One of Canada’s unofficial national pastimes iskeeping in step with Mother Nature’s next major weather event. “Tis the season” is synonymous with keeping our extremities coddled in protective layers of clothing; from down filled jackets to fur lined boots. Accessorized with an endless fashion parade of gloves, scarves, toques and hats; we endure the chilly elements swaddled within layer upon layer of winter wear.
Well hidden and cocooned deep within our winter woollies are our tender tootsies; ensuring that we can navigate from work to play time with aplomb.
Our feet are amazing masterpieces of biodynamic engineering and are truly a work of art.
Tiny but mighty for their physical size, feet host some pretty amazing anatomical statistics.
The human foot is comprised of 26 bones, 33 joints, over 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments and approximately 250,000 sweat glands. Packed into these ten toed little dynamos are over 7,200 nerve endings that link every major organ and body part to our feet.
Keeping all those delicate and intricate body parts happy and comfortable can be challenging during our damp and chilly seasons, especially when our feet are cold, tired or just plain worn out.
Nurturing these magnificent modes of locomotion is as vital to one’s overall well-being as moisturizing your skin and brushing your teeth. Improving a few small steps in your foot hygiene routine will take you giant leaps forward, changing how you sleep at the end of the day and transition into tomorrow.
CLEAN YOUR FEET NIGHTLY
Feet release toxins by sweating throughout the course of the day. Soak your feet at night - paying close attention to washing between the toes and under toe nails with the use of a soft toothbrush. When plagued with winter colds or the flu; soak your feet with Epsom salts and herbal sachets. For the athletic type - try a warm water soak with organic apple cider vinegar for 10 minutes to help with tired feet and fungal infections like athlete’s foot.
DRY THOROUGHLY BETWEEN EVERY TOE
After washing your feet, focus on drying between each toe carefully. Feet are happiest when they are dry and allowed to breathe comfortably.
LET YOUR TOE NAILS BREATHE
Remove nail polish during winter months. Bacteria and fungus like to hibernate underneath polish. Take a break and allow your toe nails to breathe while tucked into winter’s protective gear.
REMOVE CALLUSES with a quality foot file - SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK
Gently and lightly buff off hard or callused skin after drying your feet; then apply lotions containing aloe vera, tea tree oil or shea butter that nurture the skin and bolster foot health.
KEEP TOENAILS TRIMMED
Regularly trim toe nails straight across and at a length to prevent injury to adjacent toes. Pamper your feet with a professional pedicure each season and for those on a tight budget; try DIY at home or contact your local cosmetology school. Your feet will love you for it.
WEAR ROOMY FOOTWEAR
Wriggle your toes in your shoes - they should move freely within the toe box (the front area of the shoe housing your toes) without any constraint.
Wearing thicker and warmer socks may require buying a half-size or bigger footwear in order to accommodate the bulkier layer without squeezing the tender parts of your feet or squashing your toes.
KEEP YOUR TOES AND FEET WARM
Troubled with cold feet at night? Invest in a microwaveable thermal bag or an electric mattress pad. One can also restore warmth by massaging in foot cream - start with circular motions from the heel up to the toes.
Kissing your feet with some mistletoe magic will ensure you will be clicking your heels on the road to a happier and healthier you in the New Year.
WINTER WOOLLIES NATURALLY
When wearing socks, focus on wearing only natural fibres, like bamboo, cotton or wool. Avoid synthetic blends as they can cause your feet to sweat and smell. Fungus infections like to grow in sweaty dark conditions – especially inside synthetic footwear. Synthetic fibres can also wick away the natural oils in your skin, which may result in rough, dry calluses. Carry an extra pair of socks in your exercise gear bag to change into after a workout and avoid wearing damp, sweaty or soiled socks.
BAMBOO LINER SOCKS
Bamboo socks keep feet fresh and have superior moisture absorption, ventilation and warmth. Feet stay cool in summer, warm in winter and dry all year around. Bamboo fibre has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties which can help to combat common skin disorders such as athlete’s foot. Bamboo is non-allergenic and will not irritate skin in the way that many man-made fabrics will.
The major organs in the body are directly linked to areas on each foot. The right foot is associated with the right side of the body and left foot is associated with the left side of the body.
The toes are linked to your head and neck. Massaging your toes will directly affect your neck area. Avoid wearing toe jewelry during the winter months as rings can create pressure on the toes that can result in a sore neck and shoulders.
Your ears are affected by the inside area of your feet - just below your toes.
The big padded area of your soles on both feet, corresponds to the chest and the lungs.
The arch of your foot correlates to your spine. Wear shoes with proper arch support for a healthier back.
The narrowest part of your foot, usually found towards its center, is known as the waistline and is connected to your small intestine.
The stomach is primarily located on the left side of the body so massaging and applying pressure to the left foot can help to treat stomach aches and digestion issues.
Check out your local massage school, DIY or pamper yourself to a professional reflexology foot massage during the holiday season.
Keep feet warm with insulated boot liners to prevent cold from creeping in through the soles.
Natural fibres are best: sheep skin is divine.
Toxins, bacteria and chemicals accumulate on the soles of your shoes as you walk around in public areas and are best not tracked into the sanctity of your private home. Have one pair of house shoes or slippers that are used only inside your home. Keep your floors sanitary for the sake of your foot hygiene and personal wellbeing. Request that your house visitors follow suit and take outside footwear off at the door.