If you want to get in top shape for 2016, don’t forget about your feet! It’s easy to take them for granted, but they’re the foundation of a fit body, and foot injuries or problems can be devastating for your fitness goals. We asked top podiatrist Emma Supple, clinical director of Supplefeet footcare clinic (supplefeet.com) and fellow of the College of Podiatry, for her top tips on how to enjoy beautiful, healthy feet, whatever you’re putting them through.
1) DO lace your trainers right
Using butterfly lacing prevents heel slippage and releases the pressure on the top of your foot. Pick up your shoe and take out the laces from the top two holes on each side. Lace straight from the third hole down on the left side to the top hole on right side and repeat on the other side. Create a loop by threading the lace that’s now top left into the hole one down from that; repeat on the other side. Then take the left lace and thread it through the right loop, and vice versa. Tie your trainers as normal, adjusting the fit by pulling the lace at the top hole.
2) DON’T apply surgical spirit to toughen the skin on your feet.
This is popular with athletes but drying out your skin is not a good idea. Skin is a marvel and if you keep it moisturised and in great condition it will be less likely to crack, blister and become sore. Scrub your feet daily with a bristle brush, then moisturise with a good moisturiser such as Supple London Mineral Foot Cream, £16 for 100ml; supplefeet.com, CCS Foot Care Cream, £7.99 for 175ml; Boots or Flexitol Heel Balm, £4.99 for 56g; Boots. Look for dedicated foot creams with urea and extra moisturising properties.
3) DO carry out your calf stretches with both legs bent
This is the only way to stretch the third part of your Achilles tendon complex. Put your hands on a wall at shoulder height and lean into it with a bent front leg and feet flat on the ground. Do this with your back knee bent as well (people usually keep it straight).
4) DON’T use electric home pedicure machines to get rid of dry skin.
These machines create heat in the tissues of the skin on your feet as they rub, which can cause inflammation. Wash your feet daily as above, but opt for cooler to cold water for a refreshing foot wash.
5) DO keep your feet strong.
Practise splaying your toes daily and also try lifting your whole foot and gripping downwards, keeping the arch tight for a few seconds. Do five of these gripping movements a day on each foot.
6) DON’T put duct tape on verrucas
There’s no evidence to show this works. Instead, scrub your feet with a bristly brush and antibacterial soap. Verrucas always go, but take an average of two years. You could also try using gentle salicylic and lactic acid, such as Duofilm (£4.04 for 15ml; chemistdirect.co.uk) to soften the verruca. Use it no more than three times a week.
7) DO separate your toes at the end of every day.
Try Vibram Five Fingers and yoga sandals that separate your toes (try Beech Yoga Sandals, £19.99; zumshoes.co.uk) as the foot is an anatomical structure and strong, supple feet will help keep them healthy.
8) DON’T waste high-heel time time in trousers!
Keep them for when you wear skirts and dresses so you don’t put too much pressure on certain areas of your feet.