Our feet haul us through thousands of steps per day. Yet we cram them into pointy pumps, pound them on the pavement, and often tend to them last when it comes to self-care.
A 2014 survey shows that 8 out of 10 Americans have experienced a foot problem — defined as everything from an ingrown toenail to chronic foot pain. And depending on how long that foot problem lasts, it could potentially impact one’s overall quality of life and health. If you’ve got foot pain or even a minor skin irritation, you’re more likely to shirk exercise, for example.
Essentially, if your feet fall behind, so do you. “They keep us ambulatory,” says podiatrist Michael J. Trepal, the vice president for academic affairs and dean at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. “People unable to move about suffer numerous physical, psychological, and social afflictions as a direct or indirect result of foot dysfunction.” Even if you’re known among your friends as having dainty Cinderella feet, or the tall gal who jokingly refers to her feet as skis, foot health is critical. “It is not simply how they look but how they work that matters most,” Trepal says.
Learn more about the proper soles, hygiene, and other lifestyle choices to give your feet the support they’ve been giving you. Be a good friend to your feet by avoiding these harmful habits: Foot health 101
Don’t wear too-tight shoes.
Don’t share shoes.
Don’t share pedicure utensils with your pals.
Don’t hide discolored nails with polish. Let them breathe and treat the underlying issue.
Don’t shave calluses.
Don’t perform “DIY surgery” on an ingrown nail.
Do try the Legs-Up-the-Wall yoga pose after a long day or a hard workout.
Do give yourself a foot massage or book a reflexology session.
Do roll a tennis ball under your feet.
Do soothe irritation with a vinegar foot soak.
If you’re wondering if socks in bed is okay, as a hygiene thing or for general foot health, here’s the answer to your burning question: Yes, it’s OK to wear socks to bed! “They’re not a problem unless they are overly tight and constricting,” Trepal says of nighttime socks. “Of course, they should be changed daily.” But do keep in mind that chronically cold tootsies could be a sign of an underlying condition.