Have you ever considered the impact of sore feet on your quality of life? If you are like me, and let’s face it, I’m fairly average, the moment I think ‘sore foot’ my mind imagines a blister or a severely stubbed toe (the sort of stubbing that takes skin off your toe tip. Ouch!)
Minor as these injuries may sound, they still have the potential to slow you down. More severe foot damage can be disabling.
Any physical disablility has the potential to affect your mental and emotional health and even your ability to care for yourself. Damage to your feet is no different.
How can a sore foot affect your mood?
Remember that huge blister on your heel that had you limping around all day thanks to your new, badly fitting shoes that you wish you’d broken in some other day! You tried not to pop that huge water filled bubble because you’d heard popping blisters is bad. Then at some point in the day you realised that sucker had popped itself. The loose skin had managed to tear off and the pain of that bare, raw, pink flesh against that new, expensive footwear was killing!!
You simply didn’t have time for this. It was a busy day of work, you had kids to run around after, a marathon to train for, a dinner date to dress for, groceries to shop for. You had things to do and the hobbling around from that darned blister was making you irritable!
It didn’t help that the ill fitting culprit shoe was still on your foot because you didn’t have another pair of comfortable shoes on hand to change in to. Well, half on really because, lets face it, you gave up wearing that new shoe properly a couple of hours ago. Instead, you have resigned yourself to crumpling the collar of the heel as you limp about the office or the supemarket because that was the only way to get some relief. And boy, do you look happy. Not!
Sure you could have kicked off your shoes and walked barefoot throught the market. But you didn’t because for some reason adults walking barefoot through a supermarket is frowned on. (Kids can get away with it due to the aura of youthful, innocent, carefree abandon they radiate. Adults, not so much). And I’ve been told off for being barefoot in the office. Something about unprofessionalism. Even though I was sitting at my desk with my shoes nicely placed near my feet in case I had to put them on in a hurry.
It’s frustrating enough that something relatively minor like a blister or deep set splinter can prevent you from being able to do the things you normally do as quickly or easily as you are used to doing them. (It has also always amazed me how such a small thing as a splinter can cause such pain). Imagine the impact of a severe foot injury with chronic pain. Tiring, depressing and frustrating are just some of the moods that have struck me when impacted by severe foot related injruy. And I wasn’t the one injured!
The day to day activities we take for granted when healthy.
I remember when my husband snapped his Achilles tendon. He had run on for a local rugby team that was short of players. Before going to the game he was adament he wasn’t going to play. He was getting old and bit past it he thought, but he took his boots just in case. He was on for one minute. Truly. One minute. A scrum went down and everyone heard the “twang” as his archilles gave way.
He was in a special boot for weeks. I repeat, weeks.
We lived on a small farm running a few beef cattle. He was the farmer. I worked at an office in town but would take on the role of farm hand each day before and after work. Of course, I had to do a bit extra around the farm when he injured himself. My tasks mainly involved moving the cows, feeding out and checking the water tanks. Basic things to keep the farm ticking over.
Because he appreciated the extra support I was providing he figured the least he could do was make me a cup of tea when I came in late off the farm. Simple, right? The vision of him hobbling back to the couch while attempting to balance the cup and use his crutches, all the while slopping large amounts of tea out onto the kitchen floor, was hysterical. It also gave me an extra job. Cleaning up after him.
I guess what I am saying is, when you have damaged your foot in some way you have to adapt, sometimes hugely, the way you do normal day to day things. How much adaptation is required depends on your injury and how much pain you are in. How much help you have. And the type of job you do.
Until they begin to hurt, most of us don’t really give our feet the love and attention they deserve. Nor do we consider how we are going to manage without them and the way our quality of life will be impacted.
Footcare Strategies For Maintaining Quality of Life
The following foot care strategies will help you prevent, or minimise, the occurence of future foot problems.
When it comes to quality of life, prevention is better than cure and you can read about that in my post Preventjng Foot Related Problems.
The following strategies can be implemented before the condition of your feet deteriorates into a state that needs medical attention.
Or, if you are on the road to recovery after a foot injury, I suggest you implement some or all of these suggestions to reduce the chance of your foot injury recurring. The best thing is to always look after your feet.
- Assess Your Feet.
Put them up on your couch, or the nearest chair, desk, enormous plant pot…whatever is next to you right now and look lovingly at your feet. Truly appreciate the things they do for you. Seriously. They walk you, run you, keep you standing, squeeze into ridiculous shoes. They tip toe, they dance, they feel the grass on our soles (and in our souls) when you let them out. They are a truly fabulous part of our body. Tell them so, every day. And while you’re at it, cast an eye over your feet for any early signs of of foot related issues.
