When it comes to health care, we tend to focus on major parts of the body such as the brain and heart. There are obviously very good reasons for this – but sometimes this means we can neglect other important parts of the body, such as our feet.
Foot problems can actually jeopardise your ability to take part in physical activity, which could lead to obesity and heart problems. The NHS says that it’s especially important to look after your feet if you have diabetes as this disease can reduce the blood supply to your feet leading to a loss of feeling, known as peripheral neuropathy.
May is National Walking Month, so it’s the perfect time for you to focus on your feet. Here we look at some simple steps you can take to help you to look after your feet, enabling you to get more active and improve your wellbeing.
As tempting as it may be to totter around in high heel shoes, these can do long-term damage if worn day in, day out. Reserve your killer heels for special occasions and instead opt for flatter shoes that have plenty of support built into them. It’s also essential that you shop around and invest in footwear that fits you properly because wearing shoes that are too tight or too small can cause long-term health problems.
It may sound obvious but cutting your toenails properly and regularly is one of the most important steps you can take in looking after your feet. You should cut your nails straight across and avoid trimming too close to the skin or rounding the corners of the nails as this can cause painful ingrowing toenails. It’s also important that you don’t hide discoloured or cracked toenails with polish as applying this to an infected nail can make the problem worse.
Stay clean and dry
It goes without saying that it’s vital you keep your feet clean and dry as fungal organisms love moisture. Clean and scrub your feet every day and make sure they’re completely dry before you put your socks on. Opt for socks made of a combination of wool and synthetic fibres which tend to draw moisture away faster than cotton ones. If you’re particularly prone to sweaty feet, look out for shoes made of mesh fabrics as these are more breathable than leather ones.
Whether it’s once a week or monthly, try to schedule in some time to regularly examine your feet for any problems. Whilst you’re taking a bath or shower, take a look at the soles of your feet for any scaling or peeling between your toes, as this could signal athlete’s foot. You should also keep your eyes peeled for any discolouration of the nails as this could indicate that you have a nail fungus infection.
Podiatry and chiropody
If you do find any foot-related problems, help is at hand. Podiatrists and chiropodists are both a type of foot doctor. They can give you advice on how to look after your feet and treat common foot problems such as ingrowing toenails, corns, athlete’s foot and bunions.
By following these simple steps you can keep your feet healthy and pain-free, allowing you to be active and live life to the full.
Investing in a Sovereign Health Care cash plan is another simple way in which you can help keep your feet in tip top condition. From just £2.52 per week a health care cash plan allows you to claim cash back towards a range of everyday health care costs, including chiropody and podiatry as well as dental treatment, glasses, contact lenses, physiotherapy and much more.