Alright friends, we’re going to talk about feet today. Specifically, “dad feet.” Chances are, that brings an unpleasant image to your mind, whether it’s a corn on bottom of foot, ugly toenails, blisters, or worse. In a previous blog, I talked about the importance of self-care and how important it is. Unfortunately, many people (especially men) tend to ignore their feet when they’re practicing self-care.
Just as there are small steps to practicing self-care, there are small steps to taking care of your feet. Thankfully, those small steps (no pun intended) can make a big difference.
If you don’t pay much attention to your foot health, it’s time to start! Not only will they feel better, but you won’t be labeled as having “dad feet” any longer! With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few tips you can start implementing into your regular routine for healthier feet.
1. Change Your Socks
Take a look at the socks you’re wearing right now. Are they clean? How long have you been wearing them?
…Are they the same ones you wore yesterday?
It’s far too easy to throw on a pair of dirty socks, or wear the same socks all day long even after working out, spending the day at the office, etc. Ideally, you should change your socks at least twice a day and perhaps more depending on how much you sweat.
If that seems excessive, consider this: At any given time, between 15-25% of the population has foot fungus. Toenail fungus and foot fungus are caused when moisture gets “trapped,” and fungi start to grow.
Toenail fungus can cause your nails to become brittle and misshapen and can emit a foul odor. In severe cases, it can even turn the nail(s) black and cause them to fall off. While there are treatments for fungus, it’s better to prevent it in the first place! You can lower your risk greatly by switching out your socks and letting your feet breathe.
2. Wash Your Feet
This might seem like common sense, but far too many people forget about washing their feet or think that simply standing in a shower does the trick.
Washing your feet daily with soap and water can help to prevent conditions like athlete’s foot, especially for men. If you’re active or you tend to have sweaty feet, keep them as clean as possible. It only takes a minute to scrub your feet with soap and rinse them clean, so make it a part of your daily shower routine.
3. Keep Them Dry
After you’re done washing your feet, make sure to dry them thoroughly! This goes back to the “changing your socks” principle. Fungus thrives in moist areas. After you’ve taken a shower, give your feet some time to completely dry, as long as you’re in your own home and not walking around barefoot in public.
It’s especially important to focus on drying the areas between your toes. They’re often missed and because they don’t get exposed to the air as much, it can be easier for fungus and bacteria to move in. Take a few extra seconds with your towel and dry between those toes to stay safe.
4. Cut Your Toenails the Right Way
Is there a wrong way to cut your toenails? Unfortunately, yes.
You might think since your nails have a naturally-curved shape to them, that’s the way they should be cut. But, that can pose a few risks. Making one or two longer curved cuts and trying to get into the corners of your nails can accidentally cut your skin or allow bacteria to get underneath your nail. Cutting your nails too short also makes it easier to develop a fungal infection.
The best way to cut your nails is with a sharp, sterilized set of nail clippers. Make sure your nails are completely dry so they don’t rip or tear, and then make small cuts, straight across the top of the nail.
5. Give Yourself a Foot Massage
A foot massage is more than just a way to relax after a long day. It actually has health benefits and can improve your circulation. If you suffer from poor circulation or your hands and feet feel cold all the time, you might be surprised at how quickly a simple massage can help.
If you’re lucky, you can get someone to massage your feet for you (and if you’ve been taking care of your feet as you should, they might be more willing!). But, you can give yourself an effective foot massage, too. Simply take a tennis ball and roll it back and forth between your heel and the ball of your foot. You can do it from a seated position or standing. Repeat on the opposite foot for as long as you’d like.
Bonus Step: Strengthen Your Feet
Did you know that most people tend to have weak feet? If your feet feel tired or aching at the end of each day, you could benefit from some “foot-strengthening” too. Thankfully, you can actually work out your feet just as you would any other part of the body.
One easy and quick way to strengthen your feet is to put a towel on the floor. Then, try to bunch it up and bring it toward you with your toes. This works a lot of muscles in your foot, and you can do it when you’re getting ready in the morning or even when you’re watching television. A workout while watching TV? It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
As a dad, as a man, and as a person in general, taking care of your feet should be a regular part of your self-care routine, and it doesn’t take long to include it in your daily habits. You don’t have to fall into the stereotype that all men have “gross” feet. With a few simple steps, you can keep your feet healthy, happy, and looking great all year long, and even strengthen them while you’re at it!