Gift givers tend to fall into three camps:
- Gifting gurus who always find the perfect item and present it impeccably wrapped.
- Those who love to give gifts to others, but have a hard time figuring out just what anybody wants.
- People who attack the mall at 6 p.m. the night before.
This blog is aimed mostly for the second and third types, although you gurus are welcome to listen in as well.
Finding good gifts can sometimes be difficult, whether we don’t know what to give those who have so much, or wait until the last minute.
To you, we offer some suggestions—and given our expertise, these items will focus on foot and ankle health!
I mean, we get it. Buying stuff for someone else’s feet (outside of a pair of slippers, perhaps) might seem a bit odd in some circles. But when those gift ideas make a substantial difference to one’s comfort and quality of life, foot- and ankle-minded gifts can be a greatly overlooked treasure trove!
So give some of the options below some consideration this season. And if you still want to opt for slippers, we’ll even throw in some tips on finding a great pair.
A Pumice Stone and Moisturizer Set
Do you know someone who complains about calluses or dryness? Even if you don’t, do you know someone who considers their beauty and wellness rituals as a form of quality time? The kind who might enjoy taking baths and spending time wrapped in robes?
If so, a quality pumice stone and moisturizers are things they might appreciate!
A pumice stone is a great way to exfoliate dead skin, gently pare down corns and calluses, and improve the effectiveness of moisturizers. They are not recommended for those who have diabetes, however, and it should be stressed that nobody should ever grind hard at areas of their feet as if trying to remove a bump with sandpaper.
A great pumice stone selection is made from natural volcanic stone, with no unwelcome chemicals. Stones with smaller pores tend to provide gentler, more relaxing experiences, while larger pores are more “industrial” for handling thicker skin.
Complement your stone with a great moisturizer containing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, salicylic acid, and alpha hydroxyl acids. All of these are good at revitalizing skin and helping it stay supple. Fragrances and other bells and whistles may be welcome, too.
Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel
If you know someone who deals with foot and ankle aches on a regular basis—well, we certainly hope you direct them to us if they haven’t already seen somebody about it!
After that, consider Biofreeze as a great gift for helping to put that pain on ice. Biofreeze is a menthol-based gel that quickly creates a cooling sensation on and under the skin, helping to relieve the pain that can come from strained muscles and ligaments.
This is not a replacement for proper treatment (and certainly not for severe issues) but it can be a great temporary measure for active loved ones who experience minor aches and pains. We offer this product at our office, so please do not hesitate to ask us if it’s a good gift idea for your recipient’s particular situation.
A Foot Roller
Many people love a good foot massage. Why not one that they can do just about anywhere—even under their desk at work!
(We don’t mean they need to crawl under the desk. We’re talking seated at their desk with their feet beneath it.)
Foot rollers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. All they really need to do, though, is:
- Roll (duh)
- Apply a firm pressure against the bottom of the foot.
Foot rolling is a great form of relief for people who suffer from heel pain; especially plantar fasciitis.
Not only does rolling simply feel good, but it also applies gentle pressure and stretching against the plantar fascia. This helps keep the band of tissue “loose”, avoiding excess pain that can occur when it has been lying at rest for too long.
If you want to give someone the best cylindrical object they’ve ever received as a gift, a roller may be just the ticket!
A Cooling Foot Wrap
Another good option for people with heel pain—but open to additional uses—is a cold therapy wrap for the foot and/or ankle.
This is essentially a flexible wrap with a Velcro fastener and a gel pad in the middle. Keep it cold, and wrap it around an area that needs some relief. This can work well both underfoot, and wrapped around an aching ankle. (You could probably wrap it around your wrist too, but we’re not experts up that high.)
Urea Care Foot Cream
We’ll admit the name is not the most appealing, but Urea Care is a great choice for anyone who struggles with dry, cracked, and/or rough skin. It includes a blend of urea, aloe vera, vitamins, and essential oils—but without leaving a greasy feel.
Urea Care is safe for use on diabetic feet. We provide this cream at our office, and will be happy to answer any questions about it.
If you have a loved one who works or plays hard, and their shoes are definitely not fresh-smelling because of it, then SteriShoe can be a great choice for them.
This device inserts into each shoe, taking care of odor-causing organisms with UV light. It also helps dry shoes faster, giving bacteria less moisture to live off.
We’ll leave it to you to explain why you bought someone this gift if they have not already mentioned they have a shoe odor problem. But the results are still worth it either way.
And Yes, Slippers
The old tried and true gift for multiple occasions. If you’re going to fetch slippers for a loved one or colleague, make sure they’re a fantastic pair!
Slippers should not only be comfortable, but supportive as well. Arch support is always helpful; not just for maintaining a comfortable feel, but also preventing excess stress on the plantar fascia and other structures within the foot. Yes, this can happen even with flat slippers!
Other helpful qualities in a slipper to look for:
- A “breathable” insole to help circulate air and prevent excess sweating.
- An insole with some thick grip to prevent slipping, especially if the slippers will be used on hardwood or otherwise smooth surfaces.
- A general light weight.
And, of course, don’t forget style for a real gifting “wow” factor! Just don’t sacrifice comfort or quality for it.
Give the Gifts of Comfort and Relief
Whatever you choose for gift-giving this year, we hope you have a fun, easy time of it.
But if your heels ache after a day of holiday festivities (or shopping), make sure you take care of yourself, too! The best gift you can give yourself is taking care of your foot and ankle problems before they have a chance to become something worse—just like heading off arguments at the family holiday table.
Anytime you need help, call Freeland Foot & Ankle Clinic at (989) 695-6788 to schedule an appointment with us. And if you prefer sending us questions or requests (or holiday greetings!) electronically, please feel free to fill out our online contact form.