Research from The College of Podiatry shows that nine in 10 of us experience some sort of foot problem, and one in five say they suffer foot pain often or constantly. Feet are the most overworked and neglected part of the body. Feet take the stress and strain through the ups and the downs of life and when we walk the pressure exerted on our feet is twice our weight. No wonder they complain! Foot problems can quickly lead to discomfort and affect the way you walk, and this in turn can cause knee, hip and back pain.
Many problems are caused by badly fitting shoes, and neglect of corns and bunions. Minor problems can become major discomforts which in the future may impair our mobility. Walking can be affected and without proper care and attention, physical independence is threatened. Ensure you buy shoes that fit well with a snug heel and instep. Allow a ½ inch space from tip of your toes to end of shoe. Shoes with straps or laces across the instep are more comfortable and secure for everyday wear, I keep my heels for high days and holidays. My top tip is to buy shoes in the afternoon when my feet are warm and have swelled a little, ensuring new shoes are not too tight or too small.
Socks or tights with elasticised hold-up tops can be harmful to legs and feet, by restricting circulation of blood to and from ankles and feet. Particular attention is needed if you already suffer from varicose veins. Tired legs and feet can leave you feeling weary making life more of an effort. Wearing support tights helps prevent tired, aching legs and today’s modern graduated support hosiery is light, stylish, and in attractive colours, including natural. Support hosiery works efficiently by fitting tightly at the ankle, encouraging blood to flow back to the heart, instead of ‘pooling’ around the ankles and feet. More expensive than everyday tights your GP may prescribe them for you, or they can be bought over the counter from reputable chemists. Some high street chemists also have a fitting service with foot specialists available.
For your health’s sake it’s essential to take adequate exercise, because the calf muscles at the back of the leg act as a pump when we exercise, helping the blood flowing into the lower leg back up towards your heart. Resting with your legs up high (feet above heart level) can improve your circulation, and is especially helpful if you’ve varicose veins and leg ulcers. Don’t sit with your legs crossed because this hinders circulation and encourages varicose veins. Circling your ankles and curling your toes encourages circulation and maintains foot mobility.
Keep your feet clean to prevent infection and use talcum powder sparingly. If you’ve moist feet ensure you wear socks made from natural fibres such as cotton or wool, which absorb moisture.