At the Southdown Podiatry Clinic, we’ve compiled 10 top tips for taking care of your feet. Have a read and hopefully you can prevent any future ailments.
1) Wash your feet regularly. Remember wash between your toes – use a sponge or loofah to remove any dirt or dead skin. However, do not soak your feet! Soaking not only removes natural skin oils but opens cracks in your skin where germs can enter, causing infection.
2) Dry your feet well. Use a towel to dry thoroughly between the toes. Any excess moisture can promote the growth of bacteria and fungi, potentially resulting in Athletes Foot.
3) Moisturise and file your skin. Make sure your skin is dry before moisturising. Apply all over the foot, but not between the toes. Before a shower or bath, gently file your skin with a file or pumice stone. Emphasis on “gently” – file too much and your skin will grow back even harder!
4) Trim your toenails regularly using proper nail clippers – we suggest at least every two weeks. Try to clean the clippers regularly as they can easily build up bacteria or fungal spores. You can sanitise them in rubbing alcohol. Always cut your toenails straight across, never on a curve, as this can result in ingrown toenails. Using an emery board, file down any jagged edges.
5) Examine your feet daily. First, check the top and bottom of your feet, then your toes, toenails and between your toes. Important things to look for include:
► blisters, lumps or bruises
► cuts or cracked skin (can easily become infected)
► temperature differences (indicate lack of blood flow)
► numbness or tingling (evidence of nerve problems)
► ingrown toenails (painful, inflamed skin along the nail)
► loss of hair (suggests circulation issues)
6) Change your socks daily to avoid foot odour. This keeps your feet fresh and prevents bromodosis (the medical name for smelly feet). Another cause of foot odour is wearing the same pair of shoes for more than two days in a row. Allow 24 hours for the shoes to air before wearing again. Also, try to avoid socks which are 100% cotton. They can cause blisters as they hold moisture against the skin.
7) When buying shoes, shop in the afternoon. As the day goes on, your feet begin to swell. If you buy shoes when you feet are at their largest, you will know whether your shoes will remain comfortable.
8) You may love your heels, but try and limit your time wearing them! Over time, high heels can cause muscle fatigue as your body tenses to maintain balance. They also put excess pressure on your knees and the balls of your feet. We would recommend wearing heels only for special occasions, or for relevant activities. If you are desperate to wear heels for work, consider wearing comfortable shoes, such as trainers, when walking to your office. You can change into heels when your arrive.
9) To avoid catching foot bugs (e.g. verrucas or athlete’s foot) in communal areas, wear flip-flops. This could be at your local swimming pool or public showers. And speaking of flip-flops…
10) Don’t wear them all the time! Not only do they expose your feet to potential bacteria or fungal infections, but their lack of adequate support can lead to heel pain. Also, the thin strap can irritation and blisters, while continual wear can cause hammertoe (bending of your toe knuckles) as your toes work hard to keep the them on your foot. Finally, if you suffer from flat feet, stay away from flip-flops completely! You need arch support, and due their flat nature, flip-flops offer none of that. This can cause overuse injuries, including Achilles Tendonitis (pain along the back of the leg near the heel).