Keeping your feet in good condition keeps you healthy and active, writes Amanda Cork of Amanda’s Podiatry in Burntisland. Here are her top tips…
Wash your feet daily
Washing your feet daily is not only good foot hygiene, but a good way to monitor you skin’s health. By touching the feet you will feel if there are any breaks to the skin. Are there sores, for example?
Is that hard bit on the bottom of your foot hard skin, or a corn? It’s really important to monitor your feet for these issues, especially if you are diabetic.
Dry your feet thoroughly
This reduces conditions such as Athletes Foot, a bacterial fungal infection which likes dark moist, warm environments such as socks and shoes. This can become itchy in between the toes or over the bottom of the foot. If happens to you, see a podiatrist for diagnosis and treatment.
Take care of your toe nails
Keeping nails cut and tidy helps to reduce foot pain. If nails become too long and thick, they can press on the top of the shoes when you walk.
This can cause discomfort and possibly lead to infection or ulceration if neglected. Poorly cut toe nails can also produce ingrown toe nails, which can cause pain and possible infections.
If you have trouble managing your nails, don’t leave it – see a podiatrist.
Keep your feet hydrated
Keeping your feet hydrated and supple by moisturising your feet every day, this will keep the skin from becoming dry and tight.
If your skin dries out, you will lose the skins natural oils and the skins elasticity.
Hydrate the nails with a nail oil to stop them from drying and splitting.
Protecting your feet
Is really important to protect the feet from the ground we walk on. Make sure there is plenty of cushioning in the shoes for comfort.
We have to consider that, as we age, we lose the fatty padding on the bottom of our feet. Cushioning will help protect the feet.
Make sure the toe box in shoes accommodates hammer toes, mallet toes and is wide enough for bunions.
The bother with bunions
Dr Dawn Harper, who appeared in Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies series, is one of the many women in the UK to have inherited bunions
“Surgery is the only corrective cure for bunions,” she says.
“However, there are things you can do to relieve them and to stop them from getting worse. In the early stages you can buy splints from the pharmacist to hold your big toe in a straighter position.
“The downside is that these splints are bulky and restrict the type of footwear you can wear.
“Gel pads are also very popular. If you stick them on your pressure points, they can relieve the pain and make it possible to wear otherwise agonising shoes.”
Dr Dawn has been working with Sole Bliss Shoes, which specialises in stylish shoes for ladies with bunions and wide feet.
Dr. Farid Quraishi, DPM at eMediHealth also has some great tips for managing bunion pain with home remedies, exercises and self-aid techniques.
Choosing the right footwear
Foot wear shouldn’t rub the feet and it’s probably wise to get measured properly.
Also wear shoes for the right activity. If you play tennis, wear tennis shoes. If you are a keen walker, wear walking shoes – these will protect and support the feet and ankles, provide shock absorption, reducing trauma.
To reduce sweaty feet, wear breathable shoes. Make sure shoes don’t pinch the toes together- this can cause corns in between the toes. If shoes are too tight the metatarsals may be pushed together and irritate the interdigital nerves causing a Morton’s neuroma (inflammation of the interdigital nerve).
Socks, tights or pop socks?
Change socks etc daily to maintain good hygiene.
Bamboo socks are great for the feet and help to regulate the foot temperature and remove sweat from the skin. The bamboo fibres within the socks have antimicrobial properties to reduce bacterial infections such as Athletes Foot. Some man-made fibresin socks can make the feet sweaty.
Check for seams in hosiery because these can rub the feet and toes, causing calluses or corns and discomfort. If possible, wear socks and tights inside out. Make sure socks and tights don’t crease in the shoes because this will also cause discomfort.
Tight socks or tights above the ankles or front of the leg can reduce circulation.
Movement and rest
Keep moving, go for a walk even around the house- this improves your circulation & keeps the joints moving.
Raise the legs and feet when sitting as this helps to reduce swollen ankles and try not to sit with the legs crossed as this also effects the circulation.
If you experience any issues with your feet, a podiatrist is the first medical health professional to contact.
Recommended: Salt of the Earth Foot Spray
A.Vogel recommends Salt of the Earth Foot Spray, which includes natural antifungal ingredients perfect for maintaining healthy feet:
- Willow Bark extract has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties, due to its salicylic acid content. Willow Bark can help reduce blocked pores by increasing the rate of cell turnover, and helps to soothe the look and feel of the skin.
- Menthol provides a cooling sensation to the feet.
- Radish root has moisturising properties.
- Sodium Caproyl/ Lauroyl Lactylate used in the Foot Spray fights effectively against Athlete’s Foot and foot odour.
- Also contains soothing Aloe Vera.