With summer fast approaching, some seasonal factors contribute to foot health. Most people want to give their feet maximum exposure to the sun and sandy beaches. It may be tempting to stay barefoot when running around the beach or in public places, but it may not be such a good idea. Here are essential tips for proper foot care to keep injuries at bay.
Keep your feet soft and smooth
Time to get rid of your wintery dry feet and give your feet the love and care they deserve. Exfoliating your feet to get rid of dry, flaky skin is a great way to improve the overall health of your feet. You can use natural home remedies like Epsom salt soak or scrub, vinegar soak, or oatmeal scrub to exfoliate your feet.
Scrub your feet with a foot scraper, pumice stone, or emery board once or twice a week to remove tough callouses. While scrubbing your feet, make sure you do it in one direction to avoid worsening the split skin.
Soaking your feet in a tub of warm water relaxes your tissues and releases body toxins. Additionally, the soothing effect of the warm water calms and relaxes the whole body. After exfoliating, wash your feet, dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes, and moisturize them.
Since a thick layer of skin protects the foot’s heel, it is not easy to absorb and lock in moisture. Use heavy-duty foot moisturizing creams like Cetaphil, Eucerin, and Aveeno. Make it a nightly routine to always moisturize your feet before bed.
Avoid going barefoot
Going barefoot is fine at home, but always wear shoes in public places to avoid germs and injury. It is essential to invest in comfortable shoes or sandals that keep your feet protected.
Avoid wearing flip-flops because they are too thin and flat to provide adequate support for your feet. This is because toes tend to over-grip the straps, leading to pain and discomfort.
Prolonged use of flip-flops may cause heel pain, tendonitis, and stress fractures. You may wear flip-flops at the beach and pool, but don’t wear them all day.
When shopping for flip-flops, choose a pair that provides semi-rigid arch support. Do not buy flip-flops that bend in half since they won’t offer adequate foot support.
For sporting activities like running, hiking and basketball, choose athletic shoes designed for a particular sport to enhance performance and traction.
Apply SPF sunscreen
Do not forget to put sunscreen on your feet, especially the tops that are directly hit by the sun. If you are swimming, reapply sunscreen every time you get out of the water. A moisturizer with SPF 30 provides the best protection for your body and feet.
Soak feet in ice
If you have been up and down in the hot sun, your feet will likely swell or become sore. Soothe and relieve your feet in a cold soak for 5 to 10 minutes to reduce swelling and discomfort. Dry and moisturize your feet to keep them from drying out.
Trim toenails frequently
It is essential to trim your toenails at an appropriate level every 3 to 5 weeks. Avoid wearing shoes when you have very long nails because it pressurizes the fronts or tips of the long nails. Letting your nails grow too long increases the likelihood of cracking or breaking.
The best way to trim your nails is straight across and avoid rounding or curving them because it may lead to a painful ingrown toenail. Keep your toes clean, dry, short, and exposed to air for good foot health. Give your nails a break from nail polish and high heels.
This is one of the most common foot infections affecting people worldwide. It is highly contagious and presents itself between the toes or foot soles. Athletes’ foot symptoms may include itching, redness, dryness, burning, or scaling. It is caused by a fungus that likes to thrive in moist, humid areas. To prevent athlete’s foot, keep your feet clean and dry after showering. Wear clean, dry sandals or shoes in public places like locker rooms or communal shower rooms, and avoid sharing footwear.
Regularly check your feet
Frequently check your feet every week for peeling, scratching, scaling, or any foot-related illnesses like nail fungus, infections, or ingrown toenails, especially for diabetic patients. Always practice good foot hygiene by thoroughly washing your feet with warm soap and water every day when taking a bath.
You can self-massage your feet regularly to relax and improve blood circulation in your feet. Keep your feet moving to promote blood flow by stretching your calves, flexing your ankles and feet, and wiggling your toes.
Exercise regularly and consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean meat, and water. This keeps your feet, bones, and muscles strong and healthy.
Contact Martha P. Aponte, DPM for medical assistance if you notice something unusual with your feet.