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13 Things Your Feet Wish You Knew

Seventy-five per cent of Canadians will experience foot problems in their lives. Lower your risk with these tips.

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Every day, your feet absorb over a million pounds of force

The average person walks the equivalent of three times around the equator in their lifetime.

Check out the benefits of walking for just 15 minutes.

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Ouch!

Foot problems—such as plantar fasciitis, bunions and ingrown toenails—will affect an estimated 75 per cent of the Canadian population at some point in their lives.

Always follow this advice to avoid foot pain.

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A 2016 study found that one in four people over age 45 suffer from some kind of foot pain

Likely because of the footwear marketed at them, women were at greater risk than men.

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Diabetes affects your feet

“A person with diabetes-­induced nerve damage can have open wounds on their soles and not even realize it,” says James Hill, president of the Canadian Podiatric Medical Association. Infection, gangrene and amputation can result.

Learn how to spot the signs of diabetes.

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Athlete’s foot isn’t just for athletes

Tinea pedis, or athlete’s foot, is an itchy, painful, highly contagious fungus that thrives in warm, moist environments. Going barefoot in public change rooms is asking for trouble. Wear shower shoes and dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes, before putting on socks and shoes.

Challenge your workout with these new ideas to walk off the weight.

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No, your shoes aren’t getting tighter

Your feet actually grow as you age. Get them measured every time you shop for shoes, but the number is only a starting point. “You might be an eight in one shoe and a 10 in another,” says Hill. “Comfort is the most important factor.”

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Shop later in the day, when your feet are tired and slightly swollen

You’ll be less likely to buy shoes that are too small.

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Fashionable footwear that’s kind to your feet can be hard to find

High-heeled, pointy pumps are particularly bad for aggravating bunions. These painful bumps on the inside of your big-toe joint can require surgery and lead to posture and balance issues. The ideal shoe has a wide toe box and slight wedge at the heel to withstand the force of your gait. “Leave a full thumb’s width between your longest toe and the toe of the shoe,” Hill says.

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Summertime is the season for flip-flops, but these are terrible for foot health

The flimsy soles flatten your feet. “The lack of cushioning forces you to grip the sandals with your toes, putting you at risk for plantar fasciitis,” says Anthony Harper, Pres­ident of the Pedorthic Association of Canada.

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13 things feet sneakersPhoto: Shutterstock

Get the right fit

Even if you’re only going for walks, buy your sneakers from a specialty athletic shoe store. “Staff will analyze your gait and measure your foot’s length, the distance from heel to ball, and the width,” says Harper.

Find out how to choose the right running shoes.

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A long second toe?

If your second toe is longer than your first—a condition called Morton’s Toe, which affects up to one in five people—you have something in common with ancient Greek statues. Unfortunately, you’re also at increased risk for pain in the ball of your feet because of the way you distribute your weight when you walk.

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Can you clear a room just by kicking off your shoes?

The smell is caused by bacteria mixing with the sweat in your socks and footwear. Kill it by dropping a bag of black tea in a warm foot bath and soaking for 30 minutes.

Don’t miss these simple fixes for smelly feet.

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Avoid ingrown toenails by trimming them properly

Leave one to two millimetres in length and cut straight across with a sharp pair of clippers designed for toes.

These are the 50+ health symptoms you should never ignore.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada