Your feet take the weight of your whole body, so foot problems can quickly lead to discomfort and affect the way you walk. This can in turn cause knee, hip and back pain.
The good news is that looking after your feet can prevent most of these problems.
Investing a bit of time and thought into caring for your feet now can prevent them causing you pain later.
Wash your feet often
Don’t go to bed without washing your feet. If you leave dirt on the skin’s surface, it can become irritated and infected. Wash your feet every evening with soap and water.
Dry your feet well
Dry your feet thoroughly after washing them, especially between the toes which is where germs such as Athlete’s foot can easily breed. Then, apply a moisturising foot cream (not body lotion).
Remove hard skin
Gently remove hard skin and calluses with a pumice stone or foot file regularly.
Cut toenails carefully
Always trim your toenails straight across, never at an angle or down the edges. This can cause ingrown toenails.
Shoe shop in the afternoon
Shop for shoes in the afternoon. Feet swell as the day goes on and if shoes fit in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest, you can be assured they will always be comfortable.
Footwear tips for work
If you have to wear heels at work, wear comfortable shoes to and from the office and only wear your smart shoes once you’re in the office. Also, try to vary the heel height, between low, medium and high. Read how to choose the right footwear for work.
Limit time wearing high heels
Be shoe savvy. Wear high heels and pointed shoes for special occasions only, and always wear the right shoes for the job (so no sandals for mountain climbing). Read this survival guide to high heels.
Change your socks often to avoid foot odour
Change your socks daily. Read advice from the Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists on buying socks.
Watch out for foot bugs in communal changing areas
Wear flip-flops to avoid catching athlete’s foot and verrucas when you use public areas such as gym showers, swimming pools or hotel bathrooms.
Take care with flip flops
But don’t wear flip-flops all the time. They don’t provide support for your feet and can give you arch and heel pain if you wear them too much.
Foot pain advice for over-60s
If you’re over 60, foot care becomes even more important. Age takes its toll: your skin thins, your joints begin to stiffen and your feet become more vulnerable to the cold.
Not only that, but as podiatrist Emma Supple says: “Physically, it gets more difficult for us to get to our feet, and failing eyesight doesn’t help.”
Emma says: “Go to see a professional for a foot MOT every six months and never put up with foot pain as if it is normal. Your feet shouldn’t hurt.”