• 21st October 2013 - By David

    The feet play one of the most important roles in everyday function, but often get overlooked when it comes to daily care. The feet are the foundation of the body, they provide stability when standing and allow basic movements like walking or running. As the feet bear the brunt of body weight, and often spend a lot of time cooped up in a pair of shoes, daily care of the feet and periodic orthopedic care remains necessary to prevent a wide range of foot ailments.

    Cleaning
    Feet need cleaned on a daily basis, paying special attention to the bottoms of the feet and the areas between the toes. Time spent in shoes traps moisture, creating the perfect conditions for bacteria and fungi to thrive and grow, especially between the toes. Wash the feet in warm, not hot water, as too hot of water can dry out the skin.

    Moisture Control
    Just as important as cleaning the feet is making sure they are completely dry after cleaning. Carefully towel dry the feet, especially the areas located between the toes. Placing wet feet in socks or shoes increases the risks of common bacteria and fungal infections, including athlete’s foot. For extra protection, apply cornstarch or foot powder to further keep the feet dry throughout the day.

    Socks and Shoes
    Proper footwear is just as important in daily foot care as regular cleaning. Poorly fitted shoes can cause the ends and seams of the shoe to rub up against the skin, causing irritation, and even breaking the skin in some cases. This rubbing is especially dangerous for those with diabetes. An orthopedic care doctor can recommend shoes for those that need additional care. Change into clean socks each day as the sock is constantly pressed directly against the skin. Choose 100 percent cotton socks when possible, as these allow the feet to breathe, as well as wick away moisture from the skin.

    Nails
    Keep nails properly trimmed to maintain foot health and prevent ingrown toenails and the accompanying risks of infection. To trim the toe nails, cut straight across with a quality pair of toe nail clippers. The straight cut helps direct the nail growth and prevents the nail from growing into the skin. Take care not to cut too much of the nail off, as this can leave the nail bed exposed, causing pain and discomfort.

    Exercise
    It may seem counter-intuitive to put additional pressure on the feet in order to take care of the feet, but like other tissues structures in the body, feet require exercise to maintain strength and flexibility. Simple walking and periodic stretching can help the muscles stay strong and maintains both ligament and tendon flexibility.

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