This may seem obvious, but you’ve only got two feet. And those feet have to last you a lifetime – in fact, they have to last you on average 75,000 miles by the time you are 50 years old. Imagine that. No matter how tall, slight or robust your body frame, your two feet, supported by two ankles, do it all.
Now we bet you’re thinking you should give those feet some tender loving care! This is especially true during the summer months when you may be going barefoot or wearing sandals while you walk on hot, dry pavement.
With proper detection, intervention, and care, most foot and ankle problems can be lessened or prevented.
- You can seriously sunburn your feet lying on a dock or beach. Slather on the sunscreen, tops, soles and ankles.
- Limit walking barefoot even though it feels great. You’ll prevent foot injuries and limit your exposure to contagious conditions such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and other infections. This especially applies to when you’re at a resort, hotel or in a locker room. Wear flip flops (that are your own).
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This minimizes foot swelling caused by the heat.
- Keep blood flowing. If sitting more than an hour, stretch your calves, wiggle and then crunch up your toes, move your ankles back and forth.
- At the end of the day, give them a wash – ideally a soak in warm water. Add a few drops of peppermint for an extra bit of refreshment. Massage your toes and the bottoms of your feet, dry and then apply a rich foot cream.
- Your feet have 250,000 sweat glands that excrete half your body’s moisture each day – a good reason to wash your feet every day!
- Keep your toenails trimmed – a straight cut to avoid ingrown nails. If you are prone to bunions and callous, rub regularly with a pumice stone. Consider an occasional pedicure. It is amazing how long a good pedicure lasts.
- If vacationing near water, have an extra pair of sneakers or protective water shoes on hand in case the shoreline is rocky or slippery.
- Women, consider toe polish. It helps protect your nails when you’re wearing sandals. Men, consider a clear polish – same idea.
- Wear shoes suitable for what you are doing! (see next list of tips)
Pick the right shoe for the right activity
- Walking a lot: A good walking shoe, athletic shoe, hiking boot or if you insist on a sandal, select one with arch support and a cushioned sole.
- Playing a sport: Basketball shoes are designed differently than tennis shoes. Runners need a different shoe that helps support their knees. Ask for advice and pick the right one. Your feet and your ankles will thank you.
- Standing a lot: Again, select a shoe that has good support (you can’t wiggle your ankles around while wearing them). Assess how long you’ll be standing. If you’re on your feet all day, you probably can’t wear a heel higher than an inch. If you’re standing 1-2 hours, you can go up a couple of inches.
- Making a “shoe impact”: If you do wear fancy shoes, including heels, plan to wear them for a limited time, for example, one hour.