Your feet are more crucial than you might assume. You use them daily, so they need as much attention as any other body part. This guide will explore how to take care of your feet by giving you a checklist. Keep these toenail and foot care tips close to form healthy habits.
1. Check Them Daily
Checking your feet and toenails is the foundation of everyday foot care. When you take your socks off, wake up or shower are the perfect times during your day to thoroughly inspect your feet. Look for bruises, swelling, rashes, red marks, scaling, signs of infection, bumps or abnormal growths. If anything alarms you or seems out of the ordinary, it’s always best to get medical care before the issue escalates.
Self-examination is particularly vital for people with diabetes, as this condition makes you more prone to infections and other foot-related issues.
2. Invest in Good Shoes
Wear shoes that fit you properly and feel comfortable. Ill-fitting shoes lead to problems like aching feet, blisters, calluses and corns. Your feet need plenty of space when you walk around, and shoes that are too tight restrict your feet, causing various issues. If parts of your shoe continuously touch your feet, the rubbing as you walk can lead to chafing and other sores.
The best way to find a good pair of shoes is to try them on later in the day. Your feet tend to swell in the afternoon, so it’s better to try shoes on while they’re in that state to better gauge for sizes.
3. Trim Your Toenails
Trim your toenails frequently to keep them from getting too long. Make sure you cut them straight across and avoid leaving them in a curved position. Horizontally cutting your nails decreases the risk of ingrown toenails and bacterial infections. Don’t cut too short — toenails are a barrier that protects against trauma. File any rough toenail edges to avoid hangnails, tears and breakage.
4. Invest in Quality Socks
Change your socks for a clean pair every day. Tight socks might limit the circulation to your feet, so wear ones that fit well and feel comfortable. Look for material that wicks away sweat, provides arch support and cushions the heel and ball of each foot.
5. Wash Your Feet
Wash your feet using lukewarm water and a mild or antiseptic soap. The gentle heat from the water loosens the dead skin that builds up on your feet, while the soap removes any trace of grime, sweat, germs and grease. Let your feet air dry or use a clean towel to dab them and remove all moisture, especially between your toes. Bacteria and fungi grow on damp skin, causing infections like athlete’s foot.
6. Do Strengthening and Stretching Exercises
Strengthening your feet prevents aches and pulled muscles. Stretch your foot muscles daily and follow a simple exercise routine to keep your feet in good shape. Being on your feet all day is demanding, so the stronger they are, the more comfortable you’ll be standing on them. Practice different foot exercises to improve flexibility and stay active.
7. Moisturize Regularly
Your feet undergo constant wear and tear, especially during winter and in dry weather. Dry skin is not as elastic as moisturized skin, which makes it more prone to tearing. The soles of your feet are in constant contact with the ground, making them more prone to damage, like cracked heels. Exfoliate the dead skin and keep your feet moisturized to avoid bleeding and infection.
Try various DIY foot scrub and moisturizer recipes to find which one works best for you.
8. Use Caution When Going Barefoot
Be careful about walking around without socks or shoes on, especially in communal areas like gym showers, as you will expose your bare feet to more things that can harm them. Small cuts on your feet can easily occur if you have no protection. These let in bacteria and may lead to infections if left untreated.
The best barefoot-friendly environments are freshly cleaned and disinfected surfaces. Your bare feet are most vulnerable outdoors where sharp stones, sticks, thorns and other obstacles are. Wear shoes whenever you go outside.
9. Soak Your Feet
Soaking your feet is an excellent form of self-care. It helps relax your entire body, reduce swelling in your feet and ankles and put your mind at ease after a stressful day. A good soak helps remove dead skin, germs and dirt from your feet. Scented soaks are especially good at reducing foot odor, but unscented ones will also help.
10. Massage With Oil
Oil and paraffin wax therapy can do wonders for your feet. All you need to do is dip your feet in a warm mixture of paraffin wax and mineral oil. Paraffin is petroleum-based wax. At the right temperature, it will lubricate dry feet, remove layers of dead skin and feel amazing. The heat stimulates blood flow to relieve pain, inflammation and stiffness.
Massaging your feet with oil is a great way to moisturize them, work out muscle knots, relax and strengthen your feet. Feel free to explore the various types of oils on the market, like jojoba oil.
Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates Can Help With All Foot-Related Issues
At Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates, our doctors have years of experience and training to give you reliable advice. Our podiatry, wellness and education help you keep your feet pristine.
We offer services like diagnosis, surgery, gout treatment, physical therapy and much more. Visit us for everything related to foot wellness and care. Contact us today to learn what we can do for you.