During the average person’s lifetime, they will walk around 115,000 miles; or over four times around the earth. And it’s the feet doing the walking, supporting and balancing. Just one of your wonderful feet contains 26 bones, 33 joints, more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments, and 250,000 sweat glands which can produce up to half a pint of sweat in a day. Perhaps most pertinently, a quarter of the bones in your body are found in your feet – and when these bones are out of alignment it has a knock-on effect elsewhere in the body. So it makes sense to look after your feet and pay them the respect they deserve.
If looking after your feet is absolutely the last thing you could ever imagine doing – or having the time to do – I urge you to try it. Especially for time-pressed, exhausted mamas who have been on their feet all day, this kind of self-nurturing can feel incredibly validating: I am worth the time it takes to give myself a foot massage. And, from someone who has turned cracked, dry clod-hoppers into relatively soft and relaxed feet, I can highly recommend taking charge of the health of a part of your body you entirely rely upon.
5 WAYS TO TREAT YOUR FEET:
1. Wash your feet with a gentle non-drying soap or shower gel, and dry them thoroughly with a towel, taking care to dry between the toes. I like to add a drop of lavender and tea tree essential oil to the water – both antiseptic and anti-fungal and they smell refreshing.
2. Cut your toenails evenly using toenail clippers, and following the curve of the nail. File any uneven areas with an emery board. Unless you’re planning on wearing open-toed shoes (you brave and crazy creature, you!), winter is a good time to give nail polish a miss and let your nails breathe. Because, yes, as my podiatrist pointed out, nails are living and breathing too.
3. Massage a good quality, thick moisturiser into your feet, and make time to really rub it in (or better yet, get someone to do it for you). It’s amazing how pleasurable this is, especially if you rarely, if ever, do something this indulgent for yourself. A drip of oil – olive oil is fine – on your nails is great for their health. Then put on a really comfortable pair of socks – bliss.
4. If your feet are really cracked and sore, make an appointment with a podiatrist. After several decades of putting up with painful feet throughout the winter, I finally went along to a podiatrist and – wow! – she fixed my feet! With all kinds of little gadgets and things that look like mini electric sanders, she revealed pink and healthy feet beneath what my husband lovingly calls the ‘dead feet’.
5. A reflexology treatment is absolute heaven for when you’re really feeling exhausted. Not only does reflexology nurture your feet, but it helps bring balance and health to the rest of your body at the same time. When you feel a bit embarrassed stripping off for a massage in winter (or is that just me?!), a reflexology treatment feels incredibly pampering and you can just lie back and bliss out on the couch.