Our feet go through so much in life and can become tired very easily. Some people suffer with hard, cracked skin on the soles of their feet whilst others can get general aches and pains. Wear and tear from ill-fitting shoes can cause blisters and cuts so it is key to give your feet some essential TLC.
Here at Cotton traders, we’ve put together a few top tips on how to best treat your feet – and it doesn’t mean an expensive spa treatment is in order!
It may sound simple but wash your feet regularly and carefully, especially in-between your toes. The best way to do this is by using a washcloth or sponge. Make sure you then dry your feet thoroughly, which will prevent problems such as athlete’s foot, odour, bacteria and fungus.
Keep your feet nice and soft by moisturising after washing. During the winter months your skin can become dry and cracked so you may want to moisturise more often. Nothing fancy is needed: basic lotions and creams do the trick just as well.
If you suffer from tired and swollen feet, soak your feet in warm water with salt, lemon juice and your favourite essential oil (lavender is best for relaxation). The salt will reduce swelling by getting rid of water retention in your feet and the essential oil in warm water will soothe your senses and make you feel relaxed. Do this once a week or whenever your feet feel tired.
To prevent your feet from being smelly and free from fungal or bacterial infections treat your feet with an anti-fungal anti-bacterial soak. Use 3-4 cups of starchy water left over from boiling ½ cup of rice. Add in more warm water (just enough to soak your feet), 1 teaspoon salt, juice of one lemon, chopped parsley and a few drops of tea tree oil. The rice water will improve blood circulation and leave your feet soft and protected while tea tree oil, parsley and salt all prevent fungal and bacterial infections and kill any existing germs.
Try alternating the shoes you wear each day – always a good excuse to buy more! Shoes need time to air out to avoid foot odours or infections. Change socks or tights more than once a day, and if you suffer with smelly feet, soak them in a mixture of vinegar and water.
Your feet should never hurt. If they do then your shoes are too tight, too high or the wrong size. Ill-fitting shoes can unfortunately worsen bunions, distort toe shape and cause painful foot growths. If you like to wear high heels then choose a wider heel that’s stable and no higher than two inches.
Flip-flops and completely flat shoes can also cause damage to your feet and don't provide much arch support. Neither does walking barefoot. Women are especially prone to developing flat feet; unfortunately this can also be hereditary and may lead to other foot problems, such as pain in the feet, ankles, lower legs, knees, hips or lower back. Keep your feet strong and healthy by investing in a pair of shoes that have good arch support.
Pregnancy can also affect your feet. Added pregnancy weight may cause your feet to swell which in turn could change your shoe size, so get your feet measured to ensure you are wearing the right size. Also make sure you rest your feet as often as possible: keeping them elevated should reduce the swelling.
Age is another factor that can affect your feet. Older men and women can lose some of the cushioning fat on the balls of their feet so choose footwear that has extra padding and shock absorbents. Alternatively, try adding a pair of padded innersoles for a little extra support.
If all else fails, then treat yourself to a pedicure now and again! Your feet will be thankful and if it makes wearing your favourite pair of shoes all the more bearable then it’s worth the money.