I really do share about almost anything on this blog. 🙂 In today’s lesson, I want to talk about feet, your feet specifically but using my feet as an example. many of us don’t tell the truth about our health; some try to ignore it. One of those things we tend to lie about is our feet.
We need our feet if we hope to continue getting around. Sure, sometimes it’s our legs bothering us, but sometimes leg problems are caused by your feet; I’ll get into that one a bit more; let’s get started.
1. Always buy shoes at least 1/2″ bigger than what your foot is.
For almost 40 year I’ve bought 11 1/2 because that’s my foot size. It turns out that it’s recommended to always go at least 1/2 foot size bigger to give your toes room to move. Usually it’s the outer toe where, if you’re going to start developing any issues, you’ll feel it. Even your big toe in some shoe sizes won’t be happy unless you give it more space.
As a sidebar, at one point I was buying 13″ size shoes because that’s what the “experts” at the shoe store were recommending for me. Last year I decided to change that up, because I wasn’t feeling much more comfort. I decided I wanted a wider shoe… still with that extra inch… instant relief! Of course, because I walk to much I still go through shoes every 3-4 months, but it feels nice while I have the shoes on.
2. As you age, you need more support in the arch area in your shoes.
Regular shoes seem to be fine, but when it comes to sneakers many of today’s designs are built with more cushioning in them than support for the arch area, which can lead to issues, especially if you have flat feet or problems with your gait. Turns out I have both, as I’d forgotten I had flat feet and my right leg is 1/2 inch longer than my left (which supposedly is a common thing).
As a kid, I could get away with wearing Adidas sneakers because they had a high arch, which relieved a lot of pressure. These days I wear an orthotic in both shoes, which works wonders when I walk and helped eliminate a problem I’d had in my left leg for years.
3. Most cushioning you buy aside from what comes in the shoes isn’t helping you at all.
Podiatrists seem to get most animated when they see you’ve popped down $20 bucks for shoe cushions. They say it’s a false crutch of comfort we’ve been conditioned to enjoy that doesn’t work for 99% of the people that buy them.
I’d always purchased extra cushion, even trying that “jelling” insole once, because I thought my feet needed it. What he recommended is that unless it’s a cheap shoe, which he said never to buy, use what comes in the shoe because it was specifically tested to offer both the maximum comfort and protection for your feet. It’s that thing about having your shoes be a little looser so blood flow can occur.
4. Treat your heels well.
Adding to #3, it seems that we all concentrate more on the front of our feet when we should be treating our heels better. When we start noticing that our heels might be getting more crusty and such, that’s when we have to worry about neuropathy, which is when you stop having feeling in certain parts of your body. Actually, it turns out it’s way more than that; you could be causing damage without numbness, and it can start affecting other parts of your body such as your legs, your back, even your neck.
He does an interesting test on my feet, a sensitivity test, a process that began years ago. It started out with one prong on different locations of both feet. I did very well on that one. Then you had to feel two prongs on different areas of the feet; that one I had a lot of trouble with. I was diagnosed as having minor neuropathy, especially in my heels, but luckily he said it wasn’t diabetes related based on the first part of the test and said it’s probably because of insufficient footwear over the years.
Now… I can barely feel the prongs on either feet. That’s scary, but it also feels suspect. I can feel my small paperclip on my feet when I touch them. Maybe it’s bigger than what the podiatrist is using; I’m just not sure. I know my feet feel more numb than they used to, but I also feel pain lately, and the two issues don’t match. Here’s a major health tip, one that I’m about to do; I’m going to see another podiatrist for a second opinion (the other doctor wants to start a series of injections that insurance won’t cover; I’m looking for answers to both questions). Sometimes it’s good to get confirmation if something’s bothering you when it comes to your health.
5. It’s imperative that you cut your toenails.
It took me a long while before I started cutting my toenails on a regular basis. Based on our footwear, longer nails can cause us discomfort, if not pain, and thus we inadvertently start curling our toes, which then alters how we walk. Once we artificially start changing how we normally walk, that’s when problems start to occur.
Another lesson I just learned a month ago after reading an article is that you’re not supposed to cut your toenails into the skin area of your toes. In other words, you’re supposed to cut your toenails straight across to prevent getting ingrown toenails. I could have used that lesson decades ago; sheesh! lol
6. Look at your feet at least once a month to see if anything looks odd.
Most of the time you won’t notice anything different, but early on he used to notice things I didn’t… because I never looked. As a kid, I used to sometimes develop holes in my feet, which turned out to be blisters that grew inward; freaky. I had to go to the hospital on base to have a doctor look at it. We made some changes that stopped that from happening; I don’t remember what they were since it happened long ago, but I know within 3 months or so that wasn’t a problem anymore.
