HAPPY FEET

The average, moderately active person walks around 7,500 steps a day. If they maintain that daily average and live until 80 (that includes me) they will have walked about 216,262,500 steps in their lifetime.  By 80 the average person with average stride will have walked around 110,000 miles, so it stands to reason that feet sometimes develop lumps and bumps as a result of all that activity!

I for one love to dress up and for special occasions pop on fashionable high heels. But those high heels mean our feet are constantly at an angle, which results in a shortening of the calf muscles (back of the lower leg) causing our legs to feel stiff when we take them off.  They also put pressure on the balls of our foot and weaken our ankles. Some shoes, especially fashionable stilettos can exacerbate many common foot complaints. High heels are not for every day if we want our legs, and back, to stay strong and healthy. But are flat shoes any better?  Many have very thin soles and offer our feet and ankles no support, and may change the way we walk, encouraging arches to drop and more strain put on our knees and back.  Badly fitting shoes can exacerbate many common foot complaints.

Up to 50% of women have bunions, which are caused when the bone under the first toe becomes displaced. The big toe tends to shift towards the smaller toes, resulting in a bunion on one side, and over time  two toes become crossed.   When it’s warm, the bunion can swell, become red and tender and this can impact on the way we walk. Don’t wear high heels, pointed toes or restrictive winter boots and shoes, which keep bunions enclosed adding to the pain.  Wear well-fitting shoes or sandals or try padding.

Proper nail care is a must, that bunion can cause an in growing toenail, when the nail literally grows directly into the skin. Often it’s the result of cutting the nail too short and not cutting straight across.  Redness, swelling and pain can  indicate an infection.

Oedema, a build-up of fluid and puffiness of the skin, is common in the feet and ankles, when fluid accumulates under the skin resulting in swelling,often caused by immobility and standing for long periods. Many of us have swollen ankles at the end of a hot day, particularly if we’ve been sitting or standing for a long time. Oedema is often temporary and clears up by itself, or you can help yourself by lying down with your feet up.  Ideally place your legs up on pillows to raise them above your heart, and take a rest. Taking exercise, even brisk walking helps pump fluid from your legs back to your heart, and watching what you eat, following a low-salt diet may reduce fluid build up. If feet and ankles stay swollen see your GP.