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Preventing foot pain

Foot pain isn't normal. Here are 8 ways to help prevent it.

An ounce of prevention

Foot pain doesn't have to be inevitable.Here are eight tips from our experts for maintaining healthy feet:

  • Avoid wearing flip flops for long periods of time. "If you're just pottering around, flip flops are OK," says Mr Papworth. "But if you're going to do some shopping, it's best to wear something that's going to be better for your feet." The same goes for high heels. They're fine for going out, but they're not the best thing to be wearing all day.
  • Choose shoes carefully, and ensure they are right for the activity you are doing. "Running shoes are designed to run in, safety shoes protect from trauma—choose the right shoes for the correct activity," advises Mr Malik. "Get the right size shoe for your foot, but still wear them around the shop for a few minutes before buying even though they are the right size. Makes differ in shape significantly."
  • Buy shoes at the end of the day. Your feet tend to slightly swell up over the course of the day, so it's best to try on shoes when your feet are at their maximum size.
  • Keep an eye on your feet. "Examine your foot carefully or ask a relative to if you find it difficult to get to your feet or see them," says Mr Malik. This is especially important if you have poor circulation or diabetic neuropathy as you may be less sensitive to foot pain.
  • Check your shoes for unusual wear and tear. Are the heels wearing out on the inside edge? It's possible that your feet are pronating and you might need insole supports to correct your gait. Are there swirl patterns on the front part of the sole? You might be heading for metatarsalgia, so make an appointment to see a foot specialist (podiatrist or chiropodist).
  • Pamper your feet. "Using an emollient cream on a daily basis will help prevent hard skin," says Mr Malik. "And don't cut hard skin off your feet. There are foot files that can be used to reduce calluses." Cut your toe- nails carefully, or better still, file them to prevent ingrown nails.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese puts considerable pressure on your feet, especially on the plantar fascia.
  • Replace your trainers. If you're a runner, the rule of thumb is that you should replace your shoes after 500 miles.
Reviewed on March 12, 2014

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