Keeping your feet healthy is of paramount importance for your over-all foot health. In fact, foot health is a good indicator of your overall health. But you may not always be experiencing a problem with your feet. This page is designed to teach you how to do the necessary regular maintenance on your feet to keep them healthy. And not only will this upkeep help your feet remain healthy, it will keep your feet looking their best.
Your daily foot health is important. Everyone showers regularly, but often neglect to clean their feet. Cleaning your feet helps reduce your risk of fungal infections of your skin and nails. It also helps to prevent bacterial infections which enter at breaks in the skin. You are especially susceptible to bacterial infections if you go barefoot or wear open toed shoes regularly. Be sure to wash your feet, including between your toes. When you are done, dry your feet thoroughly, again making sure you dry between your toes. You should also moisturize the skin on your feet. It needs the same care you offer the rest of the skin on your body, and possibly even more since you place high demands on your feet. Do not moisturize between you toes, since this area is already prone to fungi which thrive in dark, warm, moist environments. Moisturizing the skin in your feet will help slow the growth of unsightly calluses and will help prevent skin from cracking. When your skin cracks it is susceptible to both fungal and bacterial infections. Remember to use the time washing and drying your feet to inspect them, especially if you are diabetic. Looking for unusual, damaged, or discolored skin is a good way to identify problems early, which makes treatment more effective. Never assume foot, ankle, or heel pain to be normal. It is not. Pain is your body's way of informing you that you have a problem.
You should also pay attention to how you trim your nails. Nails should be cut straight across. Never cut nails along the side or back toward the skin, as this increases your risk of ingrown toenails. You can round the nail edges with an Emory board or other nail product to achieve a finished look.
Nail polish is a popular choice for improving the look of your feet. But remember that nail polish seals the nail. In cases of fungal infections, which attack the nail internally, nail polish can worsen the problem. It also prevents topical treatments from being effective. The best rule for nail polish is to save it for special occasions. When it starts to wear off, simply remove it and allow your nails to "breathe". Your nails should spend a far greater amount of time without polish than with.
If you regularly receive pedicures to keep your feet looking good, remember to bring your own tools or inspect your salon's sterilizing processes. Unsanitary tools (clippers, files, forceps, brushes, Emory boards, etc) can contribute to or cause the spread of fungal infections. You want to protect yourself from this problem as it is unsightly and sometimes difficult to get rid of. Do your best to prevent this by bringing your own tools form home to ensure they are properly sanitized and won't be shared.
You can treat your calluses at home. Many people find calluses on their feet unattractive. But these form with the normal wear on feet, and can form in unexpected areas from improper or ill-fitting shoe wear and due to biomechanical problems. The best way to treat calluses is to remove them. Soak your feet in warm (not hot and not cold) water for about 20 minutes. You can add soaking crystals, Epsom salts, and oils if you prefer the results form any of these products. The warm water softens the calluses and also opens up your pores so they will better absorb any moisturizer you choose to use. Next, use a file, pumice stone, or other callus removing device on your problem calluses. Be careful to only remove dead skin. Removing live skin is painful and will make you susceptible to infection. Smooth your heels by starting with a rough grain of file to remove more skin, and progressing to a smoother grain file to finish the look and feel of your feet. Remember to moisturize, but not between your toes. You can then massage your feet for about 15 minutes to help you relax and to relieve muscles stress in your feet.
Remember that anytime you have a foot issue, you should contact our office. We want you to be as healthy as possible and believe that you shouldn't have to suffer needlessly from foot pain and conditions. We can help keep your feet healthy and beautiful.