When it comes to protecting your feet from injury, you’re on the front lines. Here are some tips to help you keep your feet healthy:
- Don’t walk barefoot, even indoors or on the beach.
- Shake out your shoes before you put them on.
- Visually inspect and feel your feet every day. If you have a significant other, ask him or her to help you.
- Keep your feet clean and well-moisturized; dry, cracked skin is an entryway for germs. Apply lotion daily, except between your toes, where extra moisture can lead to breakdown of the skin.
- Cut your toenails straight across (or following the natural curve of your toes) and not too short. File the edges.
- Never buy tight shoes — and take any shoes to your foot doctor for a fit check before you wear them. The best choices are leather shoes with low heels, worn with cotton or wool socks. The most problematic choices are plastic shoes, shoes with pointed toes, and high heels.
- Consider inserts for your shoes, as recommended by a foot-care professional.
- Keep the blood moving through your feet by exercising regularly and keeping your feet elevated when sitting. Avoid sitting with your legs crossed.
- Don’t smoke. In addition to an increased risk for lung cancer and cardiovascular disease, smoking is linked to worsened blood flow.
- Work with your health-care team to keep your blood sugar level in your goal range.