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Did you know socks are health tools?

I have said this before. There are not a lot of things as important at this time of year as wearing socks on your feet.

You scoff, perhaps. But I have it on good report that for older adults, people of any age actually, wearing socks “keeps foot issues from forming.” One reason apparently is that feet sweat, and it’s important to keep them dry “to prevent bacteria and blisters from growing.”

I researched this topic and found “feet sweat about half a pint a day.” That’s probably a detail you don’t need except if you’re in a “I just got a new pair of shoes” discussion with your age peers and the conversation falters.

Well-fitting, good quality socks keep chilly feet warm and toasty — and circulation flowing. If they have gripper bottoms, i.e. “safety socks,” they may make it less likely your favorite older adult trips and breaks a leg — or a hip. Add to that, at any age, we are all are less likely to stub a toe on the corner of a chair leg if it’s nestled in a protective cotton sock.

When our kids were still kids, they had a penchant for going barefoot, no matter the season. I invented the possibility of getting “toe pneumonia,” and I’ve noticed our 40-something “children” still use the term in reminding their own children to “put something on your feet.” Note to those grandchildren — wearing socks also makes it easier to run and slide joyously on the wooden floors at Nana’s house.

The benefits of wearing socks go way beyond being comfortable. If you are still with me at this point, you will want to know there are several riveting websites that offers promises like: “Yellow Toenails Cured.” I will not go into the specifics except to say that foot infections and fungus can often be better managed by wearing proper-fitting socks and paying attention to good foot care. Now you know.

I always like to offer the pros and cons of any ideas I pose. That said, one of the aforementioned websites also indicates, “biochemically speaking, the human body is designed to walk around barefoot,” and if you are on a beach or a grassy backyard that allows going shoeless and sockless without likelihood of injury, feel free to indulge — connect with the earth. And when you get back home, take your shoes off and show off your socks. I have a pair of wildly colorful socks that are imprinted with, “This is what a feminist looks like.” They are always conversation starters.

This coming week, when I send a care package to our granddaughter, who is a college sophomore living on campus for the first time, I plan to fill it with socks containing all sorts of messages. I ordered a five- pack of “I am strong” socks.

But my favorite pair has a different message printed on the sole of each sock: One foot says, “I don’t do average” and the other foot says, “I do awesome.” Good reminders at any age.

Sharon Johnson is a retired health educator. Reach her at sharjohn99@gmail.com.