National Feet Week: 8th – 14th March 2021: A guide to looking after your feet

Are you on your feet all day?  

Maybe you’re getting fit and you’re putting extra pressure on your feet with all those squats, lunges and jumps?  

Whatever you’re up to, it’s important to look after your feet. 

Leonardo Da Vinci described the foot as “the greatest engineering device in the world”. 

The foot is one of the most overworked, under-appreciated parts of the human body. If you’re getting the recommended 10,000 steps per day in, then that works out to be 4 trips around the world over a lifetime, putting a lot of wear and tear on your intricate foot bones and joints.

Feet function best in their bare or natural state. The foots natural shape is when the heel and forefoot are level. Your toes need to flex, extend and spread freely. Shoes commonly elevate the heel and constrict the movement of the ankle.

The most common foot ailments include nail problems, pain in the ball or heel of the foot and Plantar Fasciitis.

Check if you have plantar fasciitis

The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom of your foot, around your heel and arch. It is caused by straining the part of your foot which connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia).  It’s not always clear why this happens.

You may be more likely to get plantar fasciitis if you:

  • Recently started exercising on hard surfaces.
  • Exercise with a tight calf or heel.
  • Overstretch the sole of your foot during exercise.
  • Recently started doing a lot more walking, running or standing up.
  • Wear shoes with poor cushioning or support.
  • Are very overweight.

It’s more likely to be plantar fasciitis if:

  • the pain is much worse when you start walking after sleeping or resting
  • the pain feels better during exercise, but returns after resting
  • it’s difficult to raise your toes off the floor

You can usually ease the pain yourself but see your GP or a Physiotherapist if the pain does not improve within 2 weeks.

How to ease plantar fasciitis yourself

If you see a GP or Physiotherapist, they will usually suggest that you try these things:

Do

  • Rest and raise your foot on a stool when you can.
  • Put an ice pack (or bag of frozen peas) in a towel, on the painful area for up to 20 minutes every 2-3 hours.
  • Wear wide, comfortable shoes with a low heel and soft sole             (trainers are ideal)
  • Use soft insoles or heel pads in your shoes.
  • Regular, gentle stretching exercises.
  • Exercises that do not put pressure on your feet, such as swimming.
  • Take paracetamol.

Don’t

  • Do not take ibuprofen for the first 48 hours
  • Do not walk or stand for long periods.
  • Do not wear high heels or tight, pointy toed shoes.
  • Do not wear flip flops or backless shoes or slippers.

Try these exercises and stretches to alleviate the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis by clicking here.

It’s also important to wear well-fitting shoes.   Here are some top tips for buying the best shoes.

Go on – show your feet some love. 

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