During the course of an average day (that is, navigating back and forth between your desk and the printer and water cooler, and strolling around the supermarket) a moderately active human being takes 7,500 steps – that’s around 2.5km – and an active person 10, 000 to 12,500 steps, or 3 to 3.75km each day. That’s a fair bit of wear and tear on the old tootsies! We think they deserve extra TLC, so kick off those shoes and read on…
Did you know?
- Your foot comprises 26 bones, 22 joints and over 100 tendons, muscles and ligaments
- Sweaty feet? That’s because each foot contains 250 000 sweat glands, producing 500ml of perspiration daily!
- The skin on the sole is the toughest of the human body but is also remarkably sensitive, collecting sensory information from the ground which enables us to stand and walk
- Our toenails grow an average of 1mm a month and reveal a great deal about the general state of our health, giving doctors clues about iron levels and blood circulation, amongst other things
- One foot is usually slighter larger than the other
- Each time our heel lifts off the ground, our toes are forced to carry half our body weight – it’s no wonder they can feel tired or sore at the end of a day!
- In our lifetimes, our feet will carry us a distance equal to walking three times around the earth.
Despite the fact that our feet work hard, supporting our entire bodies, they come in for some stick – as we neglect or abuse them. Is it any wonder they look a little rough around the edges? Here’s what you can do to promote good foot health…
- Keep toenails short and clip them straight across. File to ensure that there are no sharp edges (which can dig into skin and cause whitlows)
- Scrub your feet thoroughly with a brush every day
- Use a pumice stone or foot file to gently rub rough areas – be careful not to rub skin raw!
- Use an exfoliating scrub a couple of times a week
- After showering, rub in a moisturising foot balm to prevent or heal cracked heels
- Have your foot measured to ensure you’re wearing the correct size shoe
- Limit time spent in ill-fitting shoes – pointy toes and high heels may look pretty, but they’re tough on our feet and our spines!
- Stay clear of cheap shoes – rather buy the best quality you can possibly afford
- Choose natural fabrics and materials for both socks and shoes – they allow your skin to breathe
- Fungi and bacteria thrive in moist environments, like in between toes, so pull off those sweaty socks as soon as possible after exercising! Dusting your feet in talc before you exercise or in hot, humid weather can also help keep them comfortable and dry.
- Walk barefoot as often as possible – it helps strengthen the entire foot structure
- Diabetics, though, should avoid going barefoot because the condition reduces the foot’s sensitivity, which can lead to injury
- Quit smoking – cigarette smoking is the leading cause of peripheral vascular disease, a condition which results in pain, ulceration and even gangrene and amputation.
- Foot problems? Contact the South African Podiatrists Association to find a podiatrist in your area. A podiatrist is a trained healthcare professional specialising in the care of the foot and ankle.
With spring – and open shoes – just around the corner, now’s the time to get working on those feet! Book yourself into a spa for the full foot works, or get cracking with DIY foot treatments: