Foot Care

Taking care of those toes

About 4 million years ago, humans stood up to walk on two legs, and something new happened. Their feet started to hurt. The human foot withstands 1.5 times the body's weight in pressure per square inch every time you take a step, which increases to hundreds of pounds per square inch when you run. No wonder your feet hurt at the end of the day.

Pampering

A weekly pedicure will give your feet the pampering they deserve as well as keep them healthy and looking attractive. You will need a few foot care tools: a foot file or pumice stone to smoothen hard skin, nail trimmers, nail file, cuticle stick, cuticle cream and a good foot care cream. Here are some tips for pampering your feet:

  • To clean and soften hard skin, soak your feet in a foot bath or a tub of warm water. This will also make it easier to file down calluses and trim nails.
  • After thoroughly drying the feet, use a foot file or pumice stone to file down calluses. Callus shavers are available as well, but great care must be taken in using these. Never file or shave calluses down so far that you get pink or broken skin. Take note of where your feet develop calluses – chances are these will indicate the spots where your shoes aren't supporting you properly.
  • Give your feet a massage with a good foot care cream. There are some great natural foot care products that contain peppermint. It's a great way to relieve stress and will make your feet feel refreshed.
  • If your toenail cuticles are dry and splitting, massage in a cuticle oil or cream. You may use an orange stick to carefully push them back.
  • When trimming toenails, it's best to cut or file them straight across and not too short. Nails that are short at the edges could become ingrown.
  • You can then polish nails in your favorite shade. Use a clear top coat to protect the color from chipping and wear.

Footwear

Now that your feet are ready to go out, make sure they are in the right shoes. The right shoe follows the natural shape of the foot, provides support, and has a low heel with a rounded toe box. A toe box that is too small or pointy can cause pressure points that become calluses and corns and contribute to ingrown nails and pain. Too high of a heel can cause various orthopedic problems with your back, knees and ankles.

Most foot pain and foot injuries can be avoided by wearing shoes that fit well. Have your feet measured to ensure that you're buying the right size, and choose shoes that conform to the shape of your foot. Try on shoes at the end of the day, since feet may swell a bit during the day. Also be sure to stand up when measuring your feet, as weight-bearing makes them expand. You may also want to invest in foot orthotics to ensure comfort.

Remember, your feet take a beating every day. Just like you do for skin care, give them attention by establishing a foot care routine, and you will help them stay healthy and pain-free.

By Andrea Paulsen