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woman practicing ways to keep your feet healthy

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We owe our feet a lot of gratitude, but do you care for your feet the way you do the rest of your body? For many, the feet are the last thing to get any sort of pampering. —And if you’re of a certain persuasion of folk, your feet may not get washed at all. That’s part of why National I Love My Feet Day was created. It’s a day to acknowledge just how important those five-toed beauties are. But, it’s not the only day we should be paying attention to our feet. Here are ways to keep your feet healthy, all year long.


Indulge In A Warm Soak

Portrait of a young woman doing a foot treatment at a spa

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You’ve likely had one of these at a spa, but foot soaks are easy to create at home, too. Just fill a clean basin or large bowl with warm water (hot water can cause dry skin, so stick to warm). Add some aromatherapy oils like tea tree or lavender. Soak your feet in there for 15 to 20 minutes. Afterward, your skin will be softened, so you can use a pumice stone to gently file at corns and calluses. This is also a good time to scrub your toenails to get them nice and smooth.


Avoid Tight Shoes

Closeup of an African woman getting ready for a workout in her bedroom at home. One fit female athlete tying her laces while getting ready to go on a run

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Shoes that are too small can cause calluses and corns to develop. Repetitive friction on skin causes the skin to become thick in response. Doing this on a regular basis makes the issue worse because the more corns and calluses you have, the tighter shoes become. Be sure to buy shoes in the proper size, and when possible, wear slides, open shoes or shoes with flexible fabric.


Moisturize Your Feet

Young african woman with cream for feet sitting on bed in morning

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After you get out of the shower, add a nice thick foot cream to your feet. You likely already moisturize your body and face, but many people overlook the feet. Meanwhile, the skin on the feet becomes incredibly dry and thin as we age, making them more prone to cracking and bleeding. One important way to keep your feet healthy is to keep them moisturized. This will keep the skin hydrated and more elastic.


Wear Supportive Shoes

Young woman putting on boots for traveling

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Remember that your feet are the foundation for your entire skeleton. Even the slightest imbalance in this area can lead to pain and posture problems. Be sure to wear shoes with a supportive arch. A good arch encourages proper weight distribution and absorbs impact from the ground on each step. This doesn’t just make for a more comfortable day in those shoes, but a life with less pain and posture issues.


Maintain A Healthy Weight

Woman stepping onto a bathroom scale

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Most people wouldn’t think about how their weight affects their feet. But your feet have to support your entire body, and any excess weight means increased pressure on them. This increases the risk of arthritis, and since there’s no cure for arthritis, prevention is key. One study published in the National Library of Medicine reports that there is a direct correlation between being overweight and suffering from foot pain – especially in middle-aged and older women. So if you want to keep your feet healthy, it starts with your whole body.


Don’t Wear Heels Daily (Or At All)

Disorganized Women's Shoes

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Heels might make your legs look great and complement your outfit, but they don’t make your feet – or your skeleton – happy. When you wear high heels, all of your weight is pushed forward, putting a tremendous amount of pressure on just your toes and the balls of your feet. Doing this on a regular basis can lead to major postural issues and pain over time. If you really want a height boost, stick to platforms or wedges. These keep the entire foot more balanced. As always, look for ones with a supportive arch.


Avoid Moisture Buildup

Feet in a bathtub

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If you wear socks on a regular basis, stick to moisture-wicking socks and avoid those that are tight around the ankles. It’s important that your feet can breathe and that they remain dry. Moisture buildup can lead to bacteria, which can lead to infections. For this reason, it’s also important to properly dry your feet before putting them in shoes. And, though moisturizing the feet is important, don’t put lotion between your toes – it gets trapped there and causes moisture to develop.


When To See A Foot Doctor

High arch foot, teaching model

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Even if you take excellent care of your feet, there are some symptoms that require a visit to a doctor. If you notice warts on your feet, do not attempt to treat these yourself. Warts are small clusters of hardened skin that are brought on by a virus, so it’s important to have a doctor properly remove these either through surgery, liquid nitrogen or prescription topical medication.

An extreme odor that won’t go away with washing or foot powder is also a sign it’s time to see a foot doctor, as this can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

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