*The Importance of Foot Care*
By: Kachina
21 January 2006

What would we do without our feet? Thatís a question I ask myself often. There are many reasons for taking good care of your feet; the most important reason being your health! Here are some general (but important) guidelines to proper foot care:

-Wash your feet every day with soap and water, making sure to dry your feet well, especially between the toes.

-Make sure to inspect your feet daily (you may need to use a mirror to see the bottoms). Call your doctor for any redness, swelling, pain that wonít go away, numbness and/or tingling. If you have calluses, corns or bunions, talk to your doctor before you treat them.

-Use a moisturizing cream/lotion to keep the skin on your feet smooth. If you have cracked heels, be sure to talk to your doctor about how he/she would like you to treat these. (This is especially important for people with Diabetes; Claudicating problems)

-Itís important to keep your feet dry while wearing shoes. Extra moisture can be a great avenue for bacteria to enter into the blood stream through microscopic cuts/abrasions that arenít visible to the naked eye.

-Use powder on your feet prior to putting on socks and shoes to help keep them dry.

-Try not to go barefoot whenever possible.

-Have at least two pair of shoes and switch shoes every other day

-When buying shoes it is best to buy them in the later part of the day; when your feet might be swollen (this way the shoes will fit better if they are a little loose as opposed to trying to stretch the shoes because they are a little tight)

-When you buy new shoes break them in a little at a time (if possible) by wearing them for only an hour or two, over several day.

-Donít let your feet get too hot or too cold (be careful when using "foot warmers" as you can burn yourself if you have poor feeling in your feet and you arenít able to judge how well the warmers are working)

-When cutting your toenails, cut straight across. This helps to prevent ingrown toenails. Often times it is best to soak your feet in warm water prior to cutting your toenails.

-If you have an ingrown toenail, seek the advice of your doctor rather than correcting it yourself. In a SHTF situation when a doctor probably wouldnít be available to see you, you can trim your toenails straight across and then in the middle of the toenail that is ingrown, make a small "v" on the cut edge of the nail. By doing this it will allow your toenail to grow in more flat, thereby correcting the ingrown toenail by allowing the corners to grow out.

-Do not wear your shoes without socks

-Use caution when wearing sandals or open toed shoes

-Change your socks and shoes every day

-Buy good quality socks. Avoid socks with inside seams or cuffs around the opening of the sock. Socks should also be between Ĺ and 1-inch longer than your toes. I buy the "wick away" socks that are wool, cotton and polypropylene. They are more expensive (I pay between $5-$10 per pair; but they are worth every pennyÖin my opinion)

-Just like you check your feet every day, you should also check your shoes each time you put them on to make sure there are no stones, gravel, etc. that could cause a sore and create problems.

-If you have a problem with finding proper fitting shoes, you should seek the advice of your doctor before adding inserts; many people need to have shoes made to fit their feet specifically.

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