FOOT CARE TIPS

  1. Don’t wear too-tight shoes.
  2. Don’t share shoes.
  3. Don’t share pedicure utensils with your pals.
  4. Don’t hide discolored nails with polish. Let them breathe and treat the underlying issue.
  5. Don’t shave calluses.
  6. Don’t perform “DIY surgery” on an ingrown nail.
  7. Do try the Legs-Up-the-Wall yoga pose after a long day or a hard workout.
  8. Do give yourself a foot massage or book a reflexology session.
  9. Do roll a tennis ball under your feet.
  10. Do soothe irritation with a vinegar foot soak.

 If you’re wondering if socks in bed is okay, as a hygiene thing or for general foot health, here’s the answer to your burning question: Yes, it’s OK to wear socks to bed! “They’re not a problem unless they are overly tight and constricting,” Trepal says of nighttime socks. “Of course, they should be changed daily.” But do keep in mind that chronically cold tootsies could be a sign of an underlying condition.

Many people have one foot that’s larger than the other, and if this is true for you, remember to fit your shoes to your larger foot. Shoe fit comes first when buying. Don’t rely on a pretty pair to stretch or the idea of “breaking them in” around the house.

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society has these guidelines for proper shoe fit:

Perfect shoe fit

  1. The ball of your foot should fit comfortably in the widest part of the shoe.
  2. You should have enough depth so that your toes don’t rub the tops.
  3. Stand up with the shoes on and make sure you have a half inch (about the width of your finger) between your longest toe and the front of the shoe.
  4. Walk around in the shoes and make sure you don’t experience any rubbing or slipping.

If you’re wondering about recent footwear trends, Trepal says cloth kickers, like cotton slip-ons or canvas sneakers, are fine. Just don’t wear them for running, hiking, or activities that require foot protection.

As for the minimalist running shoe craze, you don’t want to switch too fast. These shoes are intended to mimic barefoot running by encouraging a forefoot strike (the front of the foot hitting the ground first) rather than the heel strike that built-up or cushioned shoes encourage. A recent study shows this foot strike change can make some runners more efficient, but transitioning too fast from traditional to minimalist shoes could cause calf or shin pain.

Things to do

  • Don’t ditch your regular sneakers.
  • Go for a few short runs a week in minimalist shoes and see how you adapt.
  • Increase your usage of minimalist sneakers over time.

Wear your heels like they’re worth millions — sparingly

We might love the way heels elongate our legs and make us feel powerful, but when we wear them, we sacrifice our health. 52 of the bones in the human body are actually in our feet and ankles. High heels, which tip us forward, change the natural position of the foot in relation to the ankle.

Research shows that this sets off a chain reaction up through the legs and lower spine, which could lead to chronic knee, hip, or back pain. If you’re not willing to part with your heels, choose sensible ones and wear them sparingly. “If they must be worn,” Trepal says, “find a shoe with as broad a heel as possible to increase surface area contact between the shoe and the ground.”

Always inspect your shoes

No matter what types of shoes are in your closet, you need to inspect them regularly for wear and tear.

The “good shoes” checklist

  1. Replace your running shoes every 300 miles.
  2. Nice flats or boots can usually be fixed, but watch for cracking on the upper part, softening in the soles, and damage to toe boxes.
  3. Check high heels for the same concerns, as well as for exposed nails, an indicator you need a new heel lift.
  4. Check sandals for loose or broken straps.
  5. Repair, recycle, or toss out when appropriate.
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