Shoes provide your feet with comfort and protection. They can also enhance your appearance if you are the fashion-conscious type. However, shoes and other footwear can cause you a lot of feet problems and discomfort later on if you continue with bad habits that you may not be aware of.
You use shoes without proper arch support
Whether you are flatfooted or have high-arched feet, it won’t do you any harm to wear shoes with adequate arch support. In fact, it can do you a world of good as it can help to align your feet correctly as well as provide more comfort. If you experience persistent feet discomfort, you should consider seeing a podiatrist regarding the use of shoe inserts and custom orthotics. These devices can get the pressure off the heel by bracing the arches and lessen feet problems while walking.
Using the same old and worn-out pair of shoes
Why replace a still usable pair just when they’re getting to be comfortable, you may ask. Look at the heel area underneath your shoes. You will notice that one side is more worn and thinned-out than the other. This is a normal occurrence, as every individual has their own unique manner of walking. Some tend to lean more heavily on one side of their body. The weight is then transferred to and absorbed by the shoe’s heel. The downside is your feet and ankles will get injured eventually due to the unequal wear on the shoe heels. You won’t be able to walk or stand still in the normal manner.
You try on a new pair of shoes in the morning
The best time to try on new shoes at the store is later in the day and not earlier. This is because your feet tend to bulge slightly in later part of the day when the blood settles in the lower extremities of your body. For this reason, you should try on new shoes at around noon or even later when your feet have already expanded slightly. This will give enough allowance for the swelling of your feet in the middle of the day. By doing this, you won’t end up with a pair that’s too tight, prevent feet problems, and allow breathing room for your feet.
Feet problems develop when toes get squeezed tightly in narrow, pointy-toed shoes
You could be killing your toes by jamming and squeezing them in pointy-toed shoes. To make matters worst, they could be narrow pointy-toed high-heeled shoes. Do this often and you’ll end up with foot disorders that include plantar fasciitis, hammer toes, bunions, and nerve injury. Check out the appearance of the pair you’re buying. If the shoes end up to a narrow point that can crush your toes, then you might as well shop for a more comfortable (and foot-friendly) pair and spare yourself from future feet problems.
You tend to rush when trying on new shoes
While you should consider the right time of day to try on new shoes, you must also know that there is a right position and length of time to do it. When you try on a new pair, it’s best to do it while you’re standing. This way, your feet will be able to slide down and in, giving them the opportunity to feel if the fit is just right. Check how your toes are sitting inside your shoes. Make sure that there is sufficient space for all your toes to be comfortably positioned. See to it that the shoe has long enough forward space so your longest toe (generally the second toe) won’t be cramped. Now, walk around with the new pair for about five to ten minutes to be sure that you’re comfortable in them.
You fail to replace your worn-down running shoes regularly
If you run five miles for five days a week, you may need to replace your running shoes practically every month. That is, if you believe the traditional hundred-mile rule that states that you should replace your pair of running shoes after you’ve run 100 miles. While this monthly shoe replacement rule may sound expensive, it is worth keeping even if you should replace your shoes after more than a month. Due to the constant impact from running, the sole and cushioned padding of your shoes can get thin and worn-out. This can decrease the protection your feet get from your shoes as they hit the ground. You’ll need to replace your overused pair of running shoes if pain begins to develop in your feet, ankles, knees, and hips.
You shop online for your shoes
Shoes that are too small or too narrow can hurt your toes. Likewise, shoes that are too wide or too big can adversely affect the way you walk. The well-known phrase that “size matters” aptly applies to shoes. Some podiatrists disapprove of the habit of people buying shoes online. This denies the buyers of the opportunity to try on the shoes that they are paying for. Online buyers don’t have the chance to fit on the shoes to ensure they have the right size that will be comfortable to wear and walk in. Shoes that have the wrong fit can often cause blisters, feet problems and other injuries.
For some people, their feet aren’t simply an appendage—they’re a tool used to hone a very important skill. Whether running track, competing in team sports, or playing with friends for fun, athletes value their feet as a crucial component of their body.
Which makes suffering from heel pain that much worse. Heel pain can keep an athlete down while they recoup, keeping them off the field and on the couch in some cases. That can be extremely frustrating for a person who loves to stay active both for work and play.
The good news is heel pain in athletes is often treatable and is a short term problem. Here are a few things to know about what causes heel pain:
1. Growth Spurts
Young athletes may experience pain around the heels and ankles due to growth spurts. This is a normal part of puberty and is sometimes referred to as calcaneal apophysitis or “Sever’s Disease.” It’s simply the forming of new bone to accommodate the growth plates and it can sometimes put pressure or strain on the tendons, causing discomfort and pain.
2. Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a condition caused by inflammation of tissue in the bottom of the foot, especially the heel. The good news is that plantar fasciitis is easily treatable with rest, stretching, and ice. In addition, a new study shows that a unique combination of essential oils formulated to penetrate to the fascia resulted in dramatic symptom improvement in most of the trial participants.
Sometimes, with chronic inflammation and irritation at the site where the fascia attaches to the heel bone, your body notices something is wrong in your foot and sends extra calcium to grow more bone to address it, creating a spur. Heel spurs are a result of plantar fasciitis and not the cause.
3. Repeated intense impact
High impact activities like running and jumping can cause irritation or sprain to the bottom of a young athlete’s feet. If you’re involved in track and field competitions, or you’re a serious marathon runner, you may experience heel pain as a side effect of intense and repeated impact.
If the pain persists, it may be best to see your doctor to address the issue.
4. Stress Fractures
Finally, if your foot or ankle begins to swell and you have continued or increased pain with weight bearing on the bottom of your foot, you may have a stress fracture. A stress fracture is when your bone fractures from repeated mechanical movement as opposed to a sudden break. High levels of athletic activity can sometimes lead to heel pain in the form of a stress fracture.
It’s important to seek advice and care from your doctor for a stress fracture as it can turn into something more serious if left untreated.
Regardless of your chosen sport or activity, it’s important to remember that your body needs rest—and that includes your feet. You wouldn’t drive a car for thousands of miles without taking a break and getting a tune up. In much the same vein, you should be resting and stretching your body regularly after intensive athletic activity.
Proper stretching, supportive sneakers and potentially supportive inserts are good ways to ensure that you keep your feet as healthy as the rest of you. It may even be good to go for a pedicure and a foot massage every once in awhile. After all, you only get one pair of feet—you may as well treat them right.
Pop icons R.E.M said it best with their 1992 smash hit—everybody hurts, sometimes.
Maybe you have a headache from construction going on outside your house, or maybe you get headaches regularly and you aren’t sure why. Maybe the bottom of your foot has been killing you and you wish that little twinge would just go away. Maybe you have all of these small aches and pains you aren’t sure how to address and you don’t want to keep taking acetaminophen over and over again.
Here are a few essential oils that can help to soothe your aches and pains.
1. Peppermint Oil
This versatile oil can be used for various types of pain relief. It can be used topically for relieving tension headaches and research has shown that it can help with the stomach pain usually associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Keeping a bit of peppermint oil around the house may be a good idea if you’re sometimes simply a little achy and could use relief.
2. Tea Tree Oil
TTO comes from an Australian plant in the Myrtle family, Melaleuca alternifolia. It has found a long and successful history as an antiseptic for minor scrapes and cuts, relieving the itch from insect bites, and it is especially good at relieving the pain of minor burns.
3. Marjoram Oil
Herbaceous and sweet-smelling, marjoram oil is used for relieving pain and tension, much like other oils in this list. Notably it can help with menstrual-related cramps or pains as well as other types of muscle cramps.
4. Yarrow Oil
Yarrow is best used topically for its anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re having pain or irritation specifically related to your skin, then some yarrow may help. While you should absolutely always consult your doctor before beginning any kind of health regimen, yarrow oil has some potential drug interactions you should clear with your primary care physician before beginning use.
5. Ginger Oil
Ginger helps heal a lot of things when mixed into teas or broths, or eaten raw. However, ginger cooked into an oil and used topically can also help with physical aches like knee pain or arthritis cramps. The bonus to rubbing ginger oil onto any pain points is you’ll smell just like a spice cabinet for the rest of the day.
It’s important to note that regardless of the type of aromatherapy you decide to pursue, you should always check with your doctor before starting a new routine. Communicating with your doctor about the importance of aromatherapy to your health and finding the best way to incorporate it into your care will ensure you are pursuing the best and healthiest course of action for your needs.
Welcoming a baby into your family and home can be a really exciting time in your life. It’s also a time to be considering how you are managing your health so that your pregnancy can be as healthy and successful as possible. This means making a plan of care for all different aspects of your health, including preferred avenues and methods.
Some women prefer to use alternative care methods, like using essential oils for relieving or helping with some pregnancy symptoms. It’s important to note that you should avoid using essential oils in the first trimester of your pregnancy and you should never ingest them—only inhale or use topically.
