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Our feet become particularly stressed during the day as they carry the weight of our body and bear the brunt of most of our daily activities. Maintaining a regular foot care regime will ensure that this important but often neglected part of the body receives the attention it deserves.
According to the book The Secret Life of Germs by Philip M. Tierno Jr, Director of Clinical Microbiology and Diagnostic Immunology at New York University Medical Center, walking around in flip-flops exposes your feet to drug-resistant superbugs with the summer heat acting like an incubator creating the ideal environment for many types of bacteria to multiply.
Wash your feet daily, preferably the night before bed, to remove germs and dirt accumulated throughout the day. Closed shoes create a hotbed for dangerous bacteria to grow between your toes and on the soles of your feet while sandals leave your feet exposed to microbacteria from human and animal waste.
Foot moisture is essential to maintaining healthy feet. Especially if you are prone to dry skin which can cause the skin to crack, as these cracks can create an entryway for bacteria to enter. During the winter months lack of moisture causes the heels to get chapped. Massaging moisturizing creams, essential oils and foot care ointments specifically made for dry skin will keep your heels soft, protecting them from painful sores that happen as a result of chapped skin on your heels. Just because your feet are located on the bottom of your body doesn't mean that they will not benefit from a much needed indulgence in foot care. Salt baths have also been widely used to revitalize tired, achy feet and to soften the skin while gently cleansing.
Check your feet daily. You don’t have to wait until your feet become sore to check for possible problems that may affect your blood circulation. Take a few minutes every day to identify possible cracks, blisters, abrasions, and swelling on your feet. A mirror will be useful if you cannot bend to check the bottom of the foot.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, swollen feet are sometimes a sign of decreased kidney function, heart disease, liver disease and chronic leg vein problems. While it’s easy to dismiss swollen feet to long periods of standing, pregnancy, menstrual periods or even sitting for long periods of time, regular bad foot circulation is often a sign of a much bigger problem.
Keeping your feet soft and moisturized is a simpler task than most people believe. Apply rich moisturizing cream all over your leg, paying special attention to the heels and areas that tend to get constricted when wearing shoes. Use a pumice soft to scrub away dead skin and soften the hard points of your skin which will allow the moisturizing cream to penetrate more. Indulge yourself in a soothing foot massage with a cream or balm that will relieve your swollen legs, moisturize your skin and and revitalize your legs after a busy day.
Get rid of bad smells & sweat by using powder, especially if your legs sweat a lot. The combination of sweat and bacteria (or fungi) found in the footwear is the main cause of bad foot and footwear.
Walk or exercise daily. Walking is the best way to keep your body and feet healthy. Choose exercises to improve blood circulation and prevent cramps such as circular ankle rotation, or shifting weight first on your toes and then on the heels. Take care of your toenails. Carefully cut & trim your nails with special nail care tools. A pedicure will provide you with more complete, proper care.
Choose your shoes carefully. It is crucial to the health of your feet. Many leg problems start from choosing unsuitable shoes. Make sure that the size and arch support are appropriate for your feet. Choose breathable non-synthetic materials that allow your feet to breathe and ventilate. Pay particular attention to the height of the heels you are wearing and how the arch conforms to your feet. When it comes to foot care your basic approach to shoe selection should not be fashion, but good fit and comfort! If you are experiencing foot pain, then it may be time to rethink the shape of the shoes you wear.
Realize that every age has different care needs. When you are younger it’s good to watch out for the strain that is caused from intense sports activities. As you get older, it’s good to keep in mind that foot health is related to the weakening bones and muscles of your body as well a weakened circulatory system that often occurs after middle age, so even more systematic care is needed that will protect the health of your feet.
Lastly, if you notice signs of skin or toe deformities, persistent leg pains, or anything that you consider to be worrying, contact a doctor, podiatrist, dermatologist or orthopedist.
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