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Did you know that of the 206 bones in a human body, 52 of them are in the feet and ankles? Our feet do a lot of work, moving us around from place to place (especially those days we do 10,000 steps – Yes!).
When people lose the ability to move around due to foot problems, they suffer not just physically, but mentally as well. In fact, when your feet hurt you are less inclined to want to exercise. And if the foot pain is chronic, this could dramatically affect your overall health and well-being.
Issues stemming from our feet affect 8 out of 10 adults, ranging from an ingrown toenail, sunburn, plantar fasciitis, sports injuries and other chronic foot pain. Some of this we inflict on ourselves, by wearing ill-fitting shoes that rub and cause blisters, high heels, and flip flops.
Other conditions that affect our foot health may be an underlying health condition. For example, we have all experienced tingling or numbness in our feet, especially when sitting cross-legged for too long. The peripheral neuropathy could indicate something more serious like diabetes, kidney issues or nerve impingement, even autoimmune disorders if it is persistent and there are other symptoms.
We need to love on our feet, and make sure they are able to keep us ambulatory for many years to come.
What are some of the best ways to keep our feet healthy and pain free?
1. Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes
2. Wear socks with your shoes
3. Wear high heels sparingly, with a chunkier heel
4. Replace your running shoes every 300 miles
5. Repair, recycle or toss out old shoes
6. Wash your feet daily
7. Dry your feet thoroughly
8. Pumice off rough spots
9. Let your toenails breathe once in a while (no polish)
10. Don’t share pedicure tools with friends
To administer even more care to our neglected tootsies, make the following a regular habit:
Roll a tennis ball under your feet while watching TV at night
Do this yoga pose – Legs up the wall – for 5 to 15 minutes each day, when you get home from work, especially if you have a job that keeps you on your feet most of the day, to relieve tired, swollen legs and feet.
Do toe curls by putting a hand towel on the floor and using your toes to grab it and pull it towards you. To make it more interesting, put a weight (soup can) on the other end for resistance. Do this 5 times on each side.
Do an Achilles stretch by facing a wall, placing your hands on the wall and stretching out first one leg, then the other. Put one leg out straight and keep the knee bent on the other and keep your heels down. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds on each side, repeating three times. Stretching your Achilles tendon reducing injury, believe me, I know.
Soak you feet in Epsom salts (add a little lavender oil for an aromatic treat).
Massage lotion or oil on your feet, from top to bottom. Better yet, have someone else do it!
Try one or all of these tips to have happy feet!
What are your favorite ways to restore your feet after a long day? Post your comments here.