch and you will find many different stretches.

Honestly I’m not big on putting on creams, lotions, powders and such on my feet, I want them clean and dry, I don’t like the feel of added moisturizer, if you feel the need to use such things, be my guest, but for me, I prefer simple, clean and dry.

Keep your feet in good shape and they will keep you going.

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