What is your perception of your feet? Are they attractive to you? Or an embarrassment? Do you take care of them? Or do you take your feet for granted? This article will explore how to know if you have healthy feet.
Find out here, if your feet are talking to you (through signs or symptoms), get some helpful foot exercises, gain some clever massaging tips, and get a few homemade foot remedies for tired feet.
The feet are not the most beautiful or glamorous part of the human body. Many times, feet are overlooked, under-appreciated, and overworked. Your feet may also indicate the presence of certain health problems.
Your feet work hard to support your weight, carry you around all day, help you stand upright, and perform other daily activities. Feet can even substitute hand functions in individuals who have no upper extremities (hands).
Your body depends on your feet to:
- to distribute weight
- toes help the foot to bear the weight of your body when walking
Your feet are made up of three sections.
Your forefoot consists of your toes (phalanges) and connects the long bones (metatarsals)
Provides stability, connects the foot and ankle, and assists in the movement of the toes.
The hindfoot supports your body weight, provides balance, and shock absorption (walking), transfers ground reaction forces, and compensates for possible malalignments.
The foot´s skin is different and thicker than the other parts of your body.
Your feet comprise 26 bones per foot, 33 joints, 19 muscles, 10 tendons, and 107 ligaments.
Your feet can produce up to half a pint of sweat.
The oldest pair of shoes may date back over 40,000 years ago. The shoes were discovered in a cave in modern-day Armenia.
Your feet are the most ticklish part of your body.
Your feet can change if you put on weight or during pregnancy.
In the absence of arms, feet can do amazing things.
Male Persian warriors were the first to wear high heels, and soon after women adopted the trend.
A 2 ½ -inch high heel can increase the load on the forefoot by 75%.
Feet are at the largest at the end of the day.
9 out of 10 women wear shoes that are too small for them.
.1% of children are born with extra toes (polydactylism).
20-30% of the world´s population have Morton´s toe (2nd toe is longer than the big toe).
Feet often reflect your general health. Abnormalities or pain in them can often signal health conditions.
What should healthy feet look like?
Healthy feet are well-hydrated, and toenails are pink. Toes are pain-free, sore-less, and free of damaged skin. Pink toenail color can be an indication of good blood flow.
Some foot signs and symptoms
Your feet, like every other part of your body, can speak to you in signs and symptoms, but are you getting the message? Your feet can provide you with a lot of vital information.
Dry, cracked heels
Would you neglect your face if you saw a part of your face was very dry? Yet if that dryness is on your foot, how easy are you to dismiss it? Dry, cracked heels may be a sign of something that is easily taken care of like a fungus or a warning of thyroid issues.
If you think you are suffering from a fungus, there are many over-the-counter fungal treatments available. If you suspect you may have a thyroid problem, it is best to discuss this with your doctor.
Could be a sign of an athlete´s foot, especially between the toes. Athletes´ feet can be easily treated with anti-fungal foot scrum and prevent future damage.
Please note that flaky feet can also be a sign of thyroid problems (when the flakes are not between the toes).
Thick, crumbly yellow toenails
Thick yellow nails can be a sign of toenail fungus.
Blue toenails may indicate poor blood flow to the limbs or cardiovascular disease.
A Sunken (spoon-like shape) could be a sign of anemia.
Chronic cold feet, even in the summer months, may indicate poor circulation as the blood isn´t getting to your extremities. It may also be a malfunction of the thyroid.
Your doctor could give you specific answers to your concerns about this should you have any questions or concerns.
Numbness anywhere in your body, should not be taken lightly. If you experience any numbness in your feet, go to your doctor immediately.
Numbness can be a sign of nerve damage, or neuropathy (people with diabetes are at high risk of having this condition).
Toes that tingle or are painful could be a sign of diabetes.
Pain and swelling in the feet and ankles may be a sign of Gout (painful inflammatory arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the blood).
Gout can be managed by lifestyle changes. If you think you may be suffering from Gout, please consult your doctor about your suspicions.
Pain and stiffness
Pain and stiffness can be due to arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid, or post-traumatic arthritis).
A black or brown streak under your toenail may be the result of a bruise, but it could also be an indicator of Melanoma. If you see this under your toenail and can rule out a bruise as the culprit, please consult your doctor.
It is better to be safe than sorry. There are many benefits to early detection. Do your best to preserve and protect your health by having yearly check-ups.
