Healthy feet are important, as well as healthy footwear. As a matter of fact, one can not do without the other.
The best healthy feet are those feet that do without shoes. However, most of us wear shoes. Because we want to, or we have to. Being used to walking with shoes on, there are certain risks to walking barefoot.
Whether we walk barefoot or with shoes, maintenance of our feet is essential. The prevention of falls is one of the reasons to maintain healthy feet.
From experience, we know that fall prevention is important for people of all ages. As we must adapt our ‘feet behavior’ to the summer and winter times.
One way to learn how to prevent falls is by consulting professional support. Hannie and I profited a lot from such support.
Some of the links are affiliate links. As an affiliate associate, we earn a commission when you purchase any of the products offered through the shared links at no extra cost for you. This helps us maintain this website.
Table of contents
- 1 Why are healthy feet important?
- 2 The risks of walking barefoot
- 3 Maintenance of healthy feet
- 4 Fall prevention
- 5 Healthy feet in summer
- 6 Healthy feet in winter
- 7 Professional support
Why are healthy feet important?
As with sustainable footwear, they carry the full weight of our bodies. We take extra care of our feet. It’s like a treat. Healthy feet make us happy because we can walk wherever we want.
The risks of walking barefoot
In Spain, we’re not allowed to drive a car without proper shoes on. Most employees have to wear shoes. Often these are specific professional protecting shoes, such as required in building and construction.
In summer, when there is a lot of sun, we love to walk barefoot. However, exposed to the sun, the skin of our feet easily burns.
Moreover, walking barefoot in public showers and locker rooms may cause plantar warts (skin-colored lesions, which may be painful), fungal and other infections.
We always wear shoes or sandals or flip-flops around public pools, and on the beach, to prevent injuries or infections. In our holiday apartment or hotel room as well.
When we go outside in the sun barefoot, for example on the beach, we always take specific care of our feet and ankles, covering them with suntan lotion. And we re-apply suntan lotion when we come out of the water.
Maintenance of healthy feet
Foot pain is not normal
Healthy feet don’t hurt. Persistent foot pain can be an indication of injury, irritation, or illness. When hampered by persistent foot pain, it’s best to consult a medical professional.
Exercise and stretch
Running and walking are good exercises for our feet. To maintain healthy feet, we always stretch before and after exercise. As a matter of fact, even when we don’t exercise we stretch regularly.
We love to stretch our toes by wiggling them. It takes some practice, I know, but it’s actually very funny.
We also regularly rotate our ankles, from left to right and the other way around. Because ankles don’t rotate that easily, we help them with our hands.
We use good-quality essential and other massage oils to maintain our feet. Hannie massages her feet every day with either coconut oil or lavender essential oil.
The best time of the day is right before she goes to sleep. This is also an excellent way to give her a good nights’ sleep.
Move your legs
When we sit behind our desks, or the table, in the car or a plane our legs get stiff. That is why we try to avoid the same position of our legs for a duration of time.
When I’m behind my desk I slightly move my legs pushing my knees to each other and back at a certain pace. People often think, when they see me do this, that I’m nervous. Rest assured I’m never nervous.
We also get on our feet at regular intervals of time. We walk, short or longer stretches. Even short stretches feel good.
On the other hand, we’re not always aware when we’re on our feet all day. Sometimes we’re on our feet working, inside and outside the house, and shopping for long hours of the day.
When we have been on our feet all day, we relax our legs and feet. One very relaxing trick is to lift our legs high enough that they are above the level of our hearts. This is so relaxing, it makes me fall asleep!
Under different circumstances we use footwear that fit properly. When we were young we didn’t mind that much when shoes did not fit that well. Experience taught us that this was not a very good idea.
When we’re on our feet all day, we need sustainable footwear. This is footwear that is good for the environment and at the same time good for our health.
Sustainable footwear improves our balance and can prevent falls. But the maintenance of our feet is as important as well. No matter what age!
It’s not that young people never fall. On the contrary. Young people fall more often than older people. However, for older people, the consequences can be more serious.
