According to the Mayo Clinic, we take between 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day. That’s approximately two miles—and a lot of wear and tear on the toes!

Your poor feet need a little attention from time to time. 

Otherwise, you could put your feet at risk for unnecessary pain or foot issues. Fungal infections might become a problem, too. 

Take a step in the right direction with these top foot care tips. That way, you can keep your feet happy and healthy, one foot at a time.

1. Keep ’em Clean

The first step for proper foot care is to keep your feet clean. Sounds easy, right?

Even so, many people neglect good foot hygiene.

Make sure to clean and scrub your feet by using soap. After your shower, dry them thoroughly.

Fungi thrive in moisture. Keeping your feet clean and dry can ensure you don’t create an environment for fungal infections to form. Dry between your toes, too! Otherwise, you might unintentionally leave excess moisture trapped there.

2. Look Them Over

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. Patients with Type 2 diabetes often experience pain or numbness in their feet.

This is a result of nerve damage, which also makes it more difficult for sores or cuts to heal.

Examine your feet for problems once a week. A self-completed foot exam can help you check for potential issues. The best time for these exams is right after a shower or bath.

While you’re drying each foot, look on the soles for scaling.

You should also check between your toes for peeling skin. Both of these issues could indicate athlete’s foot.

Meanwhile, nail discoloration could indicate a nail fungus.

If you have diabetes, check your feet once a day. Diabetes patients are already at higher risk for infections and sores. This self-check can help you limit the foot problems you’re experiencing. 

3. Cut Them Down

When cutting your nails, making sure you’re taking the proper steps. Cut each toenail straight across. It’s also important to avoid trimming too close to the skin.

Drastically rounding the corners of each nail could cause ingrown toenails.

By learning how to properly cut your nails, you can avoid issues—and pain.

4. Don’t Hide Issues

You might feel embarrassed by the foot issues you’re experiencing. Many people try to hide their cracked, thick, discolored, or crumbling nails with nail polish.

Don’t. These issues aren’t just unappealing. They’re also possible signs of nail fungus.

Putting on nail polish could cause an infection to get worse.

If you notice these issues, see a doctor. A podiatrist can discuss the best options for your foot care moving forward.

5. Protect Your Feet

Don’t walk around barefoot, especially in public spaces. That includes the gym, locker rooms, and at public pools.

These locations are high in sweat and foot traffic. Unfortunately, this makes them the perfect environments for fungi to form. By protecting your feet and gearing up, you can avoid infections while still getting your daily exercise in.

6. Circulate

Switch out your restrictive shoes for something a bit more breathable. 

Leather and mesh fabrics are great examples of breathable footwear. These materials will allow air to circulate. If your feet sweat a lot, this can help you keep perspiration to a minimum.

Otherwise, all that sweat could cause bacteria to build up and attack.

7. The Perfect Fit

When you head out shoe shopping, don’t feel the need to squeeze into a would-be perfect pair of shoes. Instead, wear shoes that fit for proper foot care.

A pair of too-tight shoes could cause you long-term problems.

Treat your feet to a pair of shoes that look and feel great!

Schedule your next shoe shopping trip for the end of the day. When you’re on your feet all day long, your feet will experience minor foot swelling. Shopping after an active day can help you find shoes that compensate for this swelling.

Make sure you wear the same type of socks you usually do when trying on shoes.

Need help choosing a style?

Broad, round shoes give your toes plenty of space. Avoid pointy shoes that cramp your toes together. These can cause ingrown toenails or calluses.

8. Stop Sweat

Don’t feel embarrassed if you’re prone to excessively sweaty feet. In some cases, your socks might be the cause.

Choose socks made of synthetic fibers instead of ones made of cotton or wool. These socks will keep your feet dry while removing moisture.

Tight pantyhose can trap moisture, too, so avoid these as well.

Sweat can cause bacteria to build up. For healthy foot care, stop the sweat in its tracks!

9. Don’t Share

Avoiding walking a mile in someone else’s shoes—literally. Sharing footgear can cause you to develop fungal infections.

That goes for wearing someone’s socks, too. 