- Maybe it’s time for new socks.
If, before you got to lay eyes on your feet, you had to remove some questionable quality socks, it might be time to replace your manky, holey, worn footwear for something a bit more respectable. In other words, buy yourself some new socks.
Last week I threw out two pairs of socks. Truly I did. In fact, now that I’m writing this I wish I’d taken photo’s. One was a pink pair, not quite so vibrantly bright any more after frequent washing. They weren’t tossed away because of their lack of lustre, but because one had a hole in it. At the big toe to be precise.
The hole was large enough to allow the tip of my toe through and then the sock would proceed to strangle my toe. I swear, blood flow to the tip of my toe was being cut off. And when I removed the offending sock, a nice red ring mark circled my big toe.
Of course, because I am a self-confessed procrastinator, it took my toe being abused in this way for two days before the message became loud and clear. Throw the socks. Buy new ones.
The other were a pair of sport socks that had worn through the heel. I was visiting my mother at the time (she lives a few hours away so I’d gone up for the weekend). Saying my socks had worn through the heel is a bit of a misrepresentation on their state. The heels on both socks were completely missing. Like a sock monster had bitten a chunk out of my socks and left…well, air.
So I threw them out. Into the cardboard box that my mother uses as a rubbish bin. In the laundry room. Only to find them the next day washed and returned on top of my overnight bag.
I love my mother and had to smile, packed the socks into my carry bag and took them home where they were cut up to use for dusting. I just couldn’t bring myself to throw out clean socks!
It occurred to me while dusting the dresser, that mother kept my socks because they looked so colorful. When I wear socks, I do like them to be bright (today my feet are ensconsed in bright red). It makes perfect sense to brighten my day with colorful socks. That’s why I love Happy Socks. They are just so darned cheery and happiness inducing.
- Moisturise Dry, Cracked Feet
If you see signs of dryness or cracks, it’s time to moisturise. (It might also be time to assess your daily water intake as well). Dry cracked skin can more easily pick up infections, so if you notice dry skin, go grab some moisturiser and lather some Moisture Love on your feet.
I have a container of Peppermint Intensive Cooling Foot Rescue from the Body Shop by my bed for this purpose. My husband uses Intensive Heel Repair which I admit to borrowing sometimes when my insistence on walking around barefoot on our concrete roof results in my heels remonstrating the activity with killer cracks. (Although I know what will happen with barefoot walkin’ I still manage to make excuses for doing it. Call me crazy).
- Soap and Water Clean
Before applying that moisturiser or putting on those new socks, make sure your feet are clean. Soap and water will do the job just fine. If you fancy being fancy then sure, buy yourself some expensive lather rich, deliciously fragrant cleanser.
- Trim Those Toe Nails
Trimming toe nails is a job I tend to leave longer than I should. Hence the holes in my socks for my toes to get strangled! It’s not that I don’t like trimming my nails…it’s that I have difficulty easily reaching my toenails. My body doesn’t bend and flex quite the way it used to.
Added to that, I have thick toe nails. One tip I read for hard to trim nails was to try try clipping them straight after a bath or shower when they are softer. I’d like to say that the heat of a shower on my old muscles also helps me stretch just that tiny bit further so nail trimming can be accomplished. It doesn’t. What is most important is to have strong, robust clippers developed specifically to trim toenails. Which is why I use these heavy duty, stainless steel toenail clippers.
- Check Your Shoes
Are they looking a little rough. Maybe even old and worn. Rough seams can iriritate your feet. Worn fabric can more easily allow small pebbles in and they can be annoying, as well as irritating. If your shoes are starting to look well used, it might be time to replace them.
If you need new shoes then be sure to select good quality footwear. Poorly-fitting or unsupportive shoes can lead to foot problems. This is particularly so for women because we seem to think that squeezing our feet into high heels makes us look good. (Ok, for some of you that might be true, you look fabulous, I’ll give you that). If you want to prevent problems with your feet in the future, then I recommend going for comfort, not height.
Lately, I’ve found Sketchers to be my footwear of choice. Quite a few pairs grace my wardrobe. They are extremely comfortable. Obviously some excellent technology that has gone into their shoe creation. What keeps more coming back is the comfort and the range of colors that lets me dream color co-ordinating dreams.
