Foot care is really important to our overall health, and it’s often overlooked. Consider which parts of your body undergo the most amount of strain? Perhaps your back, or shoulders. Maybe your neck as well. For some people, their wrists are tired by the end of the day. But no matter what kind of job we’re in, the vast majority of us can raise a hand that yes, my feet hurt.
Walking, running, standing. Our feet are rarely ever idle, and that really is a lot fo pressure. Just like you would stretch your spine after a long day, you should also give some attention to those hard-working feet. The feet are the sole of the body, after all.
Simple tips for foot care
Our feet can carry some heavy burdens. When you stop to think about it, our feet are really our connection to the earth – almost exclusively. That’s a lot of work for just two parts of our body. Here are some simple foot care things you can add into your larger wellness routine to ensure they’re working their best.
Wash your feet
This one should really go without saying. You should be washing your feet every day to ensure that they are clean and free of odour. For best foot care practice, washing your feet requires more than just standing in the shower. Our feet often become dry and calloused, especially if we’re standing for a lot of the day. Investing in a pumice stone or foot scrubber can go a long way to ensuring your feet look, feel and smell their best.
Remember that drying your feet is just as important as washing them. Keeping your feet are dry means that they’re less likely to smell. You also decrease the risk of infections, including fungal infections, bacteria growth, warts and other nasties.
Have a foot bath
You don’t have to do this every day, of course, but your feet could really benefit from an occasional foot bath. A foot bath can be deeply relaxing for the sensitive muscles and tendons of your feet. These parts of your feet are so important – they’re what keep you upright!
If you want to do this regularly, it might be worth investing in a proper foot bath with a textured surface. Otherwise, a bucket or large container should do the trick if you’re on a budget. Simply add bath salts or special foot soaks into warm water and take a seat. A foot bath can be done while you’re eating dinner, watching tv, reading or doing some work. Afterwards, your feet will feel so soft and new! Again, make sure you dry them well, and perhaps apply some light moisturiser to replenish the skin.
Look after your nails
Never neglect your toenails! Nothing can ruin your day quite like a sore nail – whether it’s on a finger or a toe. Ingrown toenails are very common, but they can be quite debilitating. Pain, swelling, infection, redness or discharge might be a sign that something is amiss with your toenails. Putting any weight on a foot toe can be unpleasant, so make sure you’re taking care of your nails.
When trimming, ensure that you cut the nail straight across to encourage correct regrowth. Cutting your toenails on an angle increases the chance of ingrowns. If you’re prone to sharp edges, file them down rather than clipping them.
Keep your shoes clean
We put clean clothes on our body, so we should put clean clothes on our feet, too. Nobody likes the look of a dirty shoe, but even more important than how it looks is what it can grow. If you’ve gone hiking, clean your shoes. You’ll likely have no idea what you could have tracked into your house from the great outdoors. Keeping your shoes stored in a dry place decreases the likelihood of bacteria or mildew growing in your shoes. In addition, make sure to completely dry wet shoes before you put them on again. Not allowing shoes to completely dry will not only make them smelly and deteriorate faster, but can also be the perfect environment for mould.
A foot massage
A foot massage is one of the best things out there for foot care. Not only does it increase blood circulation, which is essential after a long day on your feet, but it helps to relax and loosen the tense muscles of the foot. Giving yourself a foot massage is pretty easy, too. Using as much pressure as your feet allow, use your thumbs to create small strokes and circles along the heel, arch and ball of the foot. You can do this dry or using moisturiser. Don’t forget to massage your toes as well.
Reflexology massage is fantastic for foot care. Check out this video on how to perform a reflexology massage on the foot. Follow along yourself, or ask a willing friend to help you out. Feet can be very sensitive, so make sure it’s someone who you communicate well with. Find that the line between “gosh that tickles” and “gonna be kicked in the face”.
Foot care is important in body therapy, which is why a full-body massage with Blys will include a foot massage. Every Blys therapist is trained and qualified in a variety of different massage therapies. Foot massage is a very popular request due to the sensitive and complex nature of feet, so consider reaching out to Blys for some foot TLC. Find out more about reflexology massage in a previous blog post.
Foot care exercises
Foot care exercises don’t require special equipment and can be very beneficial for your foot, especially along the arch. You can use a tennis ball on the sole of your foot to stretch out those ligaments gently and effectively. You can also use a tennis ball to stretch out your toes and massage your heel. Use a softball or golf ball if you want something with a big more strength.
Alternately, there are a variety of foot care products out there on the market to best help care for your feet. Spiky massage balls provide targeted relief on the feet by using texture and pressure. There are also bands you can use for your feet to stretch them out, like dancers and gymnasts do. If you’re serious about foot care, looking into some real equipment isn’t necessary, but it might be worthwhile.
Buy the right footwear
Ensure your socks are clean, dry and fit you. An ill-fitting sock can cause slipping or rubbing in the shoe, leading to blisters, dry skin or tense muscles (as your foot tries to grip the shoe better). Good quality socks can be found really cheap, so don’t overlook them!
Shoes are so much more than a fashion choice. Striking that balance between comfortable and stylish can often be tricky, and we know that a lot of people prefer fashion over function. But if you’re going to invest in footwear, make sure it’s comfortable. Always try before you buy, as shoes can be difficult to return for change-of mind.
Make sure your footwear has good arch support. Insoles can make a considerable difference to your foot comfort easily and inexpensively. Also ensure that your shoes fit your entire foot. This includes making sure your laces are tight enough, your heel is supported, and your toes are snug without being suffocated.
Exfoliate your feet
Exfoliation is one step further than cleaning. You can use a pumice stone in or out of the shower to chip away at hard, dead skin. Exfoliation not only removes those gross dead skin cells, but it helps stimulate blood flow, collagen and renewal. This means that new skin will grow in smoother and softer. You don’t need to exfoliate every day, but a few times a week will reap the maximum benefits.
If your feet are a bit too sensitive to abrasion, then try a foot peel. Simply slip these little masks on like socks and go about your business. Make sure you read the instructions and time how long they’ve been on your feet. Once you take off the socks, all that dead skin will just peel off like cling film. It sounds gross, but it’s honestly so satisfying. Your feet will be baby soft without any rubbing!