Want to keep active? Then there’s one part of your body you mustn’t neglect!
We all know that staying active is important as we get older. It can keep us living longer and help us stay happy and independent. It’s also vital for our health. But there’s a part of our body that’s often neglected and yet without it, keeping active would be impossible – our feet.
According to a recent survey, three out of four adults admit to troubles with their feet ranging from blisters through to bunions. Foot ailments can make it difficult if not impossible for us to take part in activities that help keep us active and healthy. Podiatric surgeon Mike O’Neill, spokesperson for The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists sums it up when he says, “You can’t do anything without your feet.”
Although it’s true that older feet may develop more problems because the skin becomes thinner, painful and uncomfortable feet aren’t a natural part of growing old or something we should just put up with. A lot can be done to improve comfort, relieve pain and maintain mobility and it’s never too late to start caring for our feet.
Following a good foot care routine will help keep you on the move and should be as much a part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth. The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists recommends this simple daily routine:
• Wash your feet every day in warm soapy water (don’t soak them as this might destroy the natural oils) and dry thoroughly, especially between the toes.
• If you can see and reach your toe nails, cut them after a bath when they’re softer. Cut across, not too short, and not down at the corners as this can lead to in-growing toe nails.
• Any minor cuts or abrasions should be covered with a clean, dry dressing and blisters should be left to dry on their own. Do not burst them yourself.
• It’s important that you seek professional help if wounds don’t heal quickly. Wounds (sometimes called ulcers) should be assessed and treated as a matter of urgency especially if there is redness or swelling around the area.
Keeping your feet healthy is only part of preventing foot problems. It’s also essential that you wear good-fitting shoes. According to a poll of 2,000 women nearly four in ten buy shoes knowing that they don’t fit.
The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists also found that 37% of women would wear uncomfortable shoes as long as they were fashionable. They offer the following quick tips to remember when you’re buying footwear:
• Make sure you can wiggle your toes a little inside your shoes
• Try on both shoes and walk a few steps to see if they pinch or rub
• Choose leather uppers or materials that allow your feet to breathe and mould well to the shape of your foot
• Buy the right shoe for the purpose – high heels are not for walking distances
Last but not least, never ignore minor foot troubles. If your feet hurt, something is wrong! Symptoms such as persistent pain, soreness or redness are warning signs. You can prevent foot problems before they occur by visiting a podiatrist for advice on how to keep your feet healthy.