Feet aren’t something we think about all that much, unless they hurt.
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Whether we walk all day, stand in one place, or park our feet under a desk, our bottom-most appendages really take a beating. Walking and standing puts a pressure on the assortment of small bones that make up our feet. Standing or sitting can cause poor circulation. Feet can develop callouses, blisters, dry skin, bunions, even places where the skin can break open and bleed. Feet can swell, have bad odors, and hurt. They are pretty important to us, since they get us from one place to another, as a rule. So here are some simple things to make feet happier.
- Soak in a basin of tepid water. This can soften callouses, dislodge dirt or dead skin that is hard to reach if you’ve grown a bit stiff and or sore in the course of the day. Add Epsom salts or ever plain table salt to improve the benefits. This is also a great way to soften up thickened toe nails so that they can be cut with minimal effort. (When I was a kid, I was absolutely fascinated by watching my grandmother cut her toe-nails. She had broken her foot twice as a child, and stubbed her toes many times while going barefoot. Her nails grew long and gnarled.)
- Lotion your feet just as you do your hands. Treat any place on your feet where the skin is broken with an antiseptic and a healing ointment. Alcohol or peroxide make good cleansers, triple anti-biotic ointment is good for treating the sore spots. However, if you do not have antibiotic ointment, coating the sore spot with a cream or ointment that will not come off right away helps protect the spot from getting dirt or debris in it.
- Always wear clean socks. If you have open wounds or sores on your feet, white socks are better than colored or black; sometimes the dyes can be irritating.
- Make sure your shoes fit correctly. If you are buying from a department store, take a pair of socks of the type/weight you will be wearing with the shoes, and be sure to try them on and walk around in them a little in the store.
- Avoid extreme fashions in shoes. Too often narrow toes or tall, stilt-like heels can cause cramping of the foot. When I was taking dance class, many years ago, the instructor explained that habitual wearing of heels cause shortening of the muscles in the back of the leg. Ballet dancers who spend much of their time dancing en point may actually benefit from wearing a heel, she said, because of the way they usually stand on their feet.
- Literally “put your feet up” when you get home from work. This allows better circulation, and gives your feet a chance to rest as you watch TV or have your supper.
- Spend some relaxing time in a hammock. Thanks to the way hammocks are, this is a good opportunity to comfortably put your heels higher than your heart.
- If you have a sedentary job, take a walk. Feet need exercise.
- Eat a healthy diet. Your over-all health will affect your feet.
- See a doctor if you have unusual or unexplained sores on your feet or if your feet frequently swell – particularly if the swelling is enough to cause a change in shoe size.
Take care of your feet…they help you go places!
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