The foot is an oft-forgot appendage. As long as your feet get around from place to place, you probably don’t give them much thought. It is only when they start to bother you that they get your full attention. But you shouldn’t ignore your feet, even when they’re feeling fine. The shape, appearance, and comfort of your feet are important aspects of your health and wellbeing that shouldn’t be overlooked.
1. What does the shape of your feet say about you?
According to the University of Illinois, the shape of your foot is important because it will impact the type of shoe you need to get the best comfort and support. Think of support like a firm pillow for the arch of your foot. An unsupported foot can lead to leg and back pain and can even cause other forms of detrimental stress, such as tendonitis and hip pain. A healthy, well-balanced foot, however, will make it easier to walk, work and play.
There are three basic foot shapes: neutral, flat and high-arched. One way to find out what shape your feet are is to look at an imprint of your bare foot. If there’s a lot of foot-to-floor impact between your heel and toes, you might have flat feet. If there is almost no impact between toes and heel, it could be an indication of high arches. The neutral foot shape is softly curved for an even wear pattern on the sole.
People at the extreme ends of the spectrum may need to wear orthotic inserts. Most people will only need to find a shoe that fits snuggly, but not too tightly. The foot should be cushioned and supported all around when walking and no slipping should occur.
2. Foot appearance can signal health problems
Everyone’s feet look slightly different, but a healthy foot has a few key characteristics. Your nails should be clear and clean, there shouldn’t be any major calluses on your soles, and the alignment of your toes shouldn’t cause you any discomfort. Prevention magazine reported that a change in foot appearance could signal a change in your overall health. For example, people with diabetes need to be extremely wary of cuts on their feet, especially as they might not feel them. Shiny, thin skin on your foot could even be an indication of peripheral arterial disease.
3. Your feet shouldn’t hurt after a day of work
Working on your feet all day can be tough, but it doesn’t have to cause you inordinate amounts of pain. While you might experience some discomfort at the end of a double shift, you should be able to recover with a night’s rest. Wearing safety shoes that provide adequate support is ideal for those who work in highly physical environments such as a hospital, auto shop or restaurant. After a long week, you want to be able to enjoy your free days – and that starts with a sense of comfort and balance during the work week.