You may not think it, but the health of your feet is an essential component of leading an overall healthy lifestyle. After all, we generally spend a large chunk of our day standing, walking, or running, with some professions requiring people to be on their feet for 10+ hours at a time. As we’ve come to know, not spending enough time on your feet can be even more detrimental—a study released in 2010 by the American Cancer Society showed that above-average couch time was associated with a 17% higher mortality rate in men and a 34% higher mortality rate in women over a 14-year period. Staying on your feet certainly is not a cancer cure, but it is probably a prevention.
The importance of having strong, healthy feet is an undeniable medical fact, but how exactly do you go about maintaining healthier feet? Below are 4 tips for doing so:
1. Practice Proper Foot Hygiene and Care
The first step to maintaining good foot health is making sure that your feet receive proper daily care. That means keeping them hydrated with lotion during the day to avoid fissures and cracking, applying sunscreen when your feet are exposed to direct sunlight, properly cutting your toenails (straight across) to avoid ingrown toenails, and making sure your feet are completely dry after taking a shower, going swimming, etc.
2. Invest in the Right Shoes
Just as no two body types are alike, no two pairs of feet are the same. With that in mind, it’s important to invest an appropriate amount of time—and money—into finding the right size, style, and brand of shoes that will be the most beneficial to the health of your feet. For most people, simply choosing properly fitting shoes with ample cushioning will be enough. However, some individuals whose professions require them to be on their feet for extended periods of time, or those who have preexisting foot issues may need specialized footwear.
Manufacturers like Orthofeet Dr. Comfort Shoes, and Aestrex are in business to provide extra wide, deep, and therapeutic shoes for people who need a bit more out of their daily footwear.
3. Change it Up
It’s no secret that your feet sweat—a lot. All of the sweat builds up as the day progresses, collecting in your socks and shoes. Not only do things get a bit smelly, but that moisture can also lead to some nasty infections and foot fungus if your shoes do not have ample time to dry after a full day’s use. Make sure that you change your socks every day, and avoid wearing the same pair of shoes several days in a row if possible.
4. Visit a Podiatrist
If you are having foot pain or just general issues with your feet, it’s important to consult a podiatrist before things escalate further. Since finding the right podiatrist may be little bit more difficult considering you don’t normally consult with one on a regular basis, the American Podiatric Medical Association provides an online database of qualified podiatrists throughout the country to help in your search.