They often bear the brunt of our fitness efforts. They get sore, and develop calluses and structural problems.
But we don't always give them the TLC they need to keep supporting us.
When was the last time we put up our feet at the end of a long workout, flexed and extended them to stretch them, gave them an honest-to-goodness relaxing bath and soothing rub?
If it's been more than a month, it's a time for a tune-up.
Here's how to care for athletic feet every day:
l Wash feet daily and carefully with soap and water, then dry thoroughly. Use foot powder or talcum powder for sweaty feet and change socks frequently.
Use socks that manage sweat, keeping feet dry. Remove sweaty socks and shoes when done with physical activity. Moist feet are a haven for bacteria and fungus.
Keep toenails trimmed straight across, just past the tips of toes. Too-long nails can dig into skin of adjacent toes, causing pain and discomfort.
Cover a blister with moleskin or an adhesive strip such as a Band-Aid don't pop it. If the blister cracks, wash it, apply an antiseptic and cover with adhesive strip.
Choose athletic shoes that fit properly and are appropriate for your activity.
Heed any unusual pain. Have your foot examined by your doctor.
Here's how to pamper each foot after a workout:
l Wash feet carefully with mild soap and water, dry thoroughly and rub lotion on skin. Sit comfortably on a bed or carpeted floor and bring feet within easy reach.
Stroke the sole in a straight line from heel to tips of toes, starting from one side of foot. Continue running thumb from heel to toes to cross the entire sole. The pressure of the thumb should be comfortable, not painful. Repeat at least three times.
Place fingers or thumb on top of the foot, between bones in middle of the foot. Use as much pressure as is comfortable and move thumb from base of the toes to just above the ankle. Repeat at least three times.
Using thumb, press into any spot on the sole and make a circular motion with thumb. Choose another spot and repeat over the entire sole.
Use two fingertips to "write" crosses, row by row across each foot.
Elevate feet on some pillows and relax.