Given the amount of time we spend on them, it’s perhaps surprising that most people don’t think to take care of their feet until they feel pain in them.
If you consider that you may need your feet to support you for a whole century (maybe even longer), it’s a good idea to take preventative measures and not just wait until they give you some trouble. Here are our suggestions of things that you can buy that will help you take good care of your feet.
Shoes and trainers
Determining the perfect shoe can depend on what you’re doing. For example, athletes would choose a cushioned trainer to best support their feet whilst a hiker would look for a sturdy boot for all terrains and weather conditions.
Nurses and doctors, who can spend up to twelve hours a day or more on their feet, often choose a supportive, cushioned running shoe; however, some doctors recommend clogs, saying that their design and wide fitting accommodates the natural expansion of the feet throughout the day. They quote studies that show cushioned shoes to be less effective after six hours of continuous wear. Apparently, the material that is meant to protect and bolster the feet from impact becomes compacted after six hours.
If you’re someone for whom trainers would not be appropriate—maybe you wear a suit at work—then a shoe with a defined heel and supportive sides will be the most comfortable to wear for the whole day; a heel and solid sole will better support your arches. Don’t force your feet into an unnatural position, however; if your feet are squarer in shape, for example, a pointed toe design will likely hurt you after a while.
You can even purchase a special balm that stops your feet from ‘sticking’ within your shoes; it increases natural movement and can help prevent blisters—particularly good when you’re getting used to a new pair.
Many of us only think about moisturising our feet when the sun comes out and we want to wear sandals, sliders or flip-flops that could expose our dry, rough skin. Moisturising your feet regularly is a good habit to get into, even during the colder months.
It’s best to moisturise them after you’ve been in the bath or shower—this will help the cream lock in moisture, and the softer your skin, the more it will absorb.
A thick, emollient cream is good for rough heels, particularly when applied after a pumice stone has been used to rid the feet of dead and dry skin cells. Take care not to moisturise between your toes; if these cavities become too moist bacteria could grow and infections could occur, like athletes’ foot.
You can also buy creams containing aloe vera that can help soothe the skin on your feet if it’s dry or swollen, though it’s advisable to not apply this on open sores or blisters. Aloe vera is a natural anti-inflammatory. Creams containing tea tree oil also contain natural properties than can stave off fungal infections.
Products for those with mobility issues
If it’s difficult to bend, it can be hard to look after your feet. However, we found a flexible mirror that’s commonly used by mechanics to look under cars—this can be used to inspect your feet from a sitting position, and help you identify problems before they get chance to fully develop. On a similar vein, there are long-handled shoehorns available, which can help you put your shoes on properly if you’re unable to bend.
The elderly can find cutting their toenails difficult, but it’s much worse to leave them to just grow and grow with wild abandon. Visiting a podiatrist for this service is our best recommendation, but if you’re unable to do this, you can buy heavy duty toenail cutters that can tackle thick and/or long toenails.
Cleaning and massaging
There are a few different massage mats on the market that will help you keep your feet clean and your skin supple. They’re usually made of plastic or rubber and can be placed in your shower tray/bath. You simply move your feet across the soft spikes to remove dirt, and if you put shower gel on the mat, you will be able to create a decent lather with your feet to keep them clean. The massaging action will also help your circulation and the blood flow to your feet.
Natural fibre socks
Bamboo is just one material that’s renowned for allowing the skin to breathe, which makes them the perfect solution for socks. You can also purchase socks that contain Cupron, a copper-based fibre that can combat foot fungus and eliminate odour.
These are just some of the things you could purchase to help keep your feet in good shape. Maybe you know of more?