Even though the carry us through thick and thin, we often neglect to take proper care of our feet. But, if you think about what they need to put up with, from being jammed into tight shoes to being cooked inside low-quality socks, they really deserve some pampering. Healthy and happy feet will help you stay active, mobile, pain-free and comfortable deep into your old age. Luckily, it’s quite easy to maintain the health and hygiene of your feet, so here are a few tips on how to treat your feet right.
Pamper them regularly
In order to maintain good feet hygiene, you need to wash them carefully every day. And, yes, in between the toes, too—just standing in the soapy water in the shower isn’t going to cut it! Bend over in the shower, grab some soap and give them a nice rub-down. If you have balancing issues, buy a long-handled brush or wash your feet while sitting on a chair outside of the tub. If you find soaking your feet very relaxing, ditch the bath salts. They might feel good, but they do nothing for the health of your feet. Instead, opt for a squirt of liquid soap that contains skin softeners and make sure to use warm, not piping hot water.
Once your feet are clean, pay attention to drying. Make sure they are completely dry, especially between the toes. Fungi love wet and dark places, so if you remove all the moisture from your toes, fungi will not be able to thrive. Repeat this foot-care routine every day and you’ll soon get rid of most foot problems such as odors, athlete’s foot, bacteria and fungus.
Clipping your nails might seem like a pretty straightforward thing, but it’s not so easy after all. Your nails need to be cut regularly, otherwise, they will hit the edge of your footwear and cause bruising. On the other hand, if you cut them too often and too short, you might risk ingrown toenails which can be very painful and hard to fix. Your safest bet is to cut your nails every three to four weeks after a shower or soak. Use small clippers and aim to cut straight across. If you start noticing any redness to the skin around the nail or start feeling any pain (signs of an ingrown toenail), try soaking your feet in a mixture of vinegar and water to clean the area. If that doesn’t solve the problem, don’t hesitate to see an expert podiatrist who will take care of the infection, cut your ingrown nail and prescribe antibiotics and ointments if needed.
If you love to have pedicures in a salon, make sure to pick a respectable establishment that uses clean tubs and instruments. Be especially careful if you have diabetes and don’t hesitate to consult with your doctor before you book a pedicure.
Pick the right shoes
The shoes you wear can greatly affect the condition of your feet. Tight shoes cause and worsen bunions, affect the shape of toes and even cause irregular foot growth. If you love your high heels, make sure to choose a model with a wide and stable base and a heel that’s no higher than two inches. Pointed toes should start narrowing past the ball of the foot and not at any other point. Even if you’re a flat-and-comfy-shoes kind of person, you still have to pay attention to what you wear. Luckily, today we have a wide variety of amazing sandals that take care of the health of our feet. For instance, models like Arizona Birkenstock offer great arch support and comfortable footbeds and are made using soft materials. If you consider their reasonable price, eco-friendliness and timeless design bellowed by generations, it’s not a surprise that Birkenstocks have been around for hundreds of years.
Keep them dry
Did you know that each foot has over 250,000 sweat glands? That’s a lot of moisture that bacteria and fungi simply adore! So, make sure to wear socks that will keep your feet dry—sports socks are great because they wick the moisture away from your foot faster than regular ones. However, pantyhose are really bad for your feet since they trap moisture and don’t allow your feet to breathe.
Another thing you can do is invest in shoes made of natural materials that allow air circulation. But, if you know your feet are extra sweaty, you might want to get shoes with mesh parts to ensure maximum breathability.
See a doctor
If you notice any feet problems like ingrown nails or heavy bunions, don’t hesitate to see a doctor. By treating the issues yourself, you can often make things worse. An experienced podiatric physician knows exactly what to do and how to tackle your problems.
Only a few minutes of foot care every day will ensure you have healthy and happy feet that will carry you wherever you want to go for years and years to come!
Stella van Lane is a mom and a passionate writer in love with coffee, chocolate, music, books and good vibes. Her top interests are health, yoga, meditation and interior design.