Your feet are among the hardest-working parts of your body. Just think about how, throughout the day, you are mostly on your feet moving about your daily business or exerting additional pressure on them, especially if you engage in sports or strenuous activities. While nature was wise enough to design it sturdily with 26 bones, 33 joints, a complex network of more than one hundred muscles, as well as numerous ligaments and tendons, it does not mean that your feet are impervious to injury and pain.

In fact, you may have realized from experience that your feet are among the first to feel discomfort after heavy physical work. Thus, it is important that you take good care of them and not to abuse them. This is so that you may look forward to many more years of comfortable movement and an active lifestyle even as you age. If you are wondering how to do so, here are some easy steps that you can follow to have healthier feet.

Clean Your Feet Daily

Just as you take a bath every day to keep your body clean and free from dirt and sweat, so must you pay special attention to your feet. They are prone to developing skin diseases such as fungal infections since most of the time, you may be wearing socks and shoes that trap moisture and serve as a breeding ground for unwanted microorganisms. A good way to clean your feet is to use lukewarm water with soap. You may employ a sponge or washcloth to ensure that you get to the spaces between your toes. Afterward, ensure that you dry your feet well. You might also want to consider getting antimicrobial socks, which are made of fabrics that are specially treated so that bacteria and fungus don’t thrive on them.

Cut Your Toenails Regularly

A busy lifestyle is no excuse to allow your nails to grow overly long. Apart from being unsightly, long nails also tend to harbor a lot of dirt on the underside while also posing a risk for injury to yourself and others. Be sure to cut your toenails along with your fingernails when they grow to a noticeable length. It is ideal to expend a bit of additional effort to file them down so the edges are smooth and they do not snag on clothes or other surfaces. If you don’t have the time or inclination to cut your own nails, it’s not a bad idea at all to have a pedicure so that your feet can have a bit of pampering as well.

Inspect Your Feet Often

While taking a bath or cleaning your feet, spend some time to find any injuries or irregularities such as swollen or inflamed skin, rashes, cuts, bruises, blisters, and the like. It’s not wise to ignore these as they may be indications of more serious, underlying health problems. Diabetes is one such critical illness that usually manifests as wounds on your feet that do not heal properly or immediately, due to reduced flow of blood to your extremities. Elevated blood sugar levels may also result to damage to your nerves, which might make your feet feel numb or unresponsive.

Moisturize Your Feet Properly

Since your feet are often in contact with the ground, it takes a lot of beating on a daily basis. Thus, the skin on your feet tends to develop calluses or rough patches of thick, dry skin. A visit to the foot spa can help remove these calluses and dead skin. To prevent them in the first place, you can apply moisturizing lotion, especially at night before going to bed. Some people also swear that slathering on petroleum jelly and wearing socks while sleeping leads to soft and supple heels on their feet.

Avoid Wearing Ill-Fitting Shoes

Your feet can be injured if you do not wear the right size of shoes. You might experience painful blisters or develop bunions over time. Some women are especially prone to pain and discomfort in the feet because of wearing high-heeled stilettos. If you must wear them, try to relax your feet once in a while by slipping them off and raising your legs to allow better blood circulation. You might also want to utilize shoe pads or inserts that can help cushion and protect your feet. It is also important to wear the right type of shoes for the kind of activity you are engaging in, such as athletic shoes or sneakers when exercising in the gym, or hiking boots when going out for a trek in the mountains.

You might be taking your feet for granted often, but now that you know how valuable they are to your mobility and overall physical fitness, won’t you take the time and effort to take better care of them now? You’ll only have yourself to thank later.