10 ways to be nice to your feet
Our feet have a tough job. We squeeze them into all kinds of fancy footwear, give them blisters, and ignore their aches. Yet still we expect them to take us wherever we want to go.
It may be time for a bit of foot TLC. Happily, there's plenty you can do to keep your feet healthy, pain-free and looking fine.
"Feet are one of the hardest working parts of our body, but they are also one of the most neglected," says Emma Stevenson, a podiatrist from The College of Podiatry.
"We also tend to put up with pain in our feet more than many other parts of our body. Many problems, if left unchecked, can become worse over time, so show those feet some love and don't ignore or put up with foot pain," adds Emma.
The changing seasons throw up different foot issues.
On the plus side, it's great to get air to your feet in warmer months. However, if you dig your flip-flops out as soon as there's a glimmer of sun, and wear them all summer long, your feet won't thank you for it. They don't give enough support if you wear them day in day out. This could lead to pain in the arches, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles pain.
The problem in the colder months is you hide away your feet in socks, shoes and boots. When feet aren't on show it can be a case of out of sight out of mind and you can forget to take care of them. They can get a bit out of condition through lack of attention.
Worry not! Here are some expert top tips to keep your feet looking and feeling good.
1. Wear shoes that fit
Seems obvious that size matters but apparently there's a bit of the ugly sister in many of us. Research from the College of Podiatry suggests nearly half of women have bought shoes that don't fit.
"The top reasons were - they thought they were buying the right size but once they wore them realised they weren't comfortable, they liked the shoes but they weren't available in their size, and because they bought them online," says Emma.
So instead of trying to squeeze into the wrong size shoe, be like Cinderella and make sure they're a perfect fit. Try shoes on before buying them. If there's a shoe fitting service make use of it. Also shop for footwear in the afternoon when your feet are at their biggest.
As you get older your feet may get bigger so you might think you're a 5 when you're actually a 6.
2. Check your feet regularly
Have a look at your feet regularly to see if you can notice any changes or issues.
"Common symptoms to look out for are yellow, brittle and discoloured nails which can be a sign of a nail infection, flaky skin which could be dry or red - which can be a symptom of athlete's foot, and any changes to the structure of the foot such as swelling where the big toe meets the main part of the foot – this can be a sign that a bunion is developing," says Emma.