Our feet tend to be the one part of our body that we use every day, but rarely provide proper care for. We depend on our feet to carry us where we need to go. They support all of our body weight everyday, are squeezed into confined areas (which sometimes also contort them into an unnatural position- think high heels), and we often subject them to extreme temperatures and other dangers when we run outside barefoot to just grab something real quick. When our feet hurt, it makes it difficult to get much done. When our feet have open sores (blisters and such) or wounds, it makes them prone to infection and since they are constantly in contact with generally unsterile places (ground, shower, furniture, etc) the risk of infection is even higher than a sore or wound elsewhere on the body. So today, I encourage you to show your feet some love and pamper them. Your whole body and your mind will thank you.
Foot pampering is a fun activity to do with others and can be wonderfully soothing if you can get someone else to do it for you, but it can also be done on your own. First, fill a basin or large, shallow container with warm, sudsy water. You can even add a few drops of essential oils for additional (chamomile softens, lavendar heals, etc) benefits as well. Soak your feet for as long as you want, but at least 10-15 minutes. Then give them a good washing and don't forget between your toes. Keeping the water nearby to rinse, use a good foot file or pumice stone to scrub away any corns, calluses, or rough patches. Rinse and gently dry your feet. Trim your toenails by cutting straight across to avoid ingrown nails. Then massage them with a good creamy lotion, preferably one that contains lanolin. For a great lesson in foot massage check out wikiHow and adjust the techniques for a self-administered massage. Put on a warm pair of socks to keep the moisture in and you have finished your foot care. Of course, you could always turn it into a full pedicure by adding cuticle cream to your cuticles and gently pushing them back with a cotton-wrapped orangewood stick. Do NOT cut your cuticles as it can cause infection. Then, wipe all lotion off your toenails and separate your toes by weaving a paper towel through them (or use the toe separators you can buy). Choose a polish color and apply from the base to the tip. Use a cotton swab to remove any unwanted polish from the skin.
Now that you have pretty, pampered feet, let's learn how else we can take care of them.
-Wash your feet daily and be sure to dry them well to avoid fungal infections.
-Try to vary your day-to-day footwear, especially high heels, and avoid heels that are more than 4cm high.
-Buy the right shoe for the right job. Walking shoes are designed to provide support in the right places for walking, the same for running shoes. Exercise shoes should be replaced once a year.
-Try to walk around barefoot at home as much as possible. This allows you to exercise all of your foot muscles and helps to prevent strains. Of course, when outdoors, or if there are dangers on the ground inside, wear proper footwear to avoid injury.
-If you have any foot problems such as warts, corns, bunions, in-grown nails, etc, call your doctor for advice and possible treatment. A patch of moleskin can help ease irritation and discomfort in the meantime for corns and calluses.
-Recurring foot pain can be a sign of other problems and should also be addressed by a doctor. Often an insert for the shoe will help, but let a doctor or podiatrist help you find the right one for you.
-If you are diabetic, keep your blood glucose levels appropriate and be sure to take extra good care of your feet.
-Keep blood circulating to your feet. When you sit, put your feet up. Wiggle your toes and ankles a few times a day. Don't cross your legs for extende periods of time. Don't smoke.
When we take good care of our feet, they will reward us by allowing us to do more and go further in comfort. Get yourself some good shoes and warm socks and splurge on a nice lotion. Then sit down and treat those feet, and yourself, to a few moments of relaxaton.