5 top tips for beautifully healthy feet

It seems blindingly obvious that our feet are so important to our over-all wellbeing enabling us to function, but how many of us really put the time into looking after them?

There have been two very influential people in my quest to become fitter.  A personal trainer who gave me the encouragement and courage to do my first walking challenge and my Pilates teacher.  Both never cease to reinforce the importance of looking after your feet.    Sadly, many older people become housebound, not because of physical frailty, but because their toe nails or other foot problems, prevent them being able to walk.

The foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles.  When these bones are out of alignment, so is the rest of the body. Research from The College of Podiatry shows that nine in 10 of us experience some sort of foot problem, at some time, with one in five admitting to suffering with foot pain often or constantly.

The following tips have helped me concentrate on ensuring I keep my feet in tip top shape and in all the walks I have done over the last six years I am pleased to say I have never suffered from a blister!

1.     Exercise your feet

One exercise you can do if you sit down for your job is point and flex your toes and circle your ankles.  Another is whilst standing, use a golf ball under one foot starting under the base of your big to gently put your weight over that foot pushing down into the ball.  Do the same as you move the ball along under each toe and then place it just underneath the last point and continue until the whole foot has had a pressure point massage.  Then do the other foot.

2.     Home pedicures

Keeping toe nails short and cut across is how we avoid ingrowing toe nails (a serious and painful condition that often needs surgery).  If, like me, your nail beds are rounded you may need to use an emery board to ensure you have not left any nail near the skin.

3.     Remove dead skin, regularly! 

I try to do this every day with a small implement that is like a cheese grater!  You rub it across your heels and other dry skin areas.  I then use a foot cream.  If I am going for a serious walk I would also use a foot oil all over the feet including the toes.  Others swear by a cider-vinegar foot bath prior to removing dead skin.  (Is there nothing that stuff can’t cure?).

4.     Double socks  

I have never walked more than a couple of miles without two pairs of socks on.  A liner sock and a walking sock.  They are expensive but last forever, well more than five years.  The socks rub against each other rather than your boots rubbing against your feet.

5.     Footwear

If you are serious about walking get your walking boots measured to fit you correctly, somewhere they have a stony incline so the assistant can look at you walking up a gradient.  I usually buy at least 1 or 1.5 sizes bigger than my usual shoe size.  This allows for double socks but also for your feet to expand during long walks.  I have also found that I am not prepared to wear any shoe I can’t walk comfortably in for half a mile.  Wearing trainers with work clothes and changing when you arrive is also something I now always do.  If you are really stylish you can buy trainers that complement your outfit – then there’s no need to change!

Start a new foot care routine today and you will reap the benefit in years to come!