6 steps for healthier feet
Tucked away in socks and shoes, many of us may over look our feet for the best part of the year. Then, when summer comes and you dig out your flip flops, you gaze down at your feet and ponder how much easier it would have been to keep on top of regular foot care in order for them to look and feel in tip top condition.
Research from The College of Podiatry shows that 9 out of 10 people experience some sort of foot problem, with one in five regularly suffering from foot pain in their day-to-day lives.
Looking after your feet is about more than just foot care, it can also help prevent discomfort whilst walking that could lead to knee, hip and back pain that could limit your quality of life.
Here are 6 key points of what (and what not) to do to keep your feet healthy;
1. Wash and dry your feet thoroughly
Feet can often get forgotten about when we’re jumping in for a quick shower – ensure you give them some daily attention and don’t forget to wash between those toes! Submerging your feet in water for an extended period of time can disrupt your skin's natural oils so be wary how long you’re spending soaking in the bath.
After washing your feet, dry them thoroughly. Pay particular attention to the skin between your toes as this is where fungal infections such as athlete’s foot can first develop.
2. Moisturise and file
To help prevent dry skin, apply moisturising cream daily all over the foot, except between your toes. During the winter the cold may make your skin even drier so you may need to moisturise twice a day.
Remove any hard skin or calluses with a pumice stone or foot file, but go easy – overdoing it could cause the skin to grow back even thicker.
3. Cut your toenails properly
Make sure to cut your toenails regularly and with proper nail clippers. Avoid cutting at an angle or down the edges as this can cause ingrowing toenails. Instead, trim by cutting straight across the nail to create a square edge.
4. Ease off on the nail polish
While having nicely painted nails can finish off your summer look, try to give your nails time off to recuperate.
Keeping your nails constantly painted can dehydrate the nail, leading to peeling and splitting, which increases the chance of contracting a nail infection. Acetone-based nail polish removers should be avoided as they dry out your nails.
5. Change your socks and shoes often to avoid foot odour
To prevent smelly feet, make sure you change your socks every day, or more regularly in hotter conditions.
You should also avoid wearing the same shoes for two or more consecutive days, because shoes need time to air so they don’t trigger foot odour or infections.
If you suffer from particularly smelly feet, try soaking your socks in a mixture of vinegar and water.
6. Watch out for foot bugs in communal changing areas
Wear flip-flops to avoid catching athlete's foot and verrucas when you use public areas such as gym showers, swimming pools or hotel bathrooms. This can be especially common in the workplace as more people are now exercising on their lunch break.