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Footcare Tips for Healthy, Happy Feet

Your feet are probably the hardest working part of your body. They move you from point A to point B carrying your full weight to get there. Yet how much attention do you really give them?

Feet require just as much attention as your hands or face. You need to clean and massage and dote on them in order to keep them healthy. If you’ve never given it much thought before, here are 10 footcare tips that can help keep your feet beautiful.

Take Your Feet for a Walk on the Beach

First up on our list of footcare tips is to give those footsies some earth and air. If you have a few hours and want to get outside and do something special for your feet, take a barefoot walk on the beach. Not only is walking barefoot in sand beneficial to your aching feet it’s a great workout for the rest of your body as well. In fact, some suggest that a walk on the beach is so relaxing many people walk further than they would on a harder surface.

As for your feet, the grains of sand at water’s edge provide a soothing massage and a free exfoliant. Clint Ober, CEO of Earth FX and a pioneer in his field, calls walking on sand Earthing. It’s about grounding the nerve endings in the bottom of your feet with the free electrons in the earth. For those without ready access to the beach, cool grass is a good substitute.

Wear the Proper Shoes

When you go somewhere, you probably put a lot of thought into what to wear. Is the scene casual, formal, business, or something else? Your shoe choice probably plays an equally important role. You want them to be stylish as well as suit the outfit. Do you ever consider comfort?

Most people think of penny loafers or nurse’s shoes when they hear the word comfortable. However, there are many more options these days and not all of them are ugly. Naturalizer and Easy Spirit offer comfortable shoes in contemporary styles. Look for shoes that offer soft, flexible uppers such as leather with solid non-slippery soles. Lower heels are more comfortable and easier on your feet. To ensure you choose the proper size, have your feet measured.

It’s not that you can’t wear those beautiful high heels to your best friend’s wedding. It’s that you need to do it in moderation. After all, you wouldn’t eat piece after piece of her wedding cake. It’s not healthy. However, you can get away with occasionally wearing high heels three to four hours for a special event. Keep in mind that if you walk around in 4-inch heels continuously, the pressure on your toes may result in bunions or even arthritis.
United Farmgirls footcare tips for gorgeous and healthy feet!

Bathe Your Feet, Too

Don’t get so preoccupied with washing your face, hands, and body you forget to pay attention to your feet. Feet need love, too.

Beware that bathing can increase your dry skin even on your feet. You can reduce dry skin problems by limiting bath time and avoiding the use of very hot water. Whenever you do take a bath or shower, consciously wash your feet. Rub off any dead skin, especially on your heels, with a pumice stone or foot file.

Moisturize Your Feet Every Day

One of the biggest foot problems is dry, cracked feet especially at the heel, so fourth on our list of footcare tips is proper moisturization. Cold winter months, dehydration, excessive bathing, and harsh soaps can wreak havoc on both hands and feet.

Keep them soft by making sure to use lotion after you bathe. If you find the problem is particularly bad, slather your feet with petroleum jelly and cover them with socks. Sleep like that and you’ll wake up to softer tootsies.

Put Your Feet Up

You don’t have to work in a job that has you standing most of the time to find your feet are tired at day’s end. The very act of walking will eventually wear them out.

However, standing as well as sitting can affect your circulation. Raise your feet about six inches above heart level for as little as 10 minutes a day and you’ll feel better. Additionally, limiting the amount of time you cross your legs and not smoking can help reduce leg, ankle, and foot inflammation.
Footcare Tips: Regular pedicures for soft, supple feet.

Give Your Feet a Pedicure

Whether you do it yourself, have a loved one help, or get a professional to do the job, a pedicure is one of the best things you can do to keep your feet looking and feeling healthy. A pedicure can even call attention to nail diseases and foot problems.

A typical pedicure includes foot soaking, foot scrubbing, nail clipping and shaping, a foot and calf massage, moisturizing, and your choice of nail polish. Treat yourself to a mani/pedi and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Keep Those Toenails Trimmed

Even if you don’t give yourself a complete pedicure, make sure to keep your toenails trimmed the same way you keep your fingernails in check. Leaving them to grow too long can result in ingrown toenails and potential pain.

To cut toenails correctly, use toenail clippers. They are larger than traditional fingernail clippers and can cut through thicker toenails. Be sure to cut straight across using small cuts or, if you care for your feet regularly, keep toenails neat by filing them down instead. Be sure to pull the emery board in one direction only.

Eat for Your Feet

You may not have considered it before; however, whatever you put in your body can have a direct impact on it including your feet.

Specifically, experts warn about inflammation of your feet due to the consumption of too many refined grains, sugars, and trans-fat. This includes eating too many saturated fats found in red meat and omega-6 fats used in vegetable oils. To counter balance the effects, add more fruits and vegetables to your diet along with omega-3 fats found in fatty fish such as salmon.

Give Your Feet a Physical Check-Up

While getting an annual physical exam may seem like the norm, how often do you take the time to check your feet to ensure they’re healthy? Fungal and bacterial conditions are a real threat to their well-being, including problems such as athlete’s foot, blisters, corns, calluses, bunions, bone spurs, hammertoe, and ingrown toenails. To avoid these issues:

  • Keep feet clean and dry
  • Expose feet to fresh air as often as possible
  • Lotion feet after bathing
  • Dust feet with fungicide powder, if there is a problem
  • Wear the right size shoe

To avoid pain and discomfort, pay attention to your feet and get medical help if you notice any problems.