There you are, stuff about feet. The weird things I talk about because of the weird things that happen to me. How are your feet doing these days?
12 thoughts on “6 Things You Should Know About Your Feet”
Great advice Mitch. Thank you.
I have a great pedicurist just across the road from me and I use his services often. Such a treat to spend those 45 minutes being thoroughly spolit.
Rummuser, I tried getting a pedicure twice, and both times I got cut. Foot massage, yes; pedicure, never again.
Interesting and informative. Thanks, Mitch! I can’t stand having strangers touch my feet, which is too bad, because I do a lousy job of cutting my toenails. Didn’t know you were supposed to cut them straight across! Here’s a tip I came across that works well to soften and condition your feet: Before bed, rub Vicks VapoRub all over them, then put on a pair of socks. They will feel SO good the next morning!
I actually gave that a shot Debbie, and it worked during the spring when it was still relatively cold. But my feet don’t feel anything when it’s hot, like it’s been over the last few weeks. Still, I know I’ll probably be able to do it come autumn.
The plot is afoot! Thanks for sharing this useful information. I wore tight shoes forever until, one day, I decided to ask for “wide width”. That was the ticket! My Skechers are soooo comfy.
I wish I could wear any shoes I wish, but those days are apparently gone. Of course, a big problem I have is that I don’t have any proper dress shoes; if I get a gig the shoes I have aren’t sufficient enough for comfort. Sigh… lol
I am barefoot girl! I hate shoes, though I admit they’re a necessary evil outside the house, unless you’re right on the beach. Once, when I was a kid, the skin on the bottoms of both feet began to peel – leaving me holding two perfect footprints! (And very soft skin underneath. Maybe I’m part snake – maybe I was shedding my skin, not just losing dead skin cells!)
I have arthritis in both feet, so some days, I think I’d welcome “numbness.” But I have a bit of numbness in my right fourth toe, thanks to an unhelpful injection of steroids into a Morton’s neuroma, years ago.
Some of this advise may not work well for women (like going up a 1/2″ in shoe size or not buying cushioned insoles) because our shoes are made for looks, not for function-as-footwear. Ugh! I decided, when pregnant with my first-born, that my feet would never be happy in heels. I’ve been living in SAS “UBC” (ugly-but-comfortable) shoes and men’s New Balance sneakers for decades, now. For “ballet flats” I wear “water socks” with good soles (solid soles that are almost as durable as those NB sneakers!) F*** fashion! Gotta die with my own feet.
For blisters, I’ve recently discovered blister pads – the whole thing is adhesive, but doesn’t hurt the blister. It’s waterproof (mostly), cushioning, and acts like a second skin. Amazing!
Well, foot health and looking good doesn’t always go together. I got away with wearing cool looking sneakers in the 70s, but they also turned out to be the best shoes for my flat feet, since no other sneakers had built in arch support at the time. Occasionally I bought Converse when they looked cool (bought a red suede pair lol), but they didn’t last long as far as wearing them went because my feet would refuse them on my behalf. I’ve never been a barefoot person… thank goodness! lol
Oh, I know! But my dad’s trying to comfort me, as a teen, saying “a tall building needs a good foundation” wasn’t at all helpful when I was young and wanted sexy shoes in my size (now a men’s 10.5, after two children). NOW, I appreciate comfort and not being at war with my feet.
You and I have an opposite problem; I have high arches. Even after carrying two kids and increasing a whole shoe size, I have high arches.
My husband thinks going barefoot is aberrational, but I’d do it all the time if it were “safe” terrain. Not fresh asphalt on a hot summer day. Not a rocky mountainside or a dense forest with snakes. But a grassy yard, sandy beach, rain-soaked pavement on a spring morning? My bare feet would be so happy! Freeeee!
I went non-barefoot outside of the house from October 1976 to September 2004 (how do I remember dates like that?) when I was convinced to take a walk in the sand and walk to the edge of the ocean and let water touch my feet. It was the first and last time I did either of those things, and I’ve never looked back and hope I never think about it again. lol It’s probably something people grow up doing that allows them to embrace it. Dad has no problems doing it, but Mom and I did. I guess I had a more balanced mix of both parents than I thought I did. 🙂
Great tips! I never knew that I should be taking care of my feet on a daily basis. I will definitely start following these tips!
Most people never think about it all that often unless they get an injury. I wish I’d known earlier than I did because the pain I sometimes have now can be intolerable.