Toolkit to Keep Feet Healthy

Feet are easy to neglect. But taking a few simple steps to care for your feet should be part of your overall strategy for maintaining mobility.
Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight affects your feet by putting greater force on them with each step. It can increase your risk of having a condition like arthritis in the feet, and it can worsen pain from other foot problems. Being overweight can also harm foot health by putting you at higher risk of diabetes or poor blood circulation, which can lead to foot pain and loss of sensation in the feet.
Wear good shoes. Many of the common foot problems that are described in this chapter result from wearing tight, poorly fitting shoes, especially high heels. One survey conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association found that 49% of women wear high heels—and three-quarters of them report that the shoes cause them pain. A lifetime of wearing comfortable shoes is one of the best preventive mea-sures you can take to ensure your mobility.
Moisturize your feet. The skin of the feet tends to get thinner and drier with age; calloused feet can crack and bleed, causing pain. To keep the skin soft, rub a thick moisturizing lotion into your feet after showers or baths as needed. Avoid the spaces in between the toes, where moisture can lead to bacterial overgrowth.
Practice good foot hygiene. Wash and dry your feet thoroughly when you shower or bathe. Cut toe nails straight across to avoid ingrown nails. Use a pumice stone or foot file to gently remove calluses. If you wear nail polish, let the toenails “breathe” for a couple of days after you remove it and before applying again, to keep nails healthy.
Stretch your feet. People don’t usually think about stretching the tops and bottoms of their feet, but stretches can help you treat and preventfoot pain. Stretches for the Achilles tendon are also important.

September 25, 2022

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