Dr. Jeffrey Petrinitz has one basic piece of advice: Give your feet the care and respect you'd give any other part of your body.
``You should look at your feet every day,' Petrinitz says. ``When you're in the shower, it maybe takes 10 seconds. If you're putting lotion on your hands, put some on your feet, too.'It sounds simple, but millions of people neglect to do simple things - like dry between their toes - every day.
Feet should not only be cared for, but pampered, says Dr. Suzanne Levine, New York podiatrist and author of ``My Feet Are Killing Me!'
``The nerve endings in our toes and the soles of our feet are some of the most sensitive in the body,' Levine says. ``Aching feet can cause grouchiness, fatigue and even reduced productivity.'
For happy feet, try these tips:
Choosing shoes. ``When you buy shoes, get your feet measured every single time,' Petrinitz says. ``Different manufacturers use different molds, so an 8 in one brand may not be the same size as an 8 in another brand. Wear them at home on carpet for a couple of days to make sure they fit well.'
Don't wear the same pair of shoes every day. Also, alternate high heels with flat shoes to avoid stress on any one muscle group. If you do wear heels often, keep an extra pair of flexible, low heel shoes stashed in a desk drawer to wear while sitting at the desk, Levine recommends.
Stretch before exercise and choose lightweight, flexible athletic shoes with arch supports, insole cushioning, stiff heels with out-flared soles, longitudinal support and breathable materials.
Exercise your feet when they start to ache. Tap your toes, or try writing out the letters of the alphabet on the floor with your feet. Take off your shoes and try picking up pencils with your toes. Massage sore muscles in the soles of your feet by rolling each foot back and forth over a golf ball.
After bath or shower, thoroughly dry your feet, then use moisturizing cream. Clip toenails once a week, cutting straight across.
For foot odor, try spraying foot deodorant on your feet or spray underarm deodorant into your shoes. Wear light-colored or white socks or stockings made of all-natural materials, when possible.
Give yourself a foot massage. Use your fingers on the bottom of your foot and your thumbs on the top. Work your way up the foot toward the ankle. Massage each toe individually, pulling lightly as you go.
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