Many people often overlook the health of their feet until they start feeling some sort of discomfort or pain. Aside from helping you stay mobile every day, your feet allow you to enjoy your favorite physical activities such as hiking and running. More importantly, your feet act as your foundation because they carry the weight of your body with each step you take. Despite their importance in your daily life, you may be guilty of only paying close attention to these body parts once you have trouble moving around or standing for quite some time.
For a lot of fashionable men, they consider wearing trendy shoes and men’s casual socks as a way of showing their feet some love. While this can certainly help these underrated body parts look and feel good, you need to do much more to ensure your feet stay healthy for the long term. If you’re searching for ways to take better care of your feet and avoid common foot problems, here are some habits you can start practicing:
Practice Good Foot Hygiene
To ensure that you don’t encounter any foot-related problems, you need to start with basic foot care. Whenever you’re in the shower, thoroughly clean and scrub your feet with soap and water. Make sure to dry them well afterward, because fungal organisms thrive in moist environments. By ensuring that there’s no wetness on your soles or between each of your toes, it will be difficult for fungus to grow.
In addition, learn how to properly trim your toenails. Cut them straight across using a nail clipper and smoothen the corners with an emery board or nail file. Avoid cutting too close to the skin or rounding the corners of the nails, as these can cause them to develop into painful ingrown toenails.
If you have a discolored, cracked, thick, or crumbling toenail, don’t cover it up with nail polish because it can make things worse. This could be a sign that you have nail fungus. Another cause of fungal infections is the sharing of footgear like shoes and socks with other people. If this is something that you do, immediately stop this unhealthy practice and go see a physician to help treat the problem. Remember to always wear your own footgear moving forward, too.
Wear Proper Footwear
It’s important to wear shoes that properly fit you. If you wear ill-fitting shoes, you can experience cramps and pain, and you may end up with ingrown toenails, corns, and calluses.
Calluses and corns are thick hard patches of skin. The former can typically be found on the soles of the feet, while the latter usually develop on the tops and sides of the toes. They can feel quite painful whenever you walk around or put on shoes.
Both corns and calluses tend to develop when there is too much rubbing against the feet caused by repetitive actions. This can also be worsened by wearing tight shoes or if the feet experience too much pressure due to standing for long periods. They can also be caused by performing certain physically intensive activities like running or various types of sports.
If you’re buying new shoes, do so in the afternoon to compensate for foot swelling that usually occurs much later in the day. When selecting a shoe style, go for a pair with a broad and rounded design that will give your toes plenty of wiggle room. Wearing thick socks can also help protect your feet from excessive friction.
In case you do develop corns and calluses, don’t worry. Fortunately, mild calluses and corns don’t require much treatment and will eventually go away on their own. If you want to make them heal more quickly, you can use corn pads to relieve pressure from your feet and gently rub the callus or corn with a pumice stone while you’re in the shower.
Select the Right Sock Materials
When selecting socks to pair with your shoes, pick ones that are made from breathable materials to keep your feet dry and healthy. Those made out of moisture-wicking fabrics are quite effective at absorbing sweat compared to cotton or wool socks.
If you have naturally sweaty feet, here’s a daily habit you can try. First, thoroughly wash them with antibacterial soap and completely dry them off afterward. Then, sprinkle some cornstarch or foot powder on your feet. It’s also helpful to frequently change your socks throughout the day.
Protect Your Feet When in Public Spaces
Public areas like gym showers, locker rooms, dressing rooms, and public pools are often home to the fungus that causes foot infections and leads to athlete’s foot. This condition occurs when your bare feet come in contact with the tinea fungus, and the fungus usually comes from other people or contaminated surfaces. Some symptoms of athlete’s foot include dry skin, itching, burning, scaling, inflammation, cracking skin, and blisters.
The worst part of this condition is that it can spread easily. It can start on the soles of your feet and spread to your toenails. If you scratch the infected area and touch other parts of your body, this can cause the fungus to spread even further. To avoid this, don’t walk barefoot in areas that are known breeding grounds for fungus. You can also wear shoes or flip-flops to protect the soles of your feet whenever you’re in public places.
Regularly Inspect Your Feet for Any Potential Issues
Don’t just check your feet whenever they feel uncomfortable. Always stay one step ahead of any potential problems by examining your feet at least once a week. Perform a self-exam while you’re in the shower or as you’re drying off.
Take a good look at your soles and between your toes. Check for any peeling or scaling skin, as these can be signs of athlete’s foot. See if there’s any discoloration on your toenails as well, as this can indicate the presence of nail fungus.
If you notice any persistent pain, swelling, and redness, don’t attempt to treat these on your own as they can make the condition worse. Instead, let a podiatric physician take a look at your feet and help you remedy the problem.
Don’t wait until you feel pain and experience health problems before you start caring for your feet. By adopting the aforementioned habits, you’ll ensure that every step you take will always be comfortable. Not only will these practices help your feet look good, but they’ll also keep your feet safe and healthy for a long time.