Foot Care for Walkers
Walking is the ideal exercise for many people. It helps maintain weight, promotes cardiovascular health, and reduces the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, some cancers, and stroke.
Walking is easy to do and requires little cost beyond a good pair of walking shoes. Good quality shoes are important to avoid injury.
The appropriate shoe
Wearing the appropriate type of shoe is the most important part of foot care for walkers and can make the difference between pleasure and pain when you head out for a stroll.
The ideal shoe varies, depending on your type of foot and how high your arches are. You should shop later in the day when your feet are at their largest. Wear the same type of socks that you would wear for walking.
Try on at least 4 pairs of shoes. Put on and lace both shoes of each pair and walk around for a minute or 2.
When the shoes are on your feet, the heel should be snug and you should be able to wiggle your toes. There should be a half to a full thumb's width between the end of the longest toe on your longer foot and the end of the shoe.
If you have bunions, hammertoes, or other foot problems, ask a podiatrist (foot doctor) about the best shoe and walking routine for you.
If you're a walker, you can maintain foot comfort and prevent injury by doing the following:
Wash your feet every day. Pay particular attention to the area between your toes, and make sure you dry your feet thoroughly.
Inspect your feet daily. If you have calluses or red spots that indicate friction, apply petroleum jelly to the area and add a shake of talcum powder to your feet before putting your socks on.
Watch for fungal infections, such as athlete's foot. Symptoms include itching and redness between the toes.
Wear clean, thick, absorbent socks when you walk, and change them after you exercise.
Cut toenails regularly, straight across the toe.
Small blisters usually resolve themselves. Don't try to drain large blisters by yourself because of the risk of infection. Seek help from a doctor or podiatrist.
- Gomez, Wanda, RN, Ph.D.
- MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician