If you are like most people, you probably take your feet for granted. All of a sudden your feet betray you (blisters erupt, arches collapse, toes blacken, ankles sprain) . . . or is it that you have ignored and abused them? Foot maintenance doesn't have to be difficult, but you do have to pay attention to your feet and their needs.
Wear the right footwear
Find a shoe specifically designed for the activity you plan to use it for. Many people try to find one shoe that does it all - this will not work. Ultimately, running shoes are designed for running, hiking shoes for hiking.
Measure your feet - twice
Make sure that you shop at a retailer that will fit the shoe to your foot, not the other way around. Have your foot measured on a regular basis, both standing (weighted) and seated (unweighted), which gives the sales associate valuable information for fitting your foot. If you need help, EMS Foot Gurus are specially trained to find the perfect shoes for your feet - and this service is free!
Moisture and friction are enemies
If your foot is moving excessively within your shoes, you will develop blisters. Blisters result from shoes that don't fit well, as well as from socks that don't fit and/or are made of incorrect materials for your foot type, activity, or weather condition. Excessive moisture held against your foot (i.e.; from cotton socks) will further amplify the effects of motion in your shoes.
Wear the right socks
Some people may think that wearing the right socks means finding two that match, but socks are the closest thing to your feet, and they play a major role in your overall foot comfort. Don't wear cotton socks for your athletic activities. If your feet are usually cold, or become cold easily, use wool socks. If your feet are usually warm, or become hot easily, use synthetic or synthetic/wool socks.
Wear socks that fit your feet
Socks should fit snugly without cramping your toes or allowing extra material to fold, wrinkle, and cause friction. Your sock's heel should fit snugly around your heel. The arch area should fit snugly around your arch. Seams should be flat (especially on the toes) and should not rub or pinch any part of your foot.
Stabilize your foot and support your arch
If your foot's standing (weighted) measurement was longer than your seated (unweighted) measurement by a whole foot size, you could benefit from more arch support. Support your foot correctly with an aftermarket footbed, which will help support your foot in its natural position and allow it to work more efficiently. Keep in mind that the foam footbed supplied in your footwear at the time of purchase is inadequate and will deform quickly.
Know your feet
Know your feet characteristics. Keep your nails trimmed down. Pay attention to aches and pains before they become more severe. File down calluses before they become too large.
Stop to check your feet
During long days on your feet, make sure you stop to check them. This can be as simple as maintaining your lace tension so that the shoe is securely anchored on your feet. For a more thorough check, remove your shoes and socks and make sure that you have no red spots, excessive moisture, or problems that could become worse later on. Change your socks if they become too wet.
Listen to your feet
If you have foot pain that does not go away, a sore that doesn't heal, or loss of sensation in your feet: SEE A DOCTOR . . . NO QUESTIONS!!!
Think long term
If you neglect your feet, you will pay for it later in life. Think of your feet as your transportation; schedule time and maintenance for them just as you do oil changes and tire rotations for your car. Pay attention to your feet and they will thank you in the long run.