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6 Daily Habits That Are Completely Destroying Your Feet

These common habits can wreak havoc on your foot health.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Showing your feet some TLC should be a top priority, although many of us are guilty of overlooking it. Just think about how much you use your feet on a daily basis. After all, they get you from one place to the next and can endure much wear and tear whether you're running errands, exercising, or on your feet for longer than usual.

To ensure your feet stay in great health, we spoke with two podiatrists who share some daily habits that destroy your feet that you should be mindful of. Keep reading to learn more, and next, be sure to check out 8 Habits That Destroy Your Workout Before You Begin.

You're not choosing the right shoes for your feet.

woman putting on high heels

The shoes you wear while playing sports, exploring theme parks, running daily errands, and more can greatly impact your foot health. "Now this is part art and part science—a shoe should fit well, both in the toe and midfoot as well as the heel," sports podiatrist and advisor to Kane Footwear, Dr. Dan Geller explains. "You should avoid shoes that are too tight and heels that slip. Find out what kind of foot type you are and consider a shoe that appropriately supports or cushions what you need. If you invest wisely, you'll be rewarded immensely."

Going off of that key point, make sure the shoes you select aren't too narrow, as they can cause major issues for your feet. According to Dr. Brad Schaeffer, board-certified podiatrist and foot surgeon at Central Park SOLE and star of TLC's My Feet Are Killing Me, "The wingtip shoe is the worst shoe—especially for men. It has a narrow point that squishes your toes together. Wearing shoes that are too tight can actually be the biggest culprit for foot issues such as bunions and ingrown toenails."

You're wearing flip-flops too often.

yellow flip flops

Dr. Geller calls flip-flops a "necessary evil" when you're heading to the beach or relaxing by the pool, but you shouldn't make it a habit of wearing flip-flops when you're walking a lot. He explains, "Their lack of cushion and support put undue stress on our arches and Achilles tendon. They also make our toes work overtime by grabbing onto the front of the flip flop to stabilize, which can lead to hammertoes."

You're not wearing socks.

rolled-up socks in drawer

Not wearing socks with your shoes is not only gross, but it can heighten your risk of developing an infection or common foot issues like Athlete's Foot. Dr. Schaeffer explains that socks keep excess moisture at bay, which is a major culprit behind common foot conditions. "Dr. Scholl's has a great new insole, Go Sockless!, which is awesome for those looking to go sockless with confidence and not have to worry about the risks," he adds.

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You're wearing the same shoes over and over when working out.

closeup elderly man tying sneaker in gym

It's a smart idea to have a couple of pairs of workout shoes on deck. Why? Well, Dr. Schaeffer reveals, "Wearing the same pair of shoes day in and day out (especially throughout your workouts) can also cause shoes to hold onto excess moisture. It takes your shoes about a day or sometimes more to fully dry."

You're not looking at your feet or showing them any self-care.

woman putting lotion on her feet

Next up in our bad daily habits that can destroy your feet is not showing them any kind of love. Inspecting your feet is something that should be part of your daily schedule. Look at the skin at the bottom of your feet, the skin in between your toes, and the skin at the top of your feet. "If you have any suspicious lesions you haven't seen before, get it checked," Dr. Geller recommends.

In addition, if you have a pampering skincare routine that involves buttering yourself up in a lotion, your feet deserve the in on that regimen as well! "How often do we remember to also lather our feet? Dry skin on our feet can result in cracked skin that can be uncomfortable," Dr. Schaeffer says. "The Dr. Scholl's Severe Cracked Heel Balm is an easy and mess-free way to give our feet the proper hydration that they yearn for."

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You're cutting your toenails too short.

close-up cutting toenails too close, concept of daily habits that destroy feet

Cutting your toenails too short is another bad habit that can wreak havoc on your feet. Dr. Schaeffer urges you to use caution when cutting your nails. If they become too short, you are much more likely to develop an infection.

Dr. Geller agrees that cutting your nails too short is a major no-no. He explains, "Clip your nails across not into the corners because painful ingrown toenails and infection can occur as a result of injuring the tissue."

In order to practice proper foot hygiene, experts share their top-recommended daily foot care tips.

foot doctor and patient, concept of daily habits that destroy feet

First off, switch your socks every single day! You might think this is a "no-brainer," as Dr. Schaeffer puts it, but it's sometimes easy to grab the set of used socks that was left by your bed in the morning when you wake up. Fresh socks can help you avoid foot concerns like Athlete's Foot. And while we're on the subject of socks, Dr. Geller suggests buying some moisture-wicking sets to help lessen friction and the chance of developing blisters.

Next, get all injuries checked out by a certified professional. "The foot is very complex and pain is not normal," Dr. Geller says. "Acute pain can easily become chronic pain which will interfere with daily activities as well as sports and workouts. A deep tissue massage is great for the whole body but especially the feet because it stimulates blood flow, assists in muscle and tendon recovery, and breaks down scar tissue."

Another incredibly simple yet overlooked tip is to make sure you're scrubbing your feet when taking a shower. Don't forget in between your toes!

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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