BEAUTY and FITNESS
Body and sole
by Daneeta L.
I have a friend who takes pictures of her feet wherever she goes. Her
album is filled with her feet on the beaches of Thailand, the jungles of Peru, on the peak
of Mt. Fuji, in Trafalgar Square, and in the great redwood forests of the Pacific
Northwest. ďI love my feet,ĀEshe says. And so should you. But loving your feet
doesnít just happen; it takes time and effort.
If the shoe fits....
Wearing the wrong
shoes can cause serious foot ailments such as bunions, corns and calluses (see below).
Leather is the best material for shoes because it breathes and molds to your foot. Make
sure that the soles are flexible and strong and they have adequate arch support. Ladies,
high heels may look stunning, but they can cause all sorts of problems like toe cramps,
incorrect body posture and backaches. If you must wear them, donít wear them for long
stretches or when youíre on a marathon walk around Tokyo. And choose shoes with a
square toe area instead of the 1950ís style toe crunchers to avoid bunions. Join me
in wearing trainers to work and then change into heels. Who knows, maybe we can start a
new fashion craze.
As for fit, if
they arenít comfortable, donít think they will become so with wear. Also,
donít buy shoes based on what you think your size is. Start from there, and if you
need to go up a half size, do so. Brands vary in size. Go by what feels like it fits. Your
feet will spread with age, so make sure that you have both feet measured every time you
buy shoes, and buy for the biggest foot. Go shopping in the afternoon as feet tend to
swell as the day goes on.
Get off on the
Make sure that you dry your feet thoroughly, especially between your toes,
after bathing and sprinkle on a little powder to keep your feet dry. This will help to
prevent athleteís foot. Avoid wearing the same shoes more than one day in a row, and
alternate heel height.
You can exfoliate
your feet at least once a week with a bristle brush or pumice stone to lessen the
occurrence of hard skin. Massaging with almond oil also soothes your feet and increases
circulation. I would caution against using a foot razor as cutting too deeply could cause
infection and damage the skin.
Having a monthly
pedicure is not only a luxury, but can keep hard skin and calluses at bay as well as keep
nails in tiptop condition. Akiyama Megumi, a certified nailist, aromatherapist and
reflexologist, advises asking the pedicurist to file nails instead of clipping as it puts
less pressure on the nail. She also suggests buffing nails instead of polishing and
regular cuticle care to allow proper nutrition to get to the nail bed.
Down at the
There are major
problems associated with the feet that should only be treated by a podiatrist or
chiropodist. These include, but are not limited to, bunions, diabetes and gout. Other less
severe problems are calluses and corns, chilblains, ingrown nails, and athleteís
on the foot due to improperly fitting shoes causes corns and calluses. You can
prevent or remove calluses gradually by rubbing the area with a pumice stone during
bathing, but corns should be treated by a podiatrist or a chiropodist. Most foot
specialists advice against using over-the-counter solutions for corns as the medication
tends to damage healthy skin around the corn.
are caused by the skinís abnormal reaction to cold. Symptoms include burning and
itching which is intensified when the skin is warmed. Swelling and redness may occur and
sores may develop. You can prevent chilblains simply by keeping your feet and legs warm.
Layer with tights and socks when you go outside and sleep with long johns and socks.
Rubbing lanolin ointment on your feet can also help to retain heat. If you develop
chilblains, do not scratch them. Rubbing on lotions with a witch hazel or calamine base
will relieve some of the itching and burning. If your feet have ulcerated, itís best
to see a doctor.
occur when the nail grows into the skin and becomes embedded. Although ingrown nails can
be caused by poor nail structure, improperly fitting shoes and hosiery or injury, the most
common cause is cutting your nails improperly. Nails should not be cut too short, nor
should they be cut down the sides. Cut them the same shape as your toe or, better yet,
file them the same shape as your toe. If your toe becomes inflamed, you can bathe it in a
saline solution, but you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
foot is a common fungal infection that can manifest on both skin and nails. The
condition is not harmful, however, left unchecked, nails can become infected and the
problem will be much more difficult to treat. The fungus thrives in dampness, so watch
yourself on your jungle vacation this Christmas. Symptoms are itching between the toes,
red, itchy skin, flaking, peeling and cracking. When toenails are infected, they appear
yellow or brown. Wearing socks made from natural fibers, well-fitting shoes that allow air
to circulate and using an anitfungal powder can help with prevention. Make sure that your
shoes air out and dry completely between wears. Over-the-counter creams, ointments and
powders are available for treatment. I always carry some in my travel medical kit as you
never know where this kind of medication is or isnít available.
Daneeta L. Saft
is a Tokyo-based writer and health and fitness acolyte. For more info on this and other
health and fitness stuff check out her website at www.healthy-bytes.com