Foot Care Recommendations For Healthy Feet
- Inspect your feet: Start at the toenails. Look for signs of yellow, white or brown discoloration, black splinter-like streaks or any abnormal thickening. Look in between your toes for openings or cracks or white, moist tissue, which could be a sign of foot fungus. Check the bottom of the feet for calluses, cracking or areas of redness or irritation. Peeling, dry, flakey skin and scaling on the bottom of the feet could be athlete’s foot. Look for lumps or bumps in the arch area or on top of the foot. Any growth on the foot should be seen by your doctor.
- Wash your feet regularly: Wash your feet each time you shower or take a bath, washing the bottom of your feet and in between your toes. It is also important to dry in between your toes after showering, especially if you have a tendency to develop foot fungus.
- Trim your toenails straight across: Use a nail clipper made for toenails. If you do end up with sharp edges on the sides, it's ok to round a little at the edges to remove the sharp point. But, DO NOT trim down the sides of the nail. This is important because it can result in ingrown nails. Do not trim the nails too short, you may end up lifting the nail, separating it from the nail bed and causing small breaks in the skin area, increasing chances of fungal nail infection. If you are diabetic or have poor circulation, do not cut your own toenails.
- Alternate shoes: It's important to alternate shoes on different days of the week. Not only will this give your shoes a chance to air out and decrease the risk of fungal infection, it also gives your feet a break.
- Wear the right shoe for right activity: A running shoe should be worn for running, a walking shoe for walking and a hiking boot for hiking. Although it is ok to take short hikes in sports sandals, long walks in flimsy sandals can cause foot problems. Hiking in running shoes can increase your chance for ankle sprains and running in old gardening shoes puts you at risk for injuries like plantar fasciitis and tendonitis.
- Avoid wearing old shoes: Once shoes have worn out, replace them as soon as possible. Wearing worn out shoes can result in a range of foot problems including skin and nail conditions like foot fungus, blisters and toenail fungus as well as foot problems like plantar fasciitis and tendonitis.
- Avoid walking barefoot: Walking barefoot puts your feet at risk for puncture wounds, warts, fungus, ankle sprains, tendonitis, plantar fasciits and infections. Always protect your feet with the appropriate pair of shoes.
- Be cautious with self-treatment: Although increasingly more common with time constraints on everyone, self treatment tends to create more problems than it solves. Be careful with drug store medications and cautious even with home remedies. This is especially true for diabetics. Diabetics should NOT self treat their feet, they should consult a podiatrist about all foot concerns.
- Give your feet a break: Walking is the best exercise for your feet. To build strength and gain flexibility in your feet, the best approach is to use them. But, for those individuals who are on their feet all day, everyday... sit down, kick your feet up and relax. Give your feet a break.
- Don't ignore foot pain: Foot pain is not normal. It does not matter how old you are, if you are experiencing persistent foot pain, make an appointment with your podiatrist.
More information on calluses, toenail fungus, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and shoes.
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last updated 6/24/10
Disclaimer: The advice on this website is not intended to substitute for a visit to your health care provider. We will not be held liable for any diagnosis made or treatment recommended. Consult your doctor if you feel you have a medical problem.