"You can't do anything without your feet," says podiatric surgeon Mike O'Neill, spokesperson for the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists. Simple daily foot care, he says, can significantly reduce the risk of many foot problems:
1 Improve your hygiene: wash your feet daily in warm, soapy water, but don't soak them as this can destroy the natural oils. Remove hard skin with a pumice. Always dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes. This daily routine can prevent common problems, such as corns, calluses, ingrown toenails and athlete's foot. Also, if you're hiking this summer, a dab of surgical spirit in key spots will prevent blisters.
2 Vary your footwear: don't wear the same shoes every day, and try to alternate your heel heights (but avoid heels above 4cm for daily use - wearing very high heels can shorten your achilles tendon).
3 Buy appropriate exercise footwear (from a sports shop, and replace it at least once a year). When you run, your body weight is multiplied up to three times and your feet bear the brunt of this. The wrong shoe can lead to sprained ankles, torn ligaments, shin splints (leg pain), knee pain, and other joint or muscle problems.
4 Walk around your home in bare feet: this exercises all the muscles in your feet, can prevent foot strains and will help keep the feet strong and flexible.
5 Be "foot aware": if you suffer from knee, hip or back pain, a small structural or functional imbalance in the foot could be to blame. Conditions such as arthritis and diabetes may also show initial symptoms in the feet. See a chiropodist or podiatrist if you have any concerns.