Take the time to take care of your feet

If you want those piggies to keep taking you to the market, you've got to put in a little effort.

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You stand on them. You walk with them. But you might be forgetting to take care of your feet, and that's not a good idea if you have circulatory problems or diabetes.

You need healthy feet to remain active, doing the things you enjoy. And if they aren't happy, you aren't happy.

According to livestrong.com, foot care is essential. Don't use water-based lotions, pick an emollient, like a shea butter combination. According to the website, mind your posture and whenever you have the opportunity, put your feet up. Be sure your shoes have enough room so your toes can move.

According to Podiatrist Dr. Curtis Long, swelling or redness that doesn't go away are causes for concern.

"Also, check anything that's black or blue like a bruise or darkness. If there's anything draining or bleeding, get it looked at right away, or if anything's causing pain. Older skin gets thinner and is more subject to injury. Circulation decreases most in the feet because they are farthest from the heart," he said.

Varicose veins increase the problem. "Put your feet up," he continued. "If you have any of those kinds of problems, never sit with your feet down."

Often, people are told to cut the toenail straight across, Dr. Long said that can leave dangerous sharp edges. "Cut the nail so the curve of the nail conforms with the curve of the toe. Then file the corners. File off anything that's sharp."

If you're not able to bend your leg to see the bottom of your foot, your spouse can check for you. Or if you are alone, Dr. Long suggested using a mirror.

He also recommended, "If you have poor circulation, keep warm. If the weight of the bed covers is uncomfortable, put several stiff pillows at the foot of the bed." The weight of the covers will rest on the pillows, not on your feet. "Never sit with your knees or legs crossed, that reduces blood circulation to the feet."

According to Dr. Long, walking is the best exercise to strengthen the feet. If you get foot cramps at night, he said, "It's probably muscle fatigue. Soak them in warm water before bed. Wipe them off thoroughly and go to bed with warm socks on."

Ryan Cornia, podiatrist at Walla Walla Clinic said, "One of the keys is appropriate footwear. There's no substitute for a shoe that fits well. I see people who've worn the same shoe forever. Your feet change with time. Your arch may settle and you need more support. The way the shoe fits may have changed as your foot has changed."

Show your feet some appreciation, they've logged in plenty of miles and you've got farther to go.

Karlene Ponti can be reached at karleneponti@wwub.com or 526-8324.

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