Maintaining clean and healthy feet is an important part of personal care. By taking care of your feet you can prevent fungal infections like athlete’s foot and other common foot ailments that affect so many people. All that’s required is to spend a few minutes everyday cleaning and looking after your feet. Here are a few effective ways in which you can do so:
1. Clean them properly
One of the most basic things to ensure that your feet remain healthy is to clean them properly on a regular basis. Just washing them with water is not enough to clean them fully. The use of scrub or a rough stone such as pumice helps to wash out the dirt particles that get accumulated and stuck in various parts of the feet and toenails. A good method is to put a spoonful of salt in a bowl filled with warm water and soak your feet in it for a few minutes. This process has an almost magical quality that provides instant and immense relief to your feet.
2. Exfoliate and Moisturize
You need to exfoliate your feet without being too harsh. The dead skin accumulated on the feet can cause a lot of problems. An ideal way to get rid of calluses is to exfoliate. Use a loofah twice a day to get rid of the dead skin. However, nourishing and exfoliating your feet should be done every week. Here are some easy ways to do so:
Strawberry Exfoliation –
With two tablespoons of olive (or almond) oil and one teaspoon of sea salt, mash 6-8 strawberries and create a paste. Rub it over the feet to create a soothing effect. Leave this paste on for about 10-15 minutes and then rinse it away with warm water. If you prefer, you can replace the Strawberries with mashed almonds instead.
Orange and oil scrub –
This cooling scrub can be created very easily. All you require – two oranges, one cup of oil (any vegetable oil will do), and one cup of sea salt. Create a mixture of the salt and oil, and cover it all over the thick slices of orange. Rub this generously on the hardened areas of the skin. Leave this on for 10 minutes before rinsing it away with cool water.
These natural homemade exfoliating scrubs are perfect for softening very toughened feet, especially the heel areas.
3. Wear the right footwear
There are several brands manufacturing a wide range of footwear and it is important that you pick the right one for the right occasion. You may suffer from swollen feet after wearing a specific kind of footwear. The first golden rule is to buy shoes in the right size. Apart from the size, you have to ensure that the length of heels does not destabilize you. People with bad backs should not wear high heels that hurt the spine. One should buy shoes in the afternoon or evening when the feet are slightly swollen from walking. This will ensure that you get the right fit and size.
4. Regular exercise
You need to exercise to relax your tired feet and to strengthen your foot muscles. The best time to exercise is at the end of the day. Most people believe that just because they are ‘on their feet’ the whole day, they have exercised their feet.
Here’s a suggested exercise:
Sit comfortably on an erect chair and clench your toes, then relax them –do this 4-6 times. This exercises your ankles, keeping them supple and lean.
Next draw circles in the air with your feet. Move one foot at a time, first clockwise, then anticlockwise five to six times. This exercises your ankles, keeping them supple and lean.
5. Foot Massage
You can either seek the help of a professional masseur to give your feet the kind of massage that will help relieve all the pain, or you can just learn a few simple techniques and give yourself a foot massage as and when you feel the need at home.
There is a technique called “arch rubs” in which you massage the underside of the foot. There is another technique called “heel squeeze” in which you hold the top of the foot in one hand and the back of the heel in the other. After that, squeeze and release the back of the heel repeatedly.
6. Avoid going out barefoot
The feel of the sand between your toes may be hard to resist but it is highly recommended that you fight this urge and step outside with caution. It’s tempting to go without shoes in public areas like swimming pools or gym locker rooms and showers, but going barefoot can spike your chances of getting fungal infections. Be cautious at salons and spas as well and always be sure to choose a trusted clean spa or salon. In public showers, always wear flip-flops to prevent fungal infections.
7. Examine your feet for foot problems
Try to perform a basic foot exam on a regular basis or at least once a week. Take a close look at your soles and look for any scaling between your toes or peeled areas, discoloured toenails and anything else that may seem out of the ordinary to you. If you happen to notice any of the foot problems such as ingrown toenails, nail fungus, blisters, corns, or cracked heels; seek treatment immediately. Addressing foot problems at an early stage can help in keeping your feet healthy in the future.
8. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight affects your feet by applying greater force on them with each step. It can also increase the risk of having conditions like arthritis and worsen the pain from other foot problems. Being overweight can also harm foot health by putting you at higher risk for diabetes or poor blood circulation, which can lead to foot pain and loss of sensation in the feet.