Whether you’re an athlete, a non-athlete, or someone in-between, there’s something we all have in common: our feet aren’t always on the top of our priority list when it comes to health. Let’s face it, there are reminders daily to drink more water, do some cardio, take our vitamins, wear our sunscreen—you name it. But how often do we really think about increasing our foot health?
By the time we turn 50, most Americans will have walked about 75,000 miles1, and those miles are a lot more fun if your feet aren’t complaining the entire way. Neglecting your everyday foot health can also have some pretty disastrous side effects. From blisters and calluses to pulled muscles and arthritis, overstressing the 26 bones and multitude of soft tissues in the feet can create long-lasting complications for more than just your feet.
The Long and Short of It
If you’re an active person, you’re probably going to have foot pain from time to time. But hopefully with a little bit of focus, you can prevent the longer-lasting implications of being a person on the move. So where to start?
Use the Right Equipment (for You)
Your shoes shouldn’t pinch your toes or your heels, your feet shouldn’t slide around inside them, and if they’re uncomfortable to start, they’ll likely stay that way. But what about what goes inside your shoes? The socks you wear are just as important as the shoes you put them in. You should aim for a pair that isn’t just a barrier between your foot and shoe, but a tool to reduce the effects of being on your feet. And don’t be afraid to try something new—like Injinji toe socks! Their friction reduction, moisture management, and support for a more natural use of your feet can help bolster your foot health during your favorite activities.
Do an Inventory
It might sound silly, but you should take a peek at your feet every once in a while. Pain isn’t always the only sign of an issue. Being active (and sometimes just being a person) can result in things like rashes, fungi, and strange dry patches. A little foot inspection can help you catch abnormalities before they turn into a problem that keeps you from your favorite activities.
Stretch it Out
You stretch your hamstrings, quads, and calves, but do you ever stretch your feet and toes? After a long day at work (or play), your feet deserve a reward for keeping you upright and performing your best. Take a moment to manipulate your toes and move them around, stretching the tops, bottoms, and sides of your feet as you do. Spreading your toes apart can help them naturally move into better alignment2. You can even try a few yoga poses for your feet!
Listen to Your Body
When it comes down to it, you know your body. If you’re doing something that causes pain, stop and try to figure out why. Don’t be afraid to try some new techniques and equipment to alleviate the issue, but also know when to call it quits and call in a healthcare professional. After all, the happier your feet are, the longer your adventures can be.