Bone Health
Foot Care

Best Steps to Good Foot Care

Most of us don’t think about whether our feet are healthy – until they’re not. Especially as we get older, foot pain and problems can limit mobility and independence

However, experts from Harvard Medical School say that there are strategies to keep your feet strong and healthy. They offer these tips:

Manage your weight. Excess weight can affect feet by putting greater pressure on them. It can also up your risk of arthritis in the fee, the Harvard experts say

Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight affects your feet by putting greater force on them with each step. It can also increase your risk of having a condition like arthritis in the feet and worsen pain from other foot problems. Additionally, the Harvard experts say, it can put you at higher risk for diabetes or poor blood circulation.

Wear good shoes. One of the best preventive measures you can take for foot health and continuing mobility, the Harvard experts say, is to wear comfortable shoes. Occasionally wearing tight shoes or heels won’t cause permanent damage. But if you’re going to be on your fee for a while, pick supportive shoes. Do the same for any sports or fitness activities.

Moisturize your feet. As you grow older, the Harvard experts say, the skin of the feet gets thinner and drier. As a result, skin can crack and bleed. Choose a thick moisturizing lotion to rub into your feet after showers or baths as needed. However, the Harvard experts say, avoid the spaces in between the toes. Too much moisture there can lead to infection.

Practice good hygiene. Thoroughly wash and dry feet when you shower or bath, the Harvard experts say. Wash and dry your feet thoroughly when you shower or bathe. Cut toenails straight across to avoid ingrown nails, and use a pumice stone to gently remove calluses. If you wear nail polish on your toes, keep the nails healthy by letting them “breathe” for a couple of days after you remove it and before adding more.

Stretch your feet. Stretching the tops and bottoms of your feet can help you treat and prevent foot pain, the Harvard experts say. Don’t forget stretches for the Achilles tendon as well. People don’t usually think about stretching the tops and bottoms of their feet, but stretches can help you treat — and prevent — foot pain. Be sure to ask your doctor if these are right for you.

For more ways to preserve your mobility as you age, buy Mobility and Independence, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School. Click here to order.