By Christophe Champs, founder of PODO Clinic and Workshop
Many people must wear restrictive shoes all day – perhaps heavy safety shoes or elegant heels to match their work attire or easy-to-clean plastic footwear. Your job might also involve standing for long hours, climbing an incredible number of steps while carrying folders or equipment, or even dashing between customers’ tables. In any event, your feet will be shod for a long time and under a lot of pressure each day.
Here are a few tips to look after your feet and legs:
Include stretches and manipulations in your morning routine
Your feet and legs will benefit from daily attention, such as stretching exercises and gentle manipulations. Here’s how to do this from the comfort of your bed:
Manipulate toes to prevent any toe deformations (such as bunions, hammer toes, etc.) from becoming irreversible. This can happen when joints are seldom manipulated.
Move your ankles to stretch the extrinsic muscles (those outside your foot, which are connected to your lower leg and help control the foot). For instance, doing the alphabet with the point of your feet is a good way to ensure a complete range of movement.
You can also spread your toes wide and push your heel as far down the bed as possible. As though you are trying to elongate your body and grow a few inches!
Look after the skin and nails on your feet.
It is essential to remember that the skin and nails on your feet need to be nourished, moisturised, dried, kept warm and allowed to breathe.
Use a cream that is specifically formulated for your foot skin, which is much thicker than that on your body or face.
Talcum powder is a massive game-changer. Use it in shoes when you don’t wear socks or between the toes if you don’t want to end up with the athlete’s foot.
Keep your nails short, smoothing the corners to make sure you leave no spur (which, once in your socks or/ shoes, could penetrate the surrounding skin and cause ingrown toenails and subsequent pain or infection).
Daily shoe care.
Rotating your shoes is always a good idea as, after 12 hours of abuse, they might benefit from a day off however, if you are not a shoe-shopping addict, spend your week in the same pair. Then make sure you nail the following tips:
Leave a wooden shoe tree in your shoes overnight. This avoids the leather crisping and cracking, allowing water to come in.
Polish in the evening. Polish products can make your footwear humid. While your skin and nails would prefer a dry environment for as long as possible. So, polish your shoes in the evening, then they will be dry when you put them on in the morning.
Check the heel and overall shape of the footwear. Surprisingly, this protects your feet, legs, and joints up to your neck. This is because any shoe that is out of shape will mislead your feet – your only foundation. The consequences will impact all the joints above the ankles, knees, hips, back and neck. And even if you have orthotics, they are pointless in a pair of shoes that misleads them. You will waste time and money, and they will not correct your discomfort.
Take a relaxing walk.
For better blood flow and to fight that common heavy leg sensation. Go for a walk at the end of the day when you are not loaded with bags or in a rush. Walking is the best exercise for both your physical and mental health. Walk hands-free (with a backpack, if needed) to allow your arms to swing and offload the body weight applied to your feet and legs.