How to look after your feet this Christmas

Christmas is a time to don the glad rags and prepare to party, but if you don't look after your pinkies, no amount of mulled wine will dull the discomfort of sore feet.

First, foot care 101: there's simply no excuse not to have a spare pair of comfy shoes in your handbag. If you haven't got room for a pair of trainers, invest in a pair of squashy ballet pumps. Long nights out in towering heels can be made considerably more bearable with the addition of gel pads, which, when placed under the heel, will reduce pressure.

Foot pain isn't the only reason we should all consider showing our feet some TLC over the festive period. Wearing high heels for extended periods of time doesn't just leave our feet feeling sore and swollen - more serious damage can occur, too.

"Wearing high heeled shoes can result in a shortening of the Achilles tendon," points out Natalia Wojnar, a footwear expert for sports brand Vivo Barefoot.

"This can lead to reduced movement efficiency and can also make you more susceptible to muscle strains and tight calves which can lead to Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.

“Cramming feet into shoes with a narrow toe box can also cause cramps, tension, bunions, hammer toes, and calluses. On a basic level, you're more at risk from serious injuries caused by falling and spraining your ankle due to lack of stability."

Dare to bare

When you're at home, speed up recovery time by ditching footwear altogether. This includes the fluffy slippers.

"Let your feet move naturally and as freely as much as possible," says Natalia Wojnar at Vivo Barefoot.

"I always recommend that my clients are barefoot or wearing barefoot shoes for 80 per cent of the time as wearing heels will quickly start to cause damage when you're wearing them for the majority of the time."

It sounds obvious, but it's even more important to clean your feet before going to bed after a big night out. This is because you're more likely to have blisters or tiny cuts, which can easily become infected - especially if you've flung off the heels and walked home barefoot at the end of the night. And avoid soaking them in hot water - opt for cold water instead. This will reduce swelling and help the muscles to contract.
Ensure toenails are trimmed regularly (cut straight across the nail, as cutting the nail at an angle can lead to ingrown toenails) and remove hard skin with a pumice, before applying a hydrating foot cream.

Foot patrol

It's worth bearing in mind that while treating our feet to some TLC might well ease the discomfort of pains and strains, certain problems are much harder to fix.

Bunions can be incredibly painful and take years to treat. High heels are most likely to cause bunions, because the feet slip down and the front half of the foot - where the delicate bones within our toes are located - ends up being squashed by the narrow part of the shoe. The good news? This is precisely why shoe shopping is something which should be taken seriously.

When searching for that pair of killer heels, wait until the afternoon to hit the shops. Feet swell throughout the day and this is when your feet will be largest, so you'll know that if the shoes fit, they'll never feel too tight.

Pay attention to the position of the heel, which should be located directly under the heel bone - if it's too thin and placed too far back, you'll be thrown off balance and will be more likely to take a tumble.

When it comes to material, avoid plastic, which will make your feet sweat and swell. Never buy online - even though you might be able to send shoes back, if you purchased the shoes for a big night out and don't have a back up option, the temptation to cram your pinkies into too-small shoes might prove too great. Don't assume you can "break the shoes in" - you can't.

Hero products

Scholl Party Feet Invisible Gel Cushions, £3.50,

Body Shop Peppermint Reviving Foot Soak, £7,

Manuka Doctor ApiNourish Foot & Heel Cream, £6.74,

Jessica Pedicure Foot File, £3.35,

ASOS Lithium Pointed Ballet Flats, £25,

[Kimberley Walsh: my footcare routine]

[Reasons Why You Should Take Care Of Your Feet]

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