By: Aron Neelie
Feet. We walk on them, run on them, dance on them and still they continue to work for us. Most rarely get them massaged, rubbed or even lotioned. Some of us occasionally get them pampered and painted, but for the most part, they are extremely ignored; extremely necessary, yet extremely ignored.
We rely on our feet to get us from here to there; to never fail; to slowly shuffle when we want; and to scurry when we need. So why is it most of us take our feet for granted? Why is it we ignore such an important, attached, piece of ourselves?
As we age, our bodies change, including the needs of our feet. When we once ran around with no shoes, most wouldn’t dream of it now. We’d jump out of the bath and dress without properly drying our feet, but those days are gone now too. When we’d wear the same pair of shoes in 5 different colors, forget about it. And girls, never mind about the mules, stilettos, and wedgies; gone, gone, gone. Now is the time for action and care; before things really begin to happen. First of all, pay attention to your feet. They are the only pair you will ever have. If you have been neglectful, now is the time pay attention. It is never too late to begin a routine of healthy foot maintenance. It’s easy really. And you already have everything you need.
Begin with just checking your feet. Feet often feel pain long before the rest our bodies really know what is going on. The feet will reflect osteoporosis, meaning ‘porous bones’; arthritis; diabetes; and nerve damage. So, pay attention, as they are a terrific health indicator. How do your feet look? Well? And just what is well? Well. Healthy feet have a healthy color. They are lacking in lumps and bumps and have wonderful arches.
They have equal sensations, are pain-free, flexible, and keep you physically well balanced.
The skin color should be a nice fleshtone; which is refection of circulation.
To check your circulation press down on the nail of your big toe until the color turns white; let go. It should take just a few seconds, even 5 seconds, for the blood to return. Circulation is extremely important. Sitting for long periods of time with crossed legs will decrease proper circulation. Ill-fitted shoes, lack of exercise and smoking all contribute to poor circulation. When at all possible, put your feet up. If you are unable to put your feet up, then maybe exercise them. One nice exercise is to rotate them at the ankle.
First to the left in a circular motion and then to the right in a circular motion. Repeat a few times on each ankle. Another nice exercise is to stretch them by rising up on the balls of your feet and then bringing your heals back down to the ground and repeating this many, many times.
Also soaking your feet in a warm foothbath; jets, bubbles or salts, it’s all good for the circulation. The favorite means of circulation is by massage, preferable someone else’s hands, but your own are just fine and probably less ticklish too.
Arches should be watched. No one wants falling arches, but many end up with them. Wear shoes. Your arches, like any architecturally engineered arch, need support. The lack of wearing shoes promotes the “falling” of the arch.
Lumps and bumps and scaly skin. Sounds awful, but it is the norm. Bone Spurs, corns, calluses, dry-skin. Look at your feet. Where is the redness, corn, callus, etc.? Chances are they are in direct correlation with a tight, rubbing, uncomfortable section of your shoe.
Feel inside of your shoes. Feel how your feet fit in them. Are the seams maybe rubbing on a toe bone? Is the fit just a little snug is the wrong place? The corns will tell all. Pay attention to them. If you let feet become too injured, you may require a Doctor or Surgeon. Bone Spurs are from calcium growths on the bones of your feet. They are caused by ill fitted shoes; overexerting and causing muscle strain in the feet; standing for long periods of time. Sometimes using the drug store aides such as, pads, cups, wraps and supports will help; otherwise, surgery may be necessary. Bunions have been found to be hereditary. It is from the joints in the big toe no longer fitting together.
Sometimes wearing a wide shoe can help; wrapping or wearing a pad may also help to alleviate the pain, and eating anti-inflammatory foods to reduce the swelling. If the pain is too severe, as is often the case, physical therapy, and a Doctor’s care with orthopedic aides may be necessary. Corns and calluses are caused by friction and pressure as the bones in the feet rub against your shoes.
They can be removed sometimes: by just changing shoes; with drugstore pads; or by a Doctor. If you have corns or calluses, you may also want to see your doctor. Grooming Grooming our toes is very important. Dry skin and ingrown toenails can reek havoc on our feet. The best way to routinely remove the dry dead skin from your feet is not with a pumice stone, emoryboard, or other rough surface, although used for ages and popular, but to remove it with a washcloth. The aforementioned are too rough and will permanently remove skin, causing irreparable damage upon aging. To properly and non-intrusively remove dry skin use a washcloth while in the bath or shower; thoroughly dry off; and then rub balm or lotion on them. If you rub them at night you may coat your feet with your favorite balm and then put socks over them and really let them soak. You’ll notice a big difference and soon those sandals won’t be so embarrassing…
Ingrown toenails can easily be avoided if the toenails are trimmed straight across. This type of discomfort usually happens to the big toe and occurs when the edge of the nail grows into the skin. Some things to pay special attention to are: any change in color and/or temperature; loss of sensation or numbness for 24 hours; thick or discolored nails – this could mean fungus; cracks or cuts in the skin; scaling or peeling skin between the toes and on the soles as this may mean athletes foot; and any growth that wasn’t there when you were born.
Look, pay attention, wash and massage… Your feet and overall healthful feeling rely on the health of your feet.