Feet take quite a bit of abuse, and some of that we cause ourselves unnecessarily. You probably know that running in flip-flops is a bad idea. But you might not know about some extremely common ways you might be contributing to poor foot health. Here are three things you might be doing to hurt your feet:
- Wearing the Wrong Socks
We all know the drill on wearing the right shoes, and avoiding high heels makes almost every list of foot care tips on the Internet. But we often pay far less attention to the important role that socks play in foot health. Socks are intended not only to keep the feet warm in cold weather, but to wick away sweat so feet don’t become too moist. Here’s a somewhat gross fact: Your feet produce about a cup of sweat every day. To manage that moisture, you should be wearing socks made of natural fibers such as cotton. Socks also prevent blisters and protect the toes.
- Putting Lotion Between Your Toes
Particularly in the winter, when your feet get dry, you should be putting lotion on your feet daily. Daily moisturizing of feet is an especially important part of diabetic foot care, as well. This will prevent cracks that can easily become infected. But what you might not know is that it’s recommended you skip putting lotion between your toes (unless it’s a medicated lotion recommended by a doctor). Having too much moisture in this area can allow the space between the toes to become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.
- Using Unnecessary Orthotics
When prescribed by a podiatrist (a foot and ankle doctor), custom orthotics can support structural abnormalities and allow you to continue activity free of pain. But it’s not a good idea to use store-bought orthotics without talking to your local podiatrist. You might think that the problem is one thing — high arches, low arches, etc. — but it’s actually very difficult to assess your biomechanics without special training. You may actually be throwing off your gait and making things worse. (Keep in mind that cushy pads intended to simply make shoes more comfortable, rather than provide support to certain parts of the feet, are probably harmless.) So if you think you have a problem with your feet, see your podiatrist instead of heading to the local running shoe store and picking out orthotics on your own.
Are you guilty of any of these foot sins? Discuss and share more tips in the comments.