My mother twice broke her lower left arm. She tripped over ‘something’ in her house. It was very painful and made her unable to take care of her own.
After the second time, we checked with her what probably caused the fall. The rugs in her house were the obvious culprit.
“You have to get rid of the rugs, ma,” we suggested.
“No way,” she answered, “I got them from my mother.”
End of the discussion. Fortunately, after those 2 times, she didn’t fall again.
Healthy feet in summer
No matter how hot or cold, we always drink enough water throughout the day. Water supports our overall health. Water also minimizes the feet to swell during high temperatures.
Stimulate blood flow
We try to keep the blood flowing in our legs and feet. Through exercise, mainly swimming (Hannie), cycling (Tom), and walking (both), as well as by flexing our muscles.
Sometimes we forget to flex our toes. Wiggling them is always a bit funny. Good exercise though. Despite the warm temperatures, we still massage our lower legs, ankles, and feet. When possible every day.
In summer, when we go swimming on a rough coast, with a lot of stones and rocks, we wear appropriate shoes.
When we’re playing on the beach with the grandchildren, we don’t need shoes of course. However, the sand can get mighty hot when the sun shines all day. So we avoid walking on hot sand without footwear.
We love to spend our summer holidays in the woods and other natural areas. These require proper and specific footwear as well. In rough hills and mountainous terrain we always wear robust mountain shoes that cover our ankles.
Moreover, I often wear mountain shoes in cities and even in shopping malls. There are always all kinds of tricky level differences, requiring tough shoes that protect your ankles.
The most popular summer footwear in Spain, and probably many other warm countries, are flip-flops. Provided flip-flops are made of natural materials, they keep our feet cool.
Leather is a good raw material because it reduces the risk of blisters. We also apply suntan lotion on our feet when we wear flip-flops or sandals.
When we buy new flip-flops we always pay attention that the bottom of our feet are well covered and that the new flip-flops cannot be bent in half.
We’re always very frugal with our footwear, and also with our flip-flops. We don’t wear them for walking long distances. This is why we can enjoy them longer. Besides, it’s better for our health.
We do not wear flip-flops while working. Not in and not outside the house.
Healthy feet in winter
During the winter it’s more important that we keep our feet clean and dry. We hydrate our feet regularly with water or use essential or massage oils to soothe our skin.
Skiing and snowboarding are not sustainable activities. Yet walking in snow is an experience I recommend to everybody.
We wear shoes that keep our feet dry and warm and prevent us from skidding.
Some diehards like to walk barefoot in the snow. Although this is healthy, I do not recommend it to those that are not used to walking barefoot.
In the cold, we see to it that we wear shoes and socks that do not make our feet sweat. Sweating lowers the temperature of our bodies.
We do not wear summer footwear in winter. Not even with socks on. We do not want to risk that our feet get wet causing frostbite.
Walking and running behavior
When slippery due to ice and snow, we adapt our walking behavior. However, we do not change the way we put our feet on the ground. Instead, we just take smaller steps. It looks a bit silly, yet is way safer.
With the cold, it’s even more important for us to stretch our muscles before and after a walk. We start to walk at a slow pace, to get a feel of the amount of grip we got. We increase our speed only after we’ve noticed that our muscles are getting warm and we experience enough grip.
When our son was young we went to a special footwear shop where they measured his feet. We always bought our running shoes at a store where they filmed us walking barefoot and with shoes on. The advantage was that we got good fitting shoes and tips to improve our way of walking and running.
I once met a medical nurse who worked at a factory where most employees had to wear safety shoes. An epidemiological analysis revealed that employees who went regularly on sick leave suffered from lower back pain.
Although there were different shoe sizes, the medical nurse suspected the shoes were to blame. He started to examine the feet of all employees. He recorded the feet walking, from the front, back, and below through a glass plate.
He compared the outcome of this analysis with sick leave reports and lower back pain complaints. There was a significant match.
The medical nurse calculated that individually customized safety shoes would considerably lower sick leave costs and save the employees a lot of lower back pain. From then on individually customized safety shoes were the rule.
What type of shoes do you prefer to wear? Please tell us in the comment box.