- Don’t Play Rugby When You Are Old
Not full on rugby anyway. More the ‘Tackling Not Allowed, No Pushing In The Scrum’ type of rugby. Which probably means, play Touch or Tag Rugby when you’re old.
It’s Too Late For Maintainence. How Do I Survive Through This Foot Disorder Now?
Let’s face it, you’re probably reading this blog post now because you’re off your feet and it’s starting to get you down. Here are a few suggestions for helping youreslf get back on your feet and into a better frame of mind.
- Find Your Support, Your Team, Your Help.
Support is super important when you are immobile, even temporarily. So ask for help. Organise your support crew. Call in whoever you need to call in. See if the local hospital can recommend a communitiy home help service. Hire a maid, a cook, the neighbour, your grandkids – anybody who can help you do the things you find a little bit difficult. Like cleaning the house. Cooking your meals. Carrying out the trash. Doing your shopping. Putting on your socks. Now is not the time to be staunch and stubborn. It’s better to be smart, prepared and enjoying, as much as possible, your down time.
- Planning And Organisation Are Necessary To Get Through The Day
Being off your feet for any length of time and two things become obvious. One, it is more difficult to keep yourself fed and watered with good quality meals. And two, it is surprising how much longer it takes to do things when you are less mobile than usual. Planning ahead and organising your day are necessary to stay on top of the situation. This is especially if you do not have live in, or any kind of help.
If friends or family are coming to call let them know exactly what you need and when. Don’t be shy asking them to bring food or to vaccum your house and hang out the laundry.
Have easy, ready to heat meals waiting in the fridge. If you can’t make our own meals or don’t have anyone to make them for you, buy them. Most supermarkets deliver these days. Of course if you live in a more isolated region you might be out of luck on that score. It might be time to get to know your closest neighbours.
Learn some one pot cooking recipes. One pot cooking is easier than something that requires bouncing around the kitchen. I admit to being a fan of the one pot cook up.
Fill a thermos with tea and another with cold water and ice for the day. Make sure the tea is made the way you like it. As in, if you usually take milk and sugar, put it all in the thermos. It just saves fussing about. Place both drink containers near where you like to sit. And don’t forget to have the cups there as well. I used to leave my husband a stack of paper cups at the table so he could drink his coffee without having to walk about with it or worry about washing dishes.
Time your showers for when help is on hand to dry those hard to reach places and help you put on your brand new colorful socks.
- Listen To The Health Care Professional
My husband was absolutely hopeless on this point. Resting was the order. Not over using the foot. Each time I drove him for a check up the nurse would ask, ‘Have you been resting?’ ‘Yes, of course’ was the reply. Then she would check his boot and find it covered with dirt and grass stains, and possibly streaks of cow poop. I’d roll my eyes and shake my head.
We had many a ‘discussion’ on his inablilty to do what he was told. The final straw was the day I came home to find the house empty and the tractor gone. What The Heck! I remember him saying he wanted some work done on the track down by the river. So I walked down to the river. There he was. Sitting side saddle on the tractor. Trying to drive it to the other side of the river so he could talk with the young man we had employed temporarly to do some scrub clearing.
Ours was on old machine. More akin to a death trap than a tractor. (A Massey Ferguson for those of you who know your tractors). It wasn’t the easiest thing to drive when sitting astride it properly. Driving it side saddle with one foot in a moon boot was not recommended activity from our health care professional. The tractor stalled at the top of the slope down to the river. It looked like it was going to tip. He had to jump off. It was a slow motion effort. Certainly not fluid. There was lots of jigging, like he was trying not to sit on hot potatoes, before extracting himself from the seat to the ground.
He saw me and said, “Gae, so glad you’re here. Can you help?” My reply was steely. “You’re meant to be at home. That’s where I’ll be”, and I turned and went home. Our discussion that evening went something like this, “If you have to stay in this boot longer than 8 weeks because you cannot stay home and do what you’re supposed to, I’m out. Leaving. Gone. I’m moving to the city. I am not doing this extra work for longer than eight weeks. I just am not! Capice?” At least he stopped driving our death trap tractor to the river.
- iWalk 2
The one thing that gets people down most with foot injuries is the fact that they can not walk. Crutches are great and for years have served humankind well in getting us mobile. But they also are ungainly to carry about, uncomfortable to use and don’t allow you to carry cups of tea.
iWalk 2 is a product that allows people with a lower leg injury to be mobile again. It is not a product that everybody can use so read carefully the Things You Need To Know before purchasing this product.