Walking is a very popular activity amongst people of all ages. As feet are a vital part of a good walk it is important to keep them healthy and pain free. I’m often seeing people in the clinic complaining of foot problems during and after country walks. Many of these can be avoided by following some simple foot health tips.
- Wear appropriate footwear. Always wear footwear that fits properly and is suitable for the terrain that you intend to walk on. If you are walking on a hard surface such as a road then your need footwear with a more cushioned sole, if you are walking over fields or moorland then you need a harder wearing boot that is waterproof and breathable and offers good ankle support.
- Wear good socks. Socks should keep your dry and cool. 100% cotton socks hold moisture against the skin which can irritate the skin and cause blisters. 100% wool is very good a wicking away sweat but usually isn’t very comfortable. A wool/silk blend is very popular or a wool/synthetic blend such as CoolMax works well.
- Clean and dry your feet after long walk. A very simple tip that helps prevent immersion foot conditions such as trench foot. Simply clean your feet with a wet wipe, allow the skin to dry properly then put FRESH socks and shoes on before driving home. Remember to wash them properly in the shower when you get home!!!!
- Trim nails regularly. Use proper nippers that cut the nail rather than bend it or shred it. Cut them straight across and not down the sides, else you risk ingrowing nails. If you can’t cut your nails or if they’re an odd colour, shape or painful visit a podiatrist who will make them pain free and manageable.
- Remove hard skin with a file. If you can’t remove it yourself visit a podiatrist who will be able to remove it quickly and painlessly and suggest ways to prevent it from building up.
- Moisturise your skin. Use a simple moisturiser, especially if you are prone to blisters as it keeps your skin strong and supple. DO NOT put it between your toes.
- DO NOT use surgical spirit to harden your skin. This damages the skin and makes it weak, increasing the risk of skin problems and infection.
- Dry your boots. Allow your boots to dry out before using them again by loosening the laces and remove the sock liner. Not only will this increase the life of the boot but it will prevent bacteria and fungi breeding in the damp dark environment of the boot.
- Treat athlete’s foot as soon as you notice it. Use an athlete’s foot cream on your skin daily until the athlete’s foot has gone then continue for a few more days. At the same time spray inside your shoes before and after each use. Socks should also be sprayed or better still thrown away and new ones brought.
Walking is a great leisure activity than can be very sociable and I’ts great for maintaining fitness. Don’t let a foot pain ruin it for you. Follow the above tips, if they don’t help then visit a podiatrist, something can always be done to help you walk pain free.