It’s that time of year when many young adults are leaving the comforts of home and heading off to college and dorm life. While it’s great to get away from mom and dad, and experience all your new-found freedom, you need to remember to take care of yourself and stay healthy. This is especially true when it comes to foot care – something most college students don’t even consider. By following these tips, you can ensure that you’ll be putting your best foot forward toward your college education and new social life, while maintaining proper foot health and wellness.
1. Wear proper footwear
Because of the long distances students often have to walk between campus buildings to attend classes, you may develop heel or arch pain or shin splints – pain along the bone in the front lower leg. To avoid foot and leg pain:
- Wear walking shoes that are properly fitted to your feet. These shoes should support your arches, correctly to the ball of your foot. Choose shoes that follow the natural shape of your foot, and give your toes plenty of wiggle room. Don’t wear shoes that pinch, slide or slip, otherwise you may develop blisters, corns, or calluses.
- Don’t wear flip-flops or sandals when walking to classes. These shoes can be thin and flimsy and provide little to no arch support for your feet. When you walk on sidewalks, or up and down stairs, for a long time in flip-flops and sandals, the muscles in the bottom of your feet can become strained, causing heel pain or plantar fasciitis. Plus, you’ll have no protection from injury if you should trip or someone drops something on your foot.
- Stretch daily before walking to warm your muscles up and prevent injury. This is especially important if you are going to be walking long distances in cold weather. Warm muscles are more supple and are at a lower risk of strain.
2. Don’t overload your backpack
A backpack that is too heavy increases your risk of spine and lower back injuries. It can also affect your posture and cause you to walk with an abnormal gait cycle. This can lead to fatigue, muscle strain, and even foot injuries. Therefore, the total weight of the books and other gear you carry in your backpack should only be about 10% of your body weight. (For example, if you weigh 110 lbs., then you should only carry 11 lbs. of stuff.) Plus, you should wear your backpack properly, using both straps, to evenly distribute the weight and avoid possible shoulder injury.
3. Don’t go barefoot in communal bathrooms/showers or college gyms
Dorm bathrooms/showers and college gyms can be a breeding ground for germs that can lead to foot fungus, HPV-related warts, and athlete’s foot. To avoid picking up foot bacteria and viruses:
- Wear flip-flops when taking showers or walking around in bathrooms.
- Scrub your feet to remove germs. And thoroughly dry them, especially between the toes. This helps reduce the risk of fungal conditions, like athletes foot.
- Check your feet regularly and watch for anything different about them. When caught early, most conditions can be treated quickly and completely with over-the-counter remedies.
4. Regularly groom your feet
Trim your toenails with nail clippers often to keep them from growing too long. Make sure you cut them straight across and not too close to the nail bed to avoid hangnails and ingrown toenail problems. Use 70% isopropyl alcohol to sterilize your nail grooming tools to avoid the risk of infections. Apply foot creams to your feet regularly to keep them soft, and reduce callus formation and buildup.
5. Wear the right footwear for sports activities
If you play sports, make sure you wear the right athletic shoes designed for your particular sport in order to prevent injury. Cross trainers are a good choice for a general athletic shoe. You should buy good quality shoes that provide you with adequate support and cushioning. Plus, you should replace your shoes when they show signs of wear and tear. A broken-down shoe is like a worn-out tire on a car, it offers little to no benefit and can cause damage from lack of support.
Also, you should slowly increase your sports routine to prevent foot injuries caused from overuse.
6. Wear socks and change them often
You should wear clean, dry socks made from natural fibers, like cotton or wool, or the new acrylic moisture-wicking fabrics, like Thorlo socks. Don’t wear socks that are too tight. And, make sure you change your socks frequently, especially if you sweat a lot. Damp socks can lead to athlete’s foot and nail fungus.
7. Don’t share personal items
Nail fungus can be spread from person to person, so don’t share shoes, socks, nail clippers, towels, or washcloths with your roommate or friends.
8. Keep a first aid kit in your dorm room
Besides keeping Band-Aids®, alcohol wipes, over-the-counter pain medication, and antibiotic cream for general injuries, you may also want to make sure you have antifungal cream or powder, moleskin, and corn or callus pads for advanced foot care.
9. If you develop a foot problem, see a doctor
If you develop any type of foot pain or problem, you should visit your doctor, the local foot care clinic, or the campus clinic for proper diagnosis and treatment. Don’t let pain or simple foot problems linger and go unchecked. This can lead to bigger, more serious issues.
If you suffer from any foot conditions, like corns, calluses, arch or heel pain, you should consider wearing customized shoe inserts, like the ezWalker® Performance Insole. These insoles are ultra thin and ¾ in length, so they easily fit into any footwear, including athletic, casual, or dress shoes.
Shoes come in mirror-matched images, feet do not. The ezWalker® is tailor-made to each of your feet, so you will have the exact support each foot needs. These insoles are made for anybody, anywhere, and for all types of footwear. With ezWalker® insoles you’ll know that every step you take on campus will be biomechanically correct, so you’ll reduce the risk that your feet will hurt from all that walking. Because who wants to have a foot injury when you have so many parties to go to – I mean, classes to attend?
Order your ezWalker shoe inserts today. Don’t let foot pain ruin your campus life. Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.