Many give little thought to the importance of caring for the feet. However, the feet play a major role in the balance and support of the body. We tend to abuse our feet more than we might realize. Contributing to the abuse includes poorly fitting shoes, improperly cared for corns and calluses, and poorly trimmed toenails. Why do your feet get so tired by the end of the day? According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, “an average day of walking…brings a force equal to several hundred tons to bear on the feet.” There is understandable then how quickly the feet can become so tired. A refreshing foot bath can certainly help the achiness in your feet. You can do this for yourself or have someone pamper you by doing it for you. Prepare the following supplies and you’re ready to start:
Medium sized basin
Foot lotion or oil
If your toenails need to be trimmed, it would be wise to do it before the feet get wet. Use a sturdy pair of toenail clippers to trim the nails, not scissors. Clip the nail straight across, then gently file the edges. If you cannot easily visualize the nails, leave them alone or have someone else do this for you. Diabetics and persons with peripheral circulation problems should always have their toenails trimmed by a podiatrist. Accidental cuts in the skin can set up an infection.
Fill a medium sized basin with enough warm water to cover at least to the ankles. The basin should be large enough so that the entire foot can rest comfortably on the bottom. Be aware that persons with certain medical conditions such as diabetes cannot feel temperature as well on their skin, so don’t make the water too hot. Let the water run across your inner wrist to help gauge the temperature if you are not sure.
Place the person in a comfortable position so their feet are not cramped. If you are giving the foot bath to someone else, you can have them either sit or lie down, as long as they are comfortable.
Add a mild soap to the water along with about ½ cup of Epsom salts. Epsom salts, which are actually magnesium sulfate crystals, is great for relaxing muscles and pulling toxins from the body.
Soak the feet for at least 10-15 minutes to allow time for the skin to soften and to loosen dry flakey skin.
Use a Pumice stone to gently remove the dead skin on the heels and sides of the feet. Try to buy one that has a handle; that will make it easier. Don’t rub too hard when using the pumice stone, as this case cause breaks in your skin.
Pat the feet dry, making sure you dry between the toes thoroughly. According to National Institute on Aging, moisture left between the toes can lead to fungus growth.
Massage the feet using a foot lotion or oil such as mineral oil to gently massage the feet using both hands and symmetrical, rotational motions. Foot massages also help improve the circulation to the feet.
Giving a foot bath is not only relaxing but also a good time to inspect your feet, checking for swelling, redness, skin breaks, bunions, corns or calluses. If you are noticing any of these problems, consult with your doctor.
Foot care direct: “General foot care tips”
National Institute on Aging: “Foot care”