If you go bowling or ice skating a lot, consider purchasing your own shoes. This is another opportunity to treat your feet! Otherwise, rentals can cause issues and infections.

10. See the Doc

Don’t try to self-treat foot pain problems you’re experiencing. In some cases, home treatments can make problems worse.

If you notice redness, swelling, pain, or discoloration, head over to a podiatric physician. Scheduling an appointment at a podiatrist’s office like Premier Podiatry can help determine the root of the issue. 

A foot exam can then also prevent minor issues from becoming bigger ones.

In some cases, you just need a prescription or a minor in-office procedure. Speaking with a medical professional can also help you determine proper foot care steps you can take at home. 

Stay a Step Ahead: Tips for Healthy Foot Care

Stay a step ahead with your foot hygiene. By following these 10 steps for healthy foot care, you can avoid pain and fungal infections. 

Don’t forget to examine your feet with a self-completed exam at least once a week. Now you’re taking a step in the right direction.

Explore our health and fitness section for more helpful tips and health guides!

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How to Trick Your Brain into Making Better Decisions (Backed By Scientific Studies)

What are some tools to use for effective decision making? originally appeared on Quora – the knowledge sharing site where questions are answered by people with unique insights. This answer was shared by Charles Duhigg, staff writer for the New York Times and author of Smarter Faster Better, on Quora:

Here is what scientific studies say will help you make better decisions:

Thinking through various, contradictory possibilities, and then trying to force yourself to figure out which ones are more or less likely, and why. (This is known as probabilistic thinking, and studies show that it significantly increases the quality of people’s decision making.)

Say, for instance, that you are trying to decide whether your group of rebels should attack the Death Star. Seems like an easy decision, right?

After all, the Death Star is filled with jerks, and it has a big glaring weakness (that apparently no architect considered when designing the ship): one well placed shot can blow up the entire thing.

If you are some hillbilly from Tatooine, you’ll charge off into space. You’ll think about this decision in binary terms (“The Empire=bad. The rebels=good. What can go wrong?”)

But, if you are practiced at decision making, you’ll probably do something a bit differently: you’ll sit down with Adm. Ackbar, and you’ll try to envision the dozens of different outcomes that are possible. (“We could get defeated before we make it to the ship. We could make it to the ship and not have enough X-wings.

We could have enough X-wings but then miss the shot. We could make the shot but our intel could be wrong. We could have good intel and make the shot and the Death Star blows up, but our reward is Jar Jar Binks…” You get the point.)

Now, here’s the thing: you aren’t going to be very precise at assigning probabilities to all those possibilities. (“What are the odds that our intel is bad?”) But forcing yourself to think through all the possibilities and then simply TRYING to assign odds will be really helpful in revealing what you do and don’t know.

So, maybe you are pretty certain that your intel is good, and maybe you are pretty certain that, if they can get close to the Death Star, your pilots will hit the target (because, after all, you’ve got the force on your side), but you aren’t particularly certain that you have enough X-wings to make sure that you’ll get close to the Death Star.

Now you know which parts of your plan are weakest, you know what you need to learn more about and what problems you need to solve to increase the odds of success.

Our brains, left to their own devices, prefer to think about choices in binary terms. (And, from an evolutionary standpoint, this is really efficient.)

But to make better decisions, we have to force ourselves to think probabilistically – AND THEN WE NEED TO GET COMFORTABLE WITH THE FACT THAT PROBABILISTIC THINKING TENDS TO REVEAL HOW MUCH WE DON’T KNOW.

It is scary to confront uncertainty. It can make you crazy and anxious. That’s why it is so much easier to look at choices as binary options (“I’ll either succeed or fail”) or deterministic outcomes (“I ended up married to her because she was my soulmate.”)

But if you genuinely want to make better decisions, you have to fight that instinct, and make yourself think about multiple possibilities – both the good and the bad – and be really honest with yourself about what you do and don’t know (and what is knowable and unknowable.)

And then you have to take a leap, and make a decision, and see it as  an experiment that gives you data, rather than a success or failure that you should congratulate yourself on/beat yourself up about.

Because, unfortunately, the force doesn’t really exist. But probabilities do.

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