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Give your feet some TLC!

November 2017

happy feet

Feet are often underestimated yet they are just so important. These tiny platforms at the bottom of our legs carry our whole weight as we stand or move along.

Our feet each contain 26 bones and offer tremendous flexibility and movement. Even our big toes can bend and grip; in fact they are so good at this that they are often used as transplants for people who have lost the thumbs on their hands.

They also have33 joints, more than 120 muscles and an amazing 8000 nerves which makes them very sensitive – no wonder people react when they are tickled on their feet.

 When all is well, it is easy to ignore our feet; they are at the end of our body and usually just get on with the job.

But as we age they can start to cause a lot of problems. Our toenails often start to thicken as we age; this is because our nails will be growing more slowly which causes nail cells to accumulate. For diabetics, complications result in many sufferers having to have their toes or even sometimes their feet amputated.

Then years of ill fitting shoes can help cause a number of problems such as bunions.

For older adults, the most common foot complaints include bunions; calluses and corns; hammertoes (when the toe gets out of alignment), toenail problems and heel pain, especially from heel spurs or bony outgrowths or from an inflamed ligament along the bottom of the foot.

According to doctors, we don’t take enough care of our feet and we also put up with problems in our feet for too long.

There are some key tips on looking after feet, and these become especially important as we reach middle age and beyond.

According to the College of Podiatry, the top tips include:

Wash your feet often. A gentle wash in warm soapy water is best. The College recommends you don’t soak your feet as this can destroy natural oils.
Dry your feet well.  This is an area easy neglected, but  it is especially important to dry between the toes as this is where fungal infections can develop.
Ensure healthy soft skin.  Gently remove any hard skin or calluses with a pumice stone or special foot file, and then moisturise the entire foot except for between the toes.
Cut toenails carefully. Toenails need to be clipped regularly with proper nail clippers. They need to be cut straight across, not at an angle or down at the edges which can lead to ingrown toenails.
Buy shoes in the afternoon. Feet swell later in the day and to get the right size, it is important to try on shoes when your feet are at their largest. Small tight shoes are not only uncomfortable but also can lead to problems. Always make sure your shoes are comfortable.
Change your socks regularly. This can help to avoid foot odour.

As people get older, it is also recommended that they visit a podiatrist regularly. The recommendation is that for the over 60s, people should seek a foot MOT every six months.

Also, doctors say adults tend to put up with foot pain for far too long and this can lead to unnecessary complications.

With feet being so crucial is our everyday lives; it makes sense to give them some extra special TLC!

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