As always, it’s crucial that you talk with your doctor, doula, or midwife before using essential oils during the course of your pregnancy. They will know the ways in which these oils could react with any other prescriptions or treatment you may be using during your pregnancy. Some oils can have adverse reactions with other medications causing complications that could be detrimental to your pregnancy.
Here is a list of some oils you can use safely, and some which you should leave alone until the baby is born.
Using lavender oil topically or via inhalation can help to relieve some stress associated with your pregnancy. It can help with sleeping through the night, nausea, and muscle cramps.
Ylang-ylang oil mixed with lavender can help with sleep and muscle cramps. You may look into using ylang-ylang on its own, but it can sometimes cause headaches if used in intensive quantities.
Tea Tree Oil
You should not use tea tree oil in your third trimester because it can induce contractions. But it is safe to use in your second trimester for soothing swelling or irritation topically.
Cinnamon oil used during pregnancy can stimulate contractions and so it should be avoided.
Sage oil can be used purposefully by a trained midwife to stimulate contractions. However, you should not use it on your own because you may make your contractions too powerful. It can also potentially cause womb bleeding.
Juniper Berry Oil
This oil can affect your kidneys and so should be avoided during pregnancy.
You often fret and complain about matters concerning your feet. You whine about the pain of plantar fasciitis. You can’t quit growling about the tendonitis in your ankle. You raise quite a fuss about the varied foot disorders your foot throws at you. If only they could talk, your feet will snap back at you about the way you treat them. Here are the proper feet care that they need if you expect them to serve you well.
Provide your feet enough room for comfort
You stuff your feet inside tight-fitting shoes. The crammed space bends your toes unnaturally and squeezes the nerves tightly, making them swell and enlarge. This is often an issue with people who have fallen arches in their foot. Since their toe joint lacks support, their nerve gets more strained due to the pressure.
Wear shoes that offer your feet ample space to breathe, as well as arch support to that provide comfort and stability. If you’ve tried on nearly every shoes in the store and you still feel pain, then your feet could be developing some foot problems. You need to consult a foot specialist immediately who would prescribe the right treatment and feet care.
Indulge your feet occasionally
Your feet could develop rough and thick skin from all the friction that goes on inside your shoes. During your bath time, you can gently scrape away the excess skin cells using a pumice stone. Gently rub the pumice stone on your skin, pushing in only one direction. This results in smoother skin surface as against rubbing in both directions which cause skin layers to split and regrow thick and scaly. As part of your feet care, treat your feet with foot cream or lotion from time to time. Use lotions with lactic acid and urea in their formulation as they are able to go deep down inside your feet’s thick skin layers.
Break the habit of crossing your legs
Crossing your legs habitually puts pressure on the peroneal nerve, which branches out of the sciatic nerve, on the knee area. This pressure can affect leg mobility and make your feet numb for a while. When you get up to walk, you’ll experience a tingling sensation which indicates the nerve recovering from numbness.
Warm your feet with socks at bedtime
Provide your tired feet with warmth and comfort by wearing socks when you sleep. The warmth offered by the socks will encourage blood vessels to dilate and enable heat to be distributed all over your body. With this feet care tip, you’ll get to slumberland faster and allow your feet more comfort and rest time.
Don’t stick to one shoe size
Don’t wear the same shoe size year in and year out. Using footwear half a size bigger will make positive changes in your feet. Your weight varies through the years and these changes affect the health and condition of your tendons, ligaments and bones. Women who have had several children are familiar with this experience as they have gone through carrying the weight of pregnancy several times.
Limit your use of sandals and flip-flops
Sandals and flip-flops are cooler and easier to wear, but they are not conducive for feet health. With flip-flops, your toes tend to exert too much grip to prevent your footwear from slipping off. This puts unneeded strain on your feet. What’s more, flip-flops and sandals don’t provide the required arch support. To aid in walking, the posterior tibial tendon depends on arch support. Without this support, pain can develop from the ankle and spread out to the inner arch.
Provide your feet with the needed support
You may think that you’re saving money on footwear by refusing to replace your old, worn-out pair. This sort of thinking can eventually damage your feet and cost you even more. The worn-out soles of your shoes allow stress to reach the bones and joints of your feet and cause you a lot of pain later on. Your foot is padded with layers of fat that help absorb shock and trauma. Wearing shoes with dependable soles provides your feet with extra support as the aging process causes these fat layers to thin out.
Keep your feet dry
Your feet tend to perspire a lot due to the thousands of sweat glands present in it. Keeping your feet everyday in a moist environment will turn it into a favorable breeding ground for disease-causing fungus. Foot powder, antiperspirant, open shoes, and wearing the right socks can help minimize the chances of sweat and foot odor from occurring.
Maintain your ideal weight
Your feet is a complex structure of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints that work in harmony when you walk or run. While going for walks is very good for your health, being overweight and having your feet carry all that excess load can be counterproductive to feet care. The extra load can put pressure on your legs and hips. This means that your feet will have to bear all that unnecessary stress.
While foot problems are year-round concerns for many people, summer is the worst time to nurse one. This is the time of the year when people walk a lot in the sunshine on bare feet. It’s the time when children do a lot of running and complaining of heel pain later on. It’s also the time of blisters, smelly feet, and athlete’s foot. Podiatrists love this time of the year when they receive a lot of patients.
We asked foot specialists their best recommendations for keeping your feet pain-free in the summer and any other time of the year.
Heel pain in children
Podiatrists treat a lot of children with foot problems mostly in the summer. Kids just can’t resist running on bare feet especially during play. They are mostly afflicted with heel pain when the growth plates in their heels become overused and inflamed. Podiatrists recommend the right footwear for the activity. Kids who love running should wear running shoes and not basketball shoes. Running shoes are designed with better arch support than cross trainers and other sports shoes. Podiatrists advice against using sneakers flip-flops, and sandals with thin bendable soles that don’t provide any support for most areas of the foot.
Possible cancer on sun-damaged feet
People who love to walk barefoot on a hot beach should make it an important part of their day to apply sunscreen on the top of their feet. Many foot doctors have observed the rise in incidence of cancerous growths on their patients during the past years. Podiatrists advice the generous application of sunblock with a rating of at least SPF 30 on your feet. It should cover the top area and the spaces between the toes.
Foot problems from the use of improper footwear
Numerous feet problems like plantar fasciitis and tendonitis can arise from using shoes that don’t provide enough ankle, heel, and arch support. The culprits are usually flat sneakers, sandals, flip-flops, and high-heeled shoes. If you must use them, podiatrists recommend wearing them only for a short time. They could be more comfortable and feet-friendly if they have inserts with arch support. Shoe inserts can fit into most any shoes and prevent foot, ankle, and back pain. They can also relieve some of the discomfort and pain if you have already developed them. Another preventive step is to do some foot stretches after each work day if you are prone to heel pain.
The pain and discomfort of breaking in new shoes
Your feet can be at war with that new pair of shoes you’ve just bought. As a result, painful blisters and other foot irritations can develop. There are special blister pads and bandages you can use to reduce the chances of injury. The gel-filled pads act to cushion and create a buffer zone to decrease friction between the skin and the shoe. Put these pads in the area where the shoe material rubs against the skin to prevent blisters from forming. You can also use them to cover an existing blister and protect it from further injury and infection. These blister pads and bandages are designed to be unnoticeable that you can wear them with sandals or flip-flops.
Blisters can be tough
Blisters are tough and can develop despite the best preventive steps. If they do develop, podiatrists vehemently stressed that you should never attempt to burst them to avoid exposing them to infection. Instead, you should apply a topical antibiotic on the blister and cover it with bandage. If the blister becomes enlarged, consult a foot specialist at once as there’s a chance it is infected.
Once your feet develops infection, your best step is to give it a bath of white vinegar or malt. While this won’t be as effective as an antibiotic medication, it will definitely alleviate the accompanying itch that can be very annoying.
The irritation (and embarrassment) of smelly feet
We really can’t consider smelly feet one of the major foot problems. However, they can be bothersome, not to mention embarrassing. Be sure to air out your shoes after each use. This will inhibit the growth and development of odor-causing bacteria as well as infectious fungi. If possible, buy another pair of shoes that you can wear alternately with the other pair.
How to prevent your feet from sweating
Never mind the bad foot odor it can cause, feet that sweat profusely can also develop cracked, scaly skin and fungus infection. To prevent your feet from overly-sweating, spray them with antiperspirant each morning before wearing your shoes and in the evening after taking them off. The aluminum component in the antiperspirant will stop up the sweat ducts and prevent foot perspiration.
Cornstarch and foot powder against athlete’s foot
Make it a habit of daily sprinkling the inside of your shoes with cornstarch, talcum powder, or foot powder. This will help keep the shoe interior fresh and free from fungal growth that cause foot problems. If your feet develops itchy scaly skin usually below and between the toes, and you can’t help but scratch it till it bleeds, chances are you have athlete’s foot or a similar infection. As a rule, don’t walk in your bare feet or wear flip-flops in locker rooms and public swimming pool areas. These places are favorable breeding grounds for infection-causing fungus and bacteria.