Pain free feet
Take Care of Your Feet
Just as our psyches need regular doses of tender loving care, so do our feet. Yet people tend to neglect this
part of the anatomy, notes Arnold Ravick, D.P.M., a podiatrist in Washington, D.C., and member of the
Public Affairs Committee of the American Podiatric Medical Association. "People tell me that their feet have
always caused them pain and that they always will," says Ravick. "But that doesn't have to be true."
To pamper your feet at the end of the day, treat them to a little warmth. "Either soak them or use a heating
pad," Ravick recommends. "The type of heat doesn't matter." If you soak your feet, put a few drops of baby
oil in the water so your skin doesn't dry out. Then blot them with a towel, rather than rubbing. Finish up by
applying some skin lotion. To leave your feet feeling really relaxed, massage them gently for 5 or 10 minutes
by moving the joints and muscles around between your fingers.
Choose the Right Shoes
Although feet continue to change throughout adulthood, "very few people have their shoe size checked
regularly," notes Ravick. "It's almost the same as men and their haircuts. A teenager will get a haircut when
he's 15 and never change the style. Adults should have their feet measured at least once a year."
It isn't enough for shoes to be the right size, however; you should also make sure they fit properly in other
ways. "If a shoe doesn't feel comfortable, people tend to ask for a larger size, but most of the time it's the
width that's not right, rather than the length," Ravick explains.
According to Stephen Conti, M.D., an orthopedist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the
widest part of your foot should fit comfortably in the widest part of the shoe. To be sure of a proper fit,
measure the widest part of your foot by standing on a ruler, then measure the sole of the shoe.
Ask to have both your feet measured and try on the shoes that fit your larger foot. Make sure that you have
half an inch of space between your longest toe and the tip of the shoe. Never buy shoes that are
uncomfortable, thinking you'll break them in. Finally, shop for shoes at the end of the day: Your feet swell as
the day progresses.
More Tips and tricks
It's easy to forget about taking care of your feet until you run into trouble. But with routine care along the
way, you can prevent some of the more common problems.
- If your feet tend to cramp up during the night, stretch them out before you go to bed by standing on
your tiptoes for 20 seconds, then relaxing; repeat four or five times.
Before you put on your shoes in the morning, dust just a bit of baby powder or foot powder into
each one to absorb any moisture.
- If you're traveling, take along some athlete's-foot powder to use on your feet after you take a
shower. Sprinkle some in your shoes before you put them on.
- If you get blisters or redness at the tips of your toes, rub a little petroleum jelly on them. This
reduces friction from your foot moving around inside your shoe, which is generally the cause of the
- Trim your toe nails after you take a bath or shower when they're softer and easier to cut.