Standing for hours, walking on hard surfaces, wearing non-sensible shoes—that’s a day in the life of a foot. Feet have a lot of demands made on them and are often taken for granted until they start to ache and develop problems. This summer, give your feet the TLC they deserve.
Related: The ten best flip flops for summer
The human foot is made up of 26 bones, 56 ligaments, and 38 muscles—which translates to roughly 25% of the bones and the muscles in our entire body. And every day, feet absorb about 1,000 lbs. of force. By the time a person reaches their 50th birthday, s/he will have walked more than 70,000 miles. No wonder foot pain is the third most common medical complaint, with 80% of the U.S. population suffering from some kind of food ailment during their lifetime.
Here are some tips that are good for the sole and will help stave off pain so we can stay foot loose and fancy free this summer.
STEP INTO THE RIGHT SHOES
If the shoe fits…wear it! Treat your feet right by protecting them with proper, foot-friendly shoes. Unfortunately, some of the most popular summertime shoes are also the worst for feet. Here’s a rundown of the ones you should walk away from.
The Worst Offender: Flip Flops Fashionable thongs made of colorful rubber, sometimes adorned with rhinestones or flower embellishments, flip flops remain one of the most staple shoes of summer. They’re easy to slip on, easy to slip off, and—unfortunately—they also make feet more susceptible to pain and injuries.
Here are some reasons flip flops should not be worn, or at least not worn for any length of time. (They’re fine for lounging by a pool or at the beach, but not out pounding the pavement.)
- Flip flops offer no arch support. In fact, continuous walking in flat-soled footwear may cause the calf muscle to stretch, resulting in the Achilles tendon getting strained. Also, wearing shoes without support on a regular basis can cause knee, hip and back problems.
- Because flip flops are thin and flimsy, feet hit the ground with more intensity/greater impact, which is more jarring to bones and joints.
- Flip flops and other backless shoes cause toes to “over grip” in order to keep them on your feet, which can throw your gait and balance off kilter, increasing the risk of tripping by as much as 70%.
- Flip flops can aggravate foot deformities such as bunions and hammertoes, and also contribute to such painful conditions as plantar fasciitis.
- The thin rubber thong between the toes causes friction, which can result in irritation, blisters and abrasions between the toes that may become susceptible to infection. Diabetics should be particularly wary of wearing flip flops if they have disease-related neuropathy because they won’t be able to feel any irritation until there is a significant problem.
- Flip flops leave feet totally exposed, making them vulnerable to cuts and scrapes. In addition, their thin soles are easily punctured by shards of glass, nails, splinters, etc., opening the door to more injuries.
- Not only are flip flops typically not made in an environmentally conscious fashion, their rubber soles are porous, which makes them a breeding ground for funguses, bacteria, and other germs. This unhealthy environment can lead to athlete’s foot, warts, and other conditions and infections.
The Best Shoes of Summer
THE BETTER CHOICE: When it comes to easy and breezy summer shoes, sandals would be a better choice. But if you insist on flip flops, be sure to invest in a good, well-constructed, quality pair that offers support. The best: those with an orthotic foot bed, which are now designed to look more fashion forward.
Despite the health hazards, women are not about to give up their heels or flip-flops. Check out some tips for reducing the physical dangers of wearing these towering shoes.
- Make sure the heels fit well. Studies show that 88% of American women wear shoes that are too small. As we age, feet expand, so it’s helpful to have them measured periodically.
- For maximum comfort and best fit, try on shoes at the end of your day, as feet swell as you stand and walk around.
- Try on both pairs of shoes, as your feet may not be identical in size and the shoes may not be identical in size as well.
- Apply Topricin Foot Therapy Cream to feet before strutting out in heel to prevent the risk of pain and injury, and then again afterward to help relieve any burning, throbbing nerve pain in the feet. As an added plus, Topricin also soothes and moisturizes dry, cracked skin of the feet and eliminates “ashy heel.”
WHEN SOMETHING’S AFOOT
Here are other ways to keep your feet happy and healthy.
- Swelling in the lower extremities may be a sign of poor protein assimilation. If you suffer from swollen feet and ankles, try switching from meat, poultry and fish to more bioavailable proteins like whey and legumes.
- Elevate your legs for 15 or 20 minutes to reduce swelling. This is especially important if you tend to cross your legs, which hinders circulation and causes blood to “pool” in your feet.
- Diabetics often suffer from swelling feet, and have a tendency to have more pressure inside their foot which is said to be the cause of initial skin breakdown and lesions. The best course of action for diabetics to take is to see their primary care physician/podiatrist on a regular basis and keep their blood sugar under control. Elevating feet and icing them are helpful, followed by applying Topricin after the cold therapy.
- Treat your feet to a massage. At the end of a long day, a good foot rub feels great and does wonders for your feet. Look for a foot roller that is specially designed to massage the soles of the feet, or roll your bare feet over a tennis ball or golf ball.
- Soak in relief. Treat your feet to a nice relaxing warm bath with Epsom salts, which will help relax your muscles, reduce pain, and sedate the nervous system as well as help drain toxins and reduce swelling. Another technique that’s refreshing and stimulating is to fill one basin with cold water and another with hot. Start by placing your feet in cold water for five minutes, then switch to the hot, and repeat. What happens is this “hydro massage” alternately dilates then constricts the blood vessels in your feet, which boosts circulation.
Suggetions to Improve the Health of Your Feet
Exercise can help relieve your feet’s aches and pains. Here are a few suggestions to keep your feet in the best shape:
- A simple exercise is to first point, then flex, your feet, which helps stretch out the small muscles on the bottom of the foot.
- Stand and raise both heels up so that you’re on the balls of your feet, and hold for 10 seconds (repeat 10 times).
- Try scattering some pens and pencils on the floor, and pick them up with your toes, one at a time.
- Feet that have been cramped in shoes all day will benefit from this exercise in resistance: wrap a thick rubber band around all the toes (one foot at a time). Spread your toes open as far as you can, and hold for five seconds. (Repeat this stretch and release 10 times.)
- Sweaty feet are not only uncomfortable, but can lead to health issues because it makes feet more susceptible to infections. Most people do not hydrate sufficiently enough and their body temperatures will normally rise, depending upon their level of activity. Water also regulates your body’s natural internal temperature—which equals less sweating. In addition to drinking plenty of water, try using talc-free powders and natural deodorants, such as “crystal” deodorant, on your feet. You may also want to take your shoes off periodically throughout the day so your feet can “air out.”
- Apply Topricin Foot Therapy Cream evenings and mornings, and periodically during the day to maintain happy, healthy, pain-free feet. It targets ankles ankle and foot pain and contains fourteen natural medicines that support and assist the body by helping the subcutaneous skin layers of the feet to drain toxins and excess fluids from the tissues which increases blood flow and helps heal the damage that is causing the pain. In addition some the natural biomedicines in the formula have antifungal and antibacterial properties. Get more information at www.topricin.com
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