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5 Nice Things to Do for Your Feet

From Blisters to Inflamed Tendons, Summer Can Be Tough on Toes

5. Baby Those Peds on a Hike

Out in the wild, the expression, "Feet don't fail me now," takes on new meaning. Some tips for happy trails:

  • Don't wear new boots or footwear on a hike or anywhere far from help. Break them in beforehand by wearing a few hours at a time.
  • Make sure your footwear is comfortable and cushioned. Stick your fingers inside and check.
  • If you use an orthotic device, make sure it's soft and cushioned, not rigid plastic.
  • Wear socks no matter how hot it is.
  • If you get a blister, don't pop it. "It's God's Band-Aid," Brodsky says, "providing protective cushioning."
  • If it does pop, do not tear off the "roof." Use antibiotic cream and a clean bandage. (This procedure is best avoided in the wild, but then, that is where most blisters pop up.)
  • Vaseline, Reid says, is the best protection against blisters.


Special Note for People With Diabetes

According to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, 60% to 70% of those with diabetes may have neuropathy . For them, minor injuries can become major quickly.

Here are some tips for those with the disease:

  • Inspect your feet every day. Many people with diabetes may also have circulation problems. That means tiny injuries can be slower to heal. Look for warmth, pain, blisters, and redness. Examine between your toes. You might find athlete's foot or cracks in the skin that could be a point of entry for infection. If you can't see, get a mirror or ask for help.

  • Wash your feet every day with warm water and soap. Don't soak. Pat dry with a towel and don't forget between the toes.

  • Use a good lotion to keep the skin moist (do not put it between your toes).

  • Never walk barefoot. You might also want to toss those sandals and flip-flops.

  • Buy shoes late in the day when your feet are largest.

  • Don't wear the same shoes every day.

  • Wear thin cotton socks with square toes.

For feet -- as well as other parts of the body -- comes good all-around advice from Brodsky: "Most workers are sedentary. You may exercise, but you don't exercise six hours straight as you would on a hike or a trip to an amusement park." On vacation, we tend to do unusual things or usual things for a long time.

So, "Take it easy. Use common sense," she advises.

Can't you just hear your feet thanking you down there?

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Reviewed on July 06, 2007
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