We’re all creatures of habit. There are dozens of little things that we do each day that feel like second nature to us because we’ve been doing them for so long. But when it comes to habits that affect the health and function of our feet, some of those regular routines can spell bad news.
What’s more, many of us aren’t even aware which habits can hurt our feet. Some habits that we think are beneficial, may actually be doing our feet more harm than good.
Five of the most common bad foot habits that can create foot woes include:
Wearing shoes without socks
Fungus – like the kinds that causes fungal nail infections – grows in dark, moist environments, including shoes. Sticking your feet into shoes without socks exposes them to a potentially contaminated environment and increases you risk of an infection. To cut down on the risk, use an antibacterial spray or powder inside your shoes after wearing them. Wash your feet daily, making sure to dry between the toes where moisture can get trapped. Don’t wear the same pair of shoes multiple days in a row – allow time for them to air out between wearings.
Wearing heels or flip-flops regularly
High heels and pointed-toe shoes contort your feet into an unnatural position and can create structural imbalances throughout the rest of your body that increase your risk for injuries like ankle twists and sprains. Wearing heels for prolonged periods of time can affect the bones of your toes and feet, and can cause existing bunions to get worse. Over time pain, tension, and discomfort can develop from regular wearing of heels, and these symptoms may debilitate into plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and other chronic foot issues. On the ‘flip’ side, flip-flops and many ballet flats offer little support and can lead to heel pain, and pain under the ball of the foot.
Flip-flops are recommended, however, in damp public spaces like gym locker rooms, public pools, and showers. Fungi and bacteria can thrive in these environments, so it’s best to always wear flip-flops or shower shoes when you’re in them. Going barefoot in non-moist environments can also expose your feet to injury from sharp objects and accidents. Going barefoot may be especially risky for people with diabetes, who may not be able to feel if their feet have been injured by something they’ve stepped on.
Not replacing running shoes often enough
Old, worn-out running shoes don’t provide adequate support or shock absorption for your arch, heel and ankles, which can make you more prone to injury. As a general rule, running shoes should be replaced every 300 miles.
Treating toenail fungus at home
There are tons of over-the-counter and home remedies for treating toenail fungus. However, many of them can be ineffective. To really treat nail fungus, you’ll need to enlist the help of your doctor, who will be able to prescribe topical or oral prescription medication to get rid of toenail fungus.
Have your unhealthy foot habits started to catch up with you? If you’re experiencing foot or ankle pain, or are concerned about the health of your feet and ankles, contact our Austin podiatry clinic today.