Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

Put your best foot forward

Your feet suffer every day, follow the few steps below to help keep your feet in a healthy condition.

Did you every stop to think about the amount of abuse your feet suffer each day?

First they are trapped for long hours in a small dark cave called your shoe, where there is little room to breathe never mind move. Add to this is the pressure of all your body force pressing down on them with every step you take.

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Maybe it’s about time to step back, excuse the pun and stop taking our feet for granted.

Now that we have a level of appreciation for our feet, it’s time we start looking at what we can do to keep them healthy and strong.

Clean your feet
• Cleaning your feet often with warm soapy water helps to keep your feet clean and reduces the risk of infection from cuts etc.
It is recommended that you don’t soak your feet too long as it can wash away your natural oils.

Dry them well
• We all do it, jump out of the shower in a rush and just dab our feet on the mat or towel to dry
them.
If we don’t take the time to dry our feet properly it can lead to really nasty fungal infections like Athlete’s Foot.

Cut your nails
• I remember hearing from my doctor to cut your nails straight and never at an angle as this increases your risk of ingrown toes nails.
I took his advice after my first ingrown toe nail, they are not nice.

Moisturise your feet
• Applying moisturiser, especially to hard and dry skin, will help increase your foot health.

These are simple hygiene steps you can take to look after your feet. One of the biggest things I feel which helps not only my foot health but also my overall health is massaging my feet.

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Now I don’t go around getting foot massages our even use my own hands, but I do use a small ball (tennis ball, hockey ball or sliotar) and rub my foot up and down it.

This helps stimulates blood flow around the foot, the same way you would get a sports massage to increase blood flow and flush out all the aches and pains in your muscles.

The good news is you don’t have to pay anyone to do this. Just invest, find or borrow a small ball that will help massage the bottom of your foot. You can use different textures, strengths of balls or even grab a half filled water bottle and roll it up and down your foot, but this can get a little noisy and annoying.

Massaging the foot is a brilliant method for people suffering from foot pain like plantar fasciitis.

You can carry this method out anytime, anywhere. Have a ball at your desk, home or even in your bathroom and rub it on the bottom of your foot while you are brushing your teeth in the morning and night.

Other things to think about is the type and amount of time your feet spend in shoes.

Keep them out of shoes and in the open air as much as you can. This will help build strength in the foot, while also having a knock on effect on the rest of the body.

If you have knee, hip or back pain try walking about in your bare feet as much as you can and see if it makes a difference. I always try to train in my bare feet to help build strength and get more connected to the ground and my movements.

My next investment is going to be another pair of minimalist shoes – these along with bare foot running are a whole other article in itself.

For now, I will leave you with the above ideas to try out. And one other point, the down side of building strong feet is that you may also have to invest in new shoes, one size bigger.

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