Make an Appointment with a Podiatrist

Don’t wait until foot problems get out of hand. If you have any concerns about your feet, see a podiatrist to prevent foot issues from becoming chronic.
In particular, people who run frequently, have diabetes, have persistent heel pain, have chronic calluses/corns/bunions, or experience unusual pain in the feet and ankles should make an appointment to see a podiatrist as soon as possible.

Beautiful feet don’t just happen. They need pampering. Take care of your feet with these 10 footcare tips and they’ll take care of you.

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Milking by Hand or With a Machine: Which Way is Better?

One of the first things you will need to consider when you add a dairy cow to your farm is whether you will milk by hand or with a milking machine. It’s a good idea to spend a little time considering the pros and cons of each option so that you can make an informed decision. Your lifestyle, budget, and your cow (or cows) will all have a big influence on which option you choose.

There’s no doubt about it, raw milk is delicious and extremely useful on the self-sufficient homestead, especially if you want to make your own cheese, yogurt, and butter. Whether you decide to milk by hand or with a machine, your family can benefit greatly by having access to raw, farm fresh milk. Here are some key facts about each milking method to help you decide what option is better for you.

Pros and Cons of Milking with a Machine

Using a machine to milk your cow, or cows, makes the most sense for someone who wants to simplify milking and make it fast and easy. Your cow can be taught to go in her stanchion, then you’ll wash her teats, hook up your milking machine, and in less than ten minutes, your cow will be milked. You can even complete some other small chores nearby while the machine does its job.

A milking machine can make your life so much easier if you have a cow with small teats. It can also be a lifesaver if you have a nervous or difficult cow that doesn’t like to be milked. Another benefit is that the milk stays considerably cleaner than it does when you milk by hand into a bucket.

That’s not to say that a milking machine is the perfect solution for any farm; there are definitely some disadvantages. The most notable is that a milking machine can cost you as much as $500 or more. If you’re an average homesteader on a limited budget with only one or two cows to milk, that’s a pretty hefty investment.

Another disadvantage is that, although the milking process itself can be accomplished very quickly with a machine, you’ll need to spend more time cleaning up afterwards. Your machine will need to be disassembled so that all of the parts can be cleaned and sanitized, and then left to air dry. If you are doing your milking twice a day, you will be spending a lot of time on clean up.

Additionally, you should consider the setup of your milking area. Do you have easy access to electricity where you do you milking? Running electricity to your barn could be a huge task. And, you might also want to consider the noise factor. Some milking machines are quite loud. Consider if there will bother you or the other animals in your barn.-

Pros and Cons of Milking by Hand

Milking by hand is the way it’s been done for centuries. For some homesteaders and farmers, doing things the way it’s always been done is part of the experience. To get started with hand milking, all you really need is a cow and a stainless-steel bucket. It couldn’t be much more economical than that!

The process of hand milking can be an enjoyable one, too. Many people love the peaceful pleasure of doing the milking every day. Not only that, over time you establish a solid and loving bond with your cow, which is a sweet reward on its own. And, you really don’t need to have a special setup for hand milking. Anywhere that you can keep clean and comfortable for you and your cow will work just fine.

However, just like anything else, there are some disadvantages to doing all of your milking by hand. For one thing, getting started can be tough on your hands until you build up the right muscles. If you have arthritis in your hands, hand milking could be very uncomfortable for you. When you hand milk, you will need to take extra care to make sure dirt, dust, and insects don’t end up in your milk.

Hand milking definitely takes more time than machine milking, too. Especially if your cow isn’t cooperative. Some cows can be a real pain for milking and from kicking at you to kicking at your milk pail, they’ll try almost anything to get you to leave them alone. Not to mention, one wrong move, and ruined your delicious milk by putting their manure covered foot right in your milk bucket.

The Takeaway

Don’t forget to consider the personality of your cow when you decide, too. Some cows will make it clear that they prefer one method over the other. Some cows may not tolerate the machine, while others may hate having you work with their udder. A little experimentation might be required to figure out what makes your cow the most comfortable.

Before you decide which way to go, consider all the factors that come into play. Maybe you need to streamline your chores as much as you can, so you can get to work. Or, perhaps you plan on selling some of your milk, so it needs to be kept as clean and sterile as possible. In these cases, a milking machine might make the most sense.

On the other hand, maybe the experience of milking by hand is enjoyable to you. Perhaps you look forward to that peaceful time of day with your favorite cow. Or, maybe there really isn’t a good place to set up a stanchion with electrical access. And of course, consider your budget! There’s a tremendous difference in startup costs between these two options.

As with anything else around the farm or homestead, there really is no one size fits all answer to this the question of whether you should use a machine or milk by hand. Spend some time thinking it over and make the best decision for you, your cow, and your farm. And remember, you can always change your mind and try the other method if your first choice doesn’t work out after you’ve given it a fair try!


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