Happy New Year, Happy Feet

As busy parents on the go our feet are always on the move caring for our children, working and doing a variety of other activities. We tend to neglect our feet and just expect them to always be there for us. Most foot problems are caused by improper foot care, due to lack of attention and not catching a problem before it goes too far. Taking a preventative approach to caring for our feet is the best way to insure they stay healthy and feel good.

Feet have thousands of nerve endings and almost seventy acupuncture points. Massage is a good way to activate and stimulate these nerve endings in the bottom of your feet. I suggest to my clients that before they begin their day or in the evening they take a few minutes and roll their foot over a tennis or golf ball. You can also use your fingers and hands to massage your feet. To help relieve stress in your feet be sure to massage your entire foot. To loosen your ankles, rotate each foot 10 times clockwise and then counterclockwise. If you have the time and can afford, you can also schedule a 30 minute appointment with a licensed reflexologist or massage therapist.

It is a good idea to check your feet on a regular basis. When you are massaging or washing your feet look for sores, cracked skin and redness and don’t forget between your toes. If you find something of concern schedule time to see your doctor. The sooner a problem is noticed the better chance you have to correct it before it becomes more serious.

To prevent fungus, keep your feet clean and dry by washing them and changing your socks regularly. Also be sure to air out your shoes. Having two pairs of shoes can make this easier. Clipping your toenails straight across rather than to the shape of your toe and leaving them a little longer than the tip of your toe can help reduce the chances of getting an ingrown toenail.

Exercise can help the overall health of your feet by maintaining proper blood circulation. Schedule 30 minute brisk walks 3-5 times a week. Exercise can also help to keep excess weight off your body which will reduce the strain on your feet and minimize any unnecessary pain. When your body is overweight, the excess weight can break down the fatty tissue under the heel and create a very painful condition called Plantar Fasciitis. This is an inflammation of the foot between the heel and the ball and feels like you are walking on a knife. The condition is very common and is usually worse in the morning as it tightens overnight. Besides losing weight, stretching can be very helpful for this condition. Stand on a step with both feet, with your heels off the edge. For safety make sure you are holding onto something. Slowly lower your heels down and hold for 5-10 seconds and then lift back to the starting position, do this 5-10 times.

There are several things that you could consider purchasing that can add comfort to your feet and protect them from injury. Insoles or orthotics to help properly cushion and support your feet, proper fitting shoes as too narrow of a shoe can cause bunions or ingrown toenails and synthetic socks as they absorb moisture better than cotton which will help to keep your feet drier.

As you can see if you proactively care for your feet you can improve the chances of keeping your feet healthy and feeling good. This will allow you to get up and play more with the kids and do more of your favorite activities. Usually I say “get up and get to it”, but in this case I say “sit down, rest your feet and give them some care and attention”.

Be well,
Note: Please consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise, nutrition or health program.

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