Did you know there are 26 bones and more than a hundred muscles, tendons and ligaments in our feet? Don’t forget the 33 joints that hold them all together.
This picture isn’t my feet, but look at them, and consider just how much work they do each and every day of our lives.
Each one of those bones, tendons and joints can cause us problems if we ignore our feet totally.
Our feet have to support our bodies, so problems with our feet can very quickly make life very difficult for us in our daily walking. It can also affect how our knees, hips and back feel.
Looking after our feet is something that we should all pay more attention to. It’s far too easy to ignore them as they spend most of the year hidden away from view in socks, tights or enclosed shoes, especially up here in Scotland, as we don’t often have foot revealing weather to enjoy.
What can we do to look after our feet?
It’s not enough just to wash them when you have a bath or shower, unless you have one every morning and night.
Wash them daily. Washing our feet at night can remove any build up of grime that can cause them to be infected.
Wash them with soap and water. Soap and tepid water will help remove the grime that can irritate our feet.
After Washing – Comes Drying
Do you skim over the areas between your toes? Make sure you dry your feet properly, as the skin can easily become irritated.
Athlete’s Foot is a common condition that can very easily take hold if feet are not properly dried.
Cut Toenails Regularly
Cutting your nails straight across at the top can help reduce the risk of ingrown toenails, which often start when toenails cut at an angle push into the skin.
Socks and Tights
Change your socks or tights daily, to ensure you have clean clothes next to your clean feet and keep foot odour to a minimum.
Swimming Pools and Changing Areas
The potential for athlete’s foot and verrucas increases when you are using public showers and changing rooms. Keep a spare pair of jelly sandals or fitflops for walking around in areas where there are public shared areas.
Remove Hard Skin
The hard skin that tends to look white when it’s dry on our heels or big toes can be removed with a pumice stone or foot file.
Wear them as infrequently as possible. If you are going out for a special occasion, think about wearing sensible shoes to get there and get home again, which keeps the wearing of high heels at a minimum. Sadly, after plantar fascitis that persisted for over 2 years, I can no longer wear high heels unless they are spongy crepe soles, but I wish I had not worn heels so much when I was younger.
Common Foot Conditions
Foot pain isn’t something that anyone should ignore. It is a common problem and as there are so many potential causes of pain, even from something as simple as an ingrown toenail, it’s important that you see your GP for pain or discomfort.
There are some things we can do to help ourselves for the most obvious possible problems.
Take a long and hard look at your shoes. Do they fit properly? Is there enough space for your toes? Is there enough support where you need it? I spend most of my life wearing FitFlop shoes nowadays as I can walk for miles in them, but spare a thought for me when I had plantar fascitis and the only shoe option I had for day to day wear was a pair of Crocs.
It’s possible that muscles or ligaments have been strained. We often speak about going “over our ankle,” if we stretch or slip. It can be by accident, or by doing more exercise than our bodies are used to, and the muscles or ligaments are stretched or twisted.
The condition that is often giggled about, but is no laughing matter for those who suffer from it. We associate it with living life to excess with rich food and drink, but how true is that?
Gout is essentially a form of arthritis. Waste Uric Acid builds up in the form of crystals and usually forms in the toes. The toes become inflamed to the point of causing pain, which can be severe.
One of my kids and I suffer from these regularly. They are usually small wart like growths on the soles of our feet and they can be painful if they are on pressure points where our feet take the weight of our bodies.
I’ve found verrucas most painful in my heels and the ball of either foot, simply due to the pressure put on those spots. I’ve tried shop bought and prescribed verucca creams, patches and ointments, as well as the chemist bought freeze sprays, but nothing gets rid of mine until I visit the GP and she uses her stronger freeze spray a couple of times.
These are swellings at the bottom of our big toes that can be very painful to walk on. The big toe begins to point towards the other toes and makes the big toe joint protrude into a bony lump. One famous fashion designer who wears very high and pointy shoes seems to have a very painful looking bunion on her small feet.
Being careful about wearing inappropriate shoes might help with the pain. I am ever grateful I don’t suffer from bunions as they look so very painful.
This is a foot condition I have had the misfortune to suffer from. It is damage to the tissue that runs along the sole of the foot. It causes pain in the heel and can be as a result of wearing down the foot tissues by exercise or strenuous activities involving the feet.
It took two years for my plantar fascitis to be relieved. Mornings were incredible painful when I placed my foot onto the floor for the first time that day and standing up from any rest period was excruciating.