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Keeping feet healthy
January 15, 2014, 11:35 am

Healthy feet are an important element in ensuring a healthy body that allows you to feel good and stay active. Follow the suggestions below to avoid unnecessary feet pain and other problems associated with the foot.

Keep your feet clean and dry: Healthy feet starts with good hygiene. Thoroughly clean and scrub your feet with soap and water when you bathe. Afterward, dry them well. Any excess moisture between the toes can create a great environment for a fungal infection to begin. Fungal organisms love moisture, so depriving them of wetness will make it difficult for them to thrive.

Examine your feet for problems:  Perform a foot self-exam once a week when you take a bath. As you are drying off your feet, take a good look on the soles for any scaling and between your toes for peeling areas. That could signal athlete’s foot. Also look for discoloration of the nails, which could indicate a nail fungus. If you have diabetes, you should inspect your feet every day since diabetes leads to higher risk of foot sores and infections.

Cut toenails properly: Cut nails straight across and avoid trimming too close to the skin or drastically rounding the corners of the nails, which can cause painful, ingrown toenails.  Don’t hide ‘ugly’ toenails with polish. A discolored, thick, cracked, or crumbling nail could signal a nail fungus. Applying nail polish to an infected nail could make the problem worse.

Avoid sharing footgear: You can get fungal infections by wearing other people’s shoes, as well as socks worn by another person. Always wear your own footgear to help keep your feet healthy.

Head off sweaty feet: Your feet have sweat glands galore — 250,000 in each foot. Perspiration creates the perfect environment for bacteria to set up shop. Wearing socks that keep feet dry will help your feet stay healthy. Socks made of synthetic fibers tend to wick away moisture faster than cotton or wool socks. Also avoid wearing excessively tight pantyhose, which trap moisture.

Choose breathable footwear: To help keep your feet dry and healthy, wear shoes made of leather to allow air to circulate. If you’re prone to excessively sweaty feet, look for shoes made of mesh fabrics for maximum breathability.

Wear shoes that fit properly: Shoes that are too tight can cause long-term foot problems. Shop for shoes at the end of the day to compensate for foot swelling that occurs later in the day, and wear the same type of socks or hosiery you’ll be wearing with the shoes. Choose a broad, rounded shoe with plenty of room for your toes and a wide, stable heel.

Know when to see a doctor: Any pain, redness, swelling, or discoloration that persists should be checked out by a podiatric physician. Usually the problem can be cleared up with prescription medicine or a minor in-office procedure. Allowing a doctor to take a look will help prevent minor problems from becoming major ones.

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