Feet are remarkable things. Did you know that more than a quarter of your body’s 206 bones are in your feet? Yes, it's true! Each of your feet has 26 bones, plus two sesamoids (bones embedded within a tendon), and 33 joints that work with a complex array of muscles and tendons, every time you take a step.

But your feet don’t just take you from here to there. They help you balance, support your body, and act as your body’s shock absorbers, enduring enormous amounts of pressure every day (several tons over the course of a one-mile run).

With that much going on below your knees, it’s no surprise that your feet need plenty of care to keep them at their best.

Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy 

  1. Cleanse.Wash your feet in warm, soapy water every day. Dry them completely with a clean towel, paying close attention to the area between your toes, as it's particularly susceptible to fungal infections. 
  2. Moisturize. If your feet are dry and prone to cracking, gently massage your feet with a rich butter or lotion to help keep them soft and smooth. Careful not to get the lotion between your toes; excess moisture here can increase the risk of fungal infection.
  3. Trim.Cut toenails straight across (versus rounding the nail or cutting the sides) will prevent ingrown toenails. Smooth rough edges of your nails with an emery board or nail file.  
  4. Socks. Choose clean and lightly padded socks made from natural fabrics, like cotton or wool, that will allow your feet to breathe. Ensure that they fit well and aren't too tight around your ankles or calves, which may cut off blood flow to your feet!
  5. Shoes. One of the most important things you can do for your feet is to put them in good shoes that feel comfortable, support your feet, and have enough room for your toes. So set those beautiful pointed toes and high heels aside, ladies! And as comfy as they are, your favourite pair of sneakers are also the perfect place for bacteria and fungus to grow. Letting them air out and dry for 24 hours before wearing them again helps reduce the chances of developing athlete’s foot, bacteria problems, or foot odour. 

TIP: Shopping for new shoes? Buy shoes at the end of the day when your feet are the largest so that you can find the best fit. 

Lastly, being active improves blood flow to the feet and helps to keep them happy and healthy. Enjoy these first few days of Fall with a brisk walk through the woods. If you're sitting inside for prolonged periods of the day, keep your feet moving by wiggling your toes and making ankle circles.

Originally published September 22, 2016

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