We spend a lot of time on this blog giving you proactive tips for preventing foot problems. We also help you identify the signs of impending foot problems, so you can come in and seek timely treatment. Well, today, we’re doing something a little different. We’re telling you some easy moves to AVOID so that you don’t beat up your feet and end up in trouble.
Avoid These 10 Habits if you Want Comfy Feet
- Rocking Stilettoes
You’d be hard-pressed to meet a woman who doesn’t love the look of high heels, but if they are TOO high, they’ll cause big problems. When the angle of your gait changes that much, the rest of your body can change as well, leaving you with a host of problem, from heel spurs to bunions and so much more. Sounds awful, right? Well don’t worry: if you don’t wear heels that often, and keep the ones you do wear to under two inches, you should be fine.
- Sticking with the same kicks
Even if they are the most supportive sneakers every made, it’s a bad idea to wear the same shoes every. Single. Day. That’s because any pair of shoes will have put more pressure on some areas of your feet than on others. So, do yourself a favor: rotate between at least two pairs to keep feet from getting dumped on too badly.
- Confusing flats with good walking shoes
They may feel better than the heels you wear at work (please refer back to point one for more on that) but flats aren’t actually good for your feet. They provide you with absolutely no arch support, so if you wear them for any extended period of activity, you’ll find yourself dealing with serious foot pain.
- Choosing sides when it comes to your purse
Let’s face it: so many of us are carrying monster bags around these days: from lap tops to spare shoes to our kids’ entire snack pantry, we lug around a lot of weight! You might expect to experience back or shoulder pain as a result of this weight but, as it turns out, a heavy purse can cause foot problems, too. At least, it can if you always carry that bag on the same side. Why? Keeping all your weight on one side of your body causes a shift in that direction. And that shift puts an extra strain on your legs and feet, potentially causing inflammation and tendinitis.
- Skipping the moisturizer
You may think that dry, rough feet are normal—especially here in Chicago-land, when the long winters simply suck moisture out of our feet. But rough skin on your feet doesn’t just look and feel awful: if left to progress unchecked, your skin can actually crack, leaving you vulnerable to infections. To avoid this problem, try sloughing off any dead skin with a brand new, exclusive-to-you pumice stone while you shower. Then, when you’re out of the shower, moisturize with a thick lotion (some of the best contain urea) while feet are still slightly damp in order to lock-in that hydrating goodness. Just be sure to towel off the area between your toes afterward, or you might end up with a nasty fungal infection.
- Sleeping in socks
Yes, it can be tempting to keep those cozy socks on when you slip into bed on a chilly night, but your feet need to breathe in order to stave off odor and other fungal infections. So slip off socks before hitting the hay (and, ideally, after you get a sweaty workout) and always (ALWAYS) put on a fresh pair when getting dressed the next day.
- Hitting the barre too often
Ballet-based workouts and other classes, like yoga and pilates, are all taken barefoot. And if these are the only workouts in which you engage, you’ll likely be facing heel and joint pain fairly quickly. Build in some sneaker-required workouts to your routine: you’ll take a load off your feet and build up the muscles that support you while you move.
- Cruising barefoot on the home front
Just like barefoot workouts, pounding the halls of your own home can be a problem. Over time, hard surfaces like wood, tile or marble break down the natural padding in your feet, leaving your delicate foot bones to absorb much more impact every time you take a step. Ouch!
- Keeping your kicks on when you get home
We know we just told you not to walk around barefoot in the house, but that doesn’t mean you should keep on those outside shoes. It’s always a good idea to slip off shoes as soon as you get home, to avoid exposing your feet—and those of your family—to bacteria and fungi from the great outdoors.
- Pushing through pain
Toughing out foot pain doesn’t make you a hero: it sort of makes you, well, less-than-wise. When you consistently experience pain with movement, it’s a sign that somethings not right with your body. The sooner you address that problem, the more likely you are to find relief, and avoid creating a bigger problem for yourself!
So now you have our ten commandments for your feet, we’ll close by saying: don’t worry! If you’ve broken one or more of these rules, it’s not a capital crime! Just stop in and see one of our friendly Prairie Path podiatrists; we’ll get you back on the straight-and-narrow foot path in no time!