You may not find this in a glossy magazine, but we really need to talk about foot health for a minute!
Sure, the latest diet, superfood or exercise routine may grab people’s attention but don’t forget to care for the unsung heroes of the human body, the feet! After all, our feet do take us literally everywhere and we certainly put them through a lot.
The Longterm Effects of Unhappy Feet
None of us wants to deal with sore feet, in the short term this certainly sucks but sometimes it can be tempting to make this sacrifice in the name of fashion, squeezing into that slightly too-small pair of trainers or heels, despite them not being the comfiest.
Well, you may want to think about what you’re doing to your feet before you step out the door. Were you aware that you may be setting yourself up for some long-term health problems?
Something many people don’t realise is that problems starting from the feet often result in issues all the way through the body. Bad footwear decisions can really mess with your posture, and certainly your hips, knees, and back. So, if you are wanting to maintain a high quality of life, taking care of your feet is a great place to start.
How to Choose Quality Footwear
Before we dive into various long-term effects of unhealthy feet, first we thought it would be helpful to give you some tips when it comes to shopping. Of course, picking out footwear gets subjective and we all have different requirements – but the majority of people will be on the right track with a trusty pair of boots because they go with most outfits and work both casually and for formal occasions. Brands like Blundstone have durable boots.
Firstly, when searching for a quality pair of boots an important area to consider is toe spacing. This is especially important if you plan to wear your boots for extended periods of time. Trying on a pair is advised, to give your toes a wiggle. But nowadays, even shopping online (from any good company) will allow you to make returns if the fit isn’t quite right. So be sure to check out the return policy before you purchase.
An area some people forget to consider is ankle mobility. Your boots should feel snug but flexible enough to move easily. When you’re shopping, it can be hard to imagine how the boots will feel once the colder months arrive. Some good tips you can take away, for now, are to consider what material the lining is made from. Generally, lining made from genuine leather, suede, or synthetic fabrics will keep you warm but also be breathable. Check out reviews if you’re not sure and spend time considering what features the footwear has before you commit.
With footwear, you do tend to get what you pay for. But saying that, if you’re forking out a little more than usual for a quality pair of boots, make sure you’re picking up something that will actually last a while. After all, you don’t want to have to replace them after one winter…
It can be a bit of a minefield finding decent brands, especially now that companies are producing things so cheaply. But trust your gut and do your research, reading reviews is a great way to gain an understanding of how long boots last, and how they hold up over time. Some key areas to look for are the sole material, stitching patterns and lining materials.
Health Problems from Wet and Cold Feet
Wet and cold feet can be uncomfortable in the short term, but sometimes it’s tempting to just power through it. If you’re working in the garden for example or just travelling to and from work in the winter. But when you consider the long-term impact of having cold and wet feet, you might want to think about getting some dedicated footwear to deal with these conditions.
In serious cases, being exposed to cold and wet conditions for long periods can cause damage to the skin in your feet, this is known as trench foot (aka immersion foot), which is a painful and serious condition.
Not to mention that frequent exposure to the cold can weaken your immune system, particularly for those who have illnesses already. So it’s important to take steps to keep your feet dry and warm. Make sure you’re wearing a decent pair of socks and shoes when the weather gets tough!
Preventing Squashed Toes
You might have guessed this was going to be mentioned, but a super common issue that arises from ill-fitting shoes is misshapen toes. Over time, this can cause a range of problems, including pain, inflammation, and even deformities like bunions or hammertoes.
And squashed toes are only the beginning… If you’re frequently wearing footwear that doesn’t fit properly, it can also cause problems with other parts of the foot such as the arch, heel or ankle, leading to a whole host of problems down the road.
If you regularly push the limits of these areas of your feet, it can seriously impact mobility and cause areas to become stiff over time. To avoid this, spend a bit more time when shopping for footwear, ensuring it is shaped to accommodate YOUR feet because everyone is different. Often spending a little more money is beneficial here too. As the footwear industry is so competitive, you tend to get what you pay for and manufacturers churning out cheap products won’t be concerned with this.
Foot Health Impacts Your Posture
The condition of your feet has a profound impact on your overall posture. Well, it makes sense when you think about it because the feet act as a foundation for the body, and if they’re not adequately supported, it can cause imbalances throughout your skeletal system.
Factors such as flat feet or high arches can lead to misalignments in the ankles, hips, knees, and your spine. A small thing like this can cause big problems over longer periods of time. This can cause all sorts of chronic pain, discomfort, and increased risk of being injured.
How can this be prevented? Well, by practising good “foot hygiene” and being “feet conscious”. Simple habits such as keeping toenails trimmed, making sure you bring extra clean and dry socks on trips away and of course, investing in good quality footwear. Being feet-conscious just means paying attention to how your feet feel and move in different situations. Be mindful of the ground you’re walking on, the angle of stones when hiking, and the impact your pace has on your feet during longer trips.
By being aware of your feet, you can adjust your stride, posture, and footwear to reduce the risk of injury and discomfort. It’s also about being in tune with your body’s signals and listening to any discomfort or pain, which can be an early warning sign of potential issues.
Step Up Your Foot Game
So to summarise, taking care of foot health is crucial for overall health and well-being. Wearing comfortable, properly fitting shoes can prevent long-term health problems that affect the entire body, such as back pain, hip and knee issues, and poor posture.
It’s important to choose quality footwear that accommodates your individual foot shape and provides adequate support. Wet feet can lead to serious issues, including trench foot and weakened immune systems. And importantly, incorrectly fitting shoes may lead to misshapen toes and other foot problems. Let’s all remember to take good care of our feet 🦶!