We take care of the skin on our face and body as a matter of routine but what about your feet? They do a lot of work. All that walking, plus cramming them into shoes and standing on them for much of the day. Your feet work hard and deserve a bit of TLC.
General Foot Health
Check your feet daily for cuts, sores, swelling and infected or overgrown toenails. Wash your feet regularly but don’t soak them as that can cause dry skin.
Eat well for your nails.
Toenails receive a proper workout on a daily basis. Ill-fitting shoes, knocks and workouts. Dropping things on them. The list goes on. You can strengthen their defences with diet. Choose foods rich in vitamins B12, C and E as well as zinc and biotin. You can find these
nutrients in fish, meat, eggs, dairy and vegetables, particularly tomatoes and carrots.
Don’t let hard skin stick around.
Remove it with a pumice stone or foot file. This will be particularly effective after a bath or shower. Once you have filed off the skin, provide your feet with essential moisture by applying a good quality foot moisturiser.
“Why buy a special foot moisturiser?” I hear you cry. Well the skin on your feet is thicker than elsewhere so you need something that can soak deeper into the skin. A budget option for
moisturising feet is good old Petroleum Jelly.If you want to avoid getting it on your good clothes, furnishings or the bed sheets, then put a pair of old socks on as soon as you’ve applied the jelly or other moisturising product to your feet.
Don’t put the moisturiser between your toes though. It’s best to keep this area dry as this will prevent infection.
Use nail clippers to trim your toenails rather than using scissors since clippers
have a smaller blade and longer handle. Nails should be trimmed once a week
and cut straight across as this will help prevent ingrown toenails. Use a nail file to smooth down any rough edges but avoid using an abrasive metal file which can splinter the nail. Glass files are more expensive but gentler and more effective on both finger and toenails.
Yellow nails. This can be the result of wearing dark nail polish but can be reduced by using a base coat. If using a base coat or skipping polish for a month or so doesn’t sort out the yellowing, then consult a doctor or podiatrist as it may be that you have a mild nail infection.
The skin on our heels is particularly prone to cracking and drying out. Cracked heels are caused by dry skin at the edge of the heel being put under pressure as you walk. Although not serious, it does mean that your skin is dehydrated so the best prevention and cure is to use an intensive moisturising cream, ideally one that is specially formulated to repair cracked heels. Look for a product containing keratin as this has proven wound healing properties.
Your Granny was right
Didn’t granny always tell us that we’d get bad feet if we wore ill-fitting shoes? She was
right of course. Your shoes shouldn’t be too tight, or so short that your toes feel
squashed into the toe box area of the shoe. Shoes should not hurt your feet.
Granny may have also told you that you shouldn’t wear high heels too. However, flats aren’t so fabulous either. Completely flat shoes and flip-flops don’t provide enough arch support for your feet.
Rotating your shoes so you aren’t wearing the same pair every day is a good idea and allows your feet, and shoes, time to recover.
If your shoes and socks get wet, change them as soon as you can. Granny may not have been right about wet feet leading to colds but continually wet feet can certainly lead to discomfort, infection and, potentially, trench foot. Wet feet lose heat more rapidly than dry
feet and prolonged cold and wetness can lead to loss of circulation.