How to sooth tired, aching feet

If you're busy juggling work and home you may go for the occasional pedicure and squeeze in time to buy some fashionable shoes. But you probably don't give much thought to your overall foot health. Foot experts say it is time to make some changes.

“Chronic foot problems that limit mobility and cause persistent pain as we age often begin during young adulthood,” explains Peter Morcom, a Canadian certified pedorthist and president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada. “Although your feet may not be causing you any trouble at the moment, don't take them for granted.”

Composed of dozens of bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons, our feet are delicate but each day they take a beating. Morcom says the following tips will help ensure you stay mobile and pain-free into retirement:

Follow the 80/20 rule. Save your strappy sandals or high heels for important events or parties; wear supportive, properly fitting shoes 80 per cent of the time and only wear your fashionable, ill-fitting onesthe remaining 20 per cent.

Wear the right shoes for your sport. Remember athletic shoes break down over time, even when they're in your closet, so be sure to replace them regularly.

Have your feet measured. Adult feet can widen with age, and often change in size and shape after pregnancy. When you purchase new footwear, have your feet measured to make sure you are buying your correct size.

Get moving. If you don't participate in a regular sport, add a walk to your daily routine. It's a great, low impact way to keep foot muscles strong and foot joints limber, which will help protect your feet from injury.

Pamper your feet. Take time to wash and dry your feet daily. Be sure to keep your toe nails neatly trimmed, but don't cut them too short or they may become ingrown. Always keep an eye out for blisters, cuts and calluses and treat them immediately.

Seek professional advice. Foot pain is not normal. If your feet or lower limbs hurt, schedule an assessment with a Canadian certified pedorthist. Your pedorthist will advise whether different footwear, custom-made foot orthotics, stretches, icing or rest will help.

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