How to look after your feet
We stand on them, thrust them into ill-fitting shoes, expect them to carry us all day and don’t think about our feet until things go wrong.
It doesn’t take much to take care of your feet and they can feel, look and perform so much better if only we didn’t take them for granted.
The first thing to consider is our footwear, particularly for women.
Podiatrist, Andrew Walsh from Rectory Road Podiatry (HCPC registered) says the regular wearing of high-heeled shoes will lead to difficulties with your feet. High-heels for the occasional night out or short periods will not cause much harm, however, it is the constant wearing that may result in problems.
The Achilles is the large tendon at the back of the ankle which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. The constant wear of high-heels can result in the shortening of the Achilles tendon and Achilles tendonitis, which is the inflammation of the tendon, can occur if you suddenly change to flat shoes from high heels. This may even result in a rupture of the tendon and surgery may be required.
Andrew says this condition may be avoided by reducing your heel height little by little until it is approximately half an inch. Flats (slip-on shoes, like court shoes) are not suitable as in order for them to stay on your feet they have to be quite tight and do not provide any support for the foot.
What should we wear?
Ideally, we should all be wearing a soft leather, lace-up shoe with a cushioned insole and rounded front. Shoes such as good trainers are ideal.
Andrew states that if you look at how your whole body works, your leg and foot are not interdependent. Your foot movement is controlled by your calf muscle so if it is tight then your foot will not move the way it should.
A few tips
- To keep the range of movement and your foot supple it may help to stretch your calf muscle as this will lengthen your Achilles tendon
- Another exercise is to lean against a wall with one foot slightly forward and the other leg stretched out behind you. Ease your heel down gently and feel the stretch. Then change over legs. It’s good to do this several times.
Taking care of your feet
- It is important to cut toenails straight across or follow the toe shape. Try not to cut down the sides as this could leave a sharp and jagged nail which could cause an infection by growing into the skin.
- Wearing flip-flops or sandals can result in cracked skin around the heel. Andrew says that regularly applying a urea-based cream or one with urea and lactic acid can help.
When to see a specialist
There are some problems that you will need expert help with and so should visit a podiatrist or chiropodist. One of these is foot pronation. This is when the foot rolls too far inwards when we walk (flat-footed). Excessive pronation can cause shin-splints.
Andrew says that orthotics are the main treatment for problems with excess pronation. There are various types of orthotics, some provide extra cushioning and relieve pressure, helping to prevent hard skin and corns. Others are more rigid and are designed to reduce pain by helping the muscles connected to your foot to work. You should speak with a podiatrist about the type that is right for you.
Feet and diabetes
Good foot care is essential if you are suffering from diabetes. Pay Kalsi, Clinical Advisor at Diabetes UK says that people with diabetes who fail to control their glucose levels may result in excess glucose which accumulates in their smaller blood vessels and nerve endings in the feet. This may not be noticeable as damaged nerves mean you may not feel heat, cold or pain. This can then result in foot ulcers which can become infected and may ultimately lead to amputation.
Pay Kalsi says they encourage people to check their feet every day. If there is any loss of feeling or if you have any other concerns then you must make an appointment to see your GP. If you do have diabetes then an annual foot check is essential.
Our musculoskeletal centre is worth visiting if you would like to know more about foot care or if your query is more specific then you can find expert advice here.
All content on Silversurfers.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.silversurfers.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.
Have you got a health question?
We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a question of your own, their, "Ask the Expert" service allows you to ask the team of friendly, experienced nurses, pharmacists and midwives about any health topic and they'll get back to you with an answer as soon as they’re able.* So if you have something that’s been bothering you, whether it concerns you or someone close to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Click below to submit your query online.
* Nurses are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Midwives and pharmacists are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 8am to 4pm; and Sunday, 8am to 12pm.
Actual response time will depend on the nature of your enquiry and availability of appropriately qualified experts but the team will always aim to get back to you within 24 hours.
Please note that our Expert Help services are there to offer health information and support. They do not diagnose or prescribe, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice given in the context of an individual consultation.
AXA PPP healthcare
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!