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Anuoluwapo Adebayo: @anu_chayil talks about the importance of taking care of your feet

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I have observed that a lot of people do not pay attention to their feet as much as other parts of their body; I find this really strange because I am almost obsessed with having clean healthy feet and on numerous occasions I have had to hold myself back from saying something about someone’s horrible looking feet. Beyond aesthetic reasons, it is essential that our feet are healthy as foot ailments can affect our lives adversely; our feet help us walk, stand, run and carry our body weight.

It is easy to be lazy and use the excuse of ‘I always wear shoes anyway’ but believe me, the day you need to reveal your feet; you will regret not taking care of them. Just like our faces, feet deserve attention too. We can practice daily habits that do not have to take up most of our time or money.

Do not ignore the feet when bathing – Sometimes we rush through our bath and think the water running down our body is sufficient to clean our feet or we are lazy to reach down and wash them however we need to know that beyond cleanliness, thorough washing hydrates and soothes the feet after a long day of walking about or wearing footwear. Make sure feet are dry especially between the toes after washing.

Stones and Brushes to scrub skin – Having dry or cracked skin is common with a lot of individuals especially the heels however if left unattended, can become a medical issue. It is advised to occasionally scrub with a pumice stone or small body brush.

Scrubs and baking powder- We often forget that our feet are covered by skin that needs daily care like exfoliation especially because our feet (and hands) are the first part to respond to aging and react to other factors like dust, dirt and sunlight. You can use affordable scrubs or granulated sugar and even baking powder to scrub off dead skin; this can prevent bad odour caused by excessive sweating, cracked heels, corns and bacteria build up that leads to infection.

Let your feet breathe- Not every time shoes and socks for 24 hours, when possible we should bring our feet out of our shoes and let them breathe. Wonder why walking barefoot on sand or grass or a rug feels good? Because the feet just want to be free! Also we should invest in good sandals or slippers and wear them on casual outings in the evenings or weekends.

Choice of Footwear and care– Wearing shoes protects our feet however we should be careful not to wear ill fitting shoes to prevent suffocation or discomfort or even injuries. We need to ensure they are the perfect size, good quality and for women, please go easy on the heels. Air out your shoes especially gym shoes; wash your socks and store shoes appropriately.

Use of products – Some of us are product junkies and would buy anything we see advertised because it promises the ‘smoothest, spot free and heaven smelling skin’ however remember that as humans and as long as we walk on the ground, we are susceptible to getting cuts, bruises and react to nature. We need to be careful of substandard products and should use good quality foot creams or keep it simple with baby oil, coconut oil, Shea butter or Vaseline.

Foot care tools – Getting a pedicure occasionally is advised; whether we feel the need to visit a spa or salon, it is necessary to have our personal tools like Nail cutter, cuticle remover, nail scissors, nail file. We can practice easy habits like filing or cutting our nails, changing our nail polish, cutting in grown nails and removing dirt. We should also ensure these tools are always clean and not to be shared.

Exercise – We need to know that this is not a difficult task as feet exercises can be done while sitting down by simply rotating the ankles or stretching the toes. However it is advised that we lead active lives to promote general well being; taking walks and practicing yoga to strengthen muscles are easy things we can incorporate in our lives.

We should pay attention to our feet and note changes like excessive dryness or skin peeling, itching, swelling, pain or a wound that refuses to heal; these or any other abnormalities require medical attention for the feet or may be an indication of a problem in another part of the body.

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