AA Podiatrists have come up with 10 tips to help you keep your feet in good condition and prevent foot problems:
1. Wash your feet
The first step in having good foot health is to keep your feet clean, daily. Wash them in warm soapy water every day. Don’t soak them as this may destroy your skin’s natural oils.
2. Dry your feet well
Dry your feet thoroughly after washing them – especially between toes! This will help you prevent fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.
3. Keep your feet soft
If your skin is dry, apply a thin layer of moisturiser all over the foot, except for between the toes. Gently file down hard skin and calluses with a pumise stone or foots tile. Be careful not to overdo it, however, or skin will grow back harder.
4. Keep the blood flowing
Put your feet up when sitting. Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for approximately 5 minutes, 2-3 times a day. Don’t keep your legs crossed for long periods of time. Avoid smoking as this reduced the amount of oxygen in your blood.
5. Watch out for foot bugs in communal changing areas
Bacteria, fungi and viruses causing foot ailments such as athlete’s foot and verrucas often dawdle around in communal bathrooms and changing areas. Wear flip-flops to avoid catching athlete’s foot and verrucas at the gym showers, swimming pools or hotel bathrooms.
6. Always wear socks
Your feet have sweat gland galore – 250,000 in each foot to be precise! Foot perspiration creates the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to prosper. Wearing socks will keep your feet dry and help them stay healthy.
Choose socks made of synthetic fibers as they absorb moisture faster than cotton and wool pairs.
7. Cut your toenails properly
Trim your nails straight across. Avoid trimming too close to the skin or rounding the corners of the nails. This can cause painful, ingrown toenails.
8. Choose shoes carefully
Shop for shoes in the afternoon. Your feet swell as the day goes on, so if shoes fit in the afternoon (when your feet are at their largest) then you can be assured they will always be comfortable. Choose a broad, rounded toe with plenty of room for your toes and a wide, stable heel. Avoid point shoes which can cramp your toes and cause ingrown toenails and calluses.
9. Check your feet
Perform a foot exam once a week. The most convenient way to check your feet is after a bath or shower. As you’re drying your feet, inspect your soles for any scaling and look between your toes for peeling areas. These could signal athlete’s foot. Also look out for discolouration of the nails as this could indicate a fungal nail infection.
If you have diabetes, you should inspect your feet every day as you’re in higher risk of foot sores and infections.
10. Know when to see a podiatrist
If you have persistent foot pain or ailments, don’t attempt to self-treat. Our AA Podiatrists have seen many a bathroom surgery make the problem worse. Any pain, redness or discolouration that persists should be checked out by an experience podiatrist.
Usually the problem can be cleared up with prescription medicine or a minor procedure. Having a doctor take a look will help prevent minor problems from becoming major ones.
If you have any persistent problems with your feet, please contact an AA Podiatrist.