Did you have hair on your toes and notice that hair no longer grows on them? Hairless toes may be a sign of poor blood circulation (peripheral arterial disease).
Some other foot conditions
Because of their position and function, feet can be vulnerable to a variety of possible infections and injuries such as:
(bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe and may be red and sore).
(a common condition in which the corner/side of a toenail grows into soft flesh).
(a painful condition that affects the ball of your foot, area behind 3rd and 4th toes).
(a most common cause of heel pain involving connective tissue which supports the arch of feet).
(club foot or flat feet).
Taking care of your feet
Your feet are faithful to you, and they deserve some TLC for all their hard work. There are many ways you can give your feet the care they need.
- can help you gain strength, mobility, and flexibility
- may alleviate soreness
- may improve foot health
- may help ensure that muscles are providing the best support
Here are three simple exercises you can try.
1) Ball roll
(Can help relieve discomfort in the arch and ease pain of planer fasciitis).
- Sit up straight in a chair.
- Place your foot on top of a small golf ball (or a small ball) and move it around, pressing down as hard as you comfortably can.
- Do this for around 2 minutes and then repeat using the other foot.
2) Marble/small object pick up
(Can strengthen muscles on the undersides of feet and toes)
- Sit upright in a chair.
- Put an empty bowl and some marbles (or small objects) in front of your feet.
- Use your toes to pick up each object and place it in the empty bowl.
- Repeat using the other foot.
3) Toe play
(Can improve control over the muscles)
- Sit in a chair in an upright position.
- Spread the toes apart as far as possible without straining. Hold the position for 5 seconds.
- Repeat 10x (if you can, try to do both feet; at the same time).
Foot massages can be very good for tired feet, not to mention enjoyable, especially if you are receiving them. Single ladies, there´s no need to fret; you can massage your tired feet yourself or with a good foot massager.
Foot massages offer many benefits, such as:
- improves blood circulation
- increases relaxation
- may relieve pain
- relieves stress
- may alleviate anxiety
- may facilitate sleep, especially when done before going to bed
Here are a few foot massage examples. All you need is some massage oil.
1) Top of foot rub
- Rub the top of your foot gently with your thumbs.
- Start at the tip of the toe and move slowly up to the ankle.
- Move back down towards the toes.
- Apply gentle but firm pressure with your thumbs.
2) Arches of the foot
- Use your thumbs to apply light pressure to the arch of the foot, right below the ball of your foot.
- Move one thumb clockwise and the other thumb counterclockwise in small circles.
- Repeat on the other foot.
- Gently massage your toes.
- Squeeze and pull each toe gently.
- Repeat on the other foot.
Home-made foot baths
Home-made foot baths can relax, not only your tired feet but your whole body and mind.
Other benefits of foot baths/soaks:
- can warm up your feet
- can increase circulation
- softens and beautifies your feet
- may help remove toxins from your feet
Hydrogen peroxide foot bath/soak
- Place warm water in a foot bath.
- Add ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide
- Add 1 tablespoon of ginger.
- Soak your feet for at least 15-20 minutes.
Epsom Salt foot bath/soak
- Fill a foot bath with warm water (not hot).
- Add ½ cup of Epsom salt to the water.
- Add a few drops of essential oil of your choice (optional).
Relax and enjoy.
Listerine foot bath/soak
- Fill a foot bath with warm water.
- Add ½ cup of Listerine to the water.
- Add ½ cup of apple cider vinegar.
This bath may be an answer to cracked heels (anti-fungal).
Before doing any foot baths/soaks make sure your skin is free from any cracks, bruises, or sores.
- Wear supportive footwear for daily activities and sports.
- Replace worn-out shoes when necessary
- Consider alternating days of wearing high heels or cutting down on high-heel use if possible.
- Practice some foot exercises regularly.
- Pamper yourself with foot massages (manually or get a foot massager).
Elevate your feet for approximately 20 minutes daily, preferably before bed.
- may reduce fluid retention in your legs and feet
- relieves tired legs
- improves blood flow
Your feet support your body weight and all your body´s daily movement. The condition of your feet may indicate if they are healthy or if there are any underlying problems you may need to consult with your doctor.
Noticing any changes in your feet can work out to your advantage if you inform your doctor right away. Your doctor would then be able to give you further information and help put any concerns at ease.
You make demands on your feet daily; remember to reward your feet by taking care of them through massages, exercises, and relaxing foot baths.
Go ahead and pamper your feet today!
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