It wasn’t until my uncle developed arthritis in his feet that I understood the true nature of this disease and its devastating effect on sufferers. Basic daily tasks become much harder, sometimes impossible, where even minor issues such as dry skin, not drying your toes correctly or cutting them the wrong way can cause extreme discomfort or pain.
As with most health issues, regular care helps to prevent an accumulation of more severe problems. Implement these nine tips to keep your feet feeling and looking their best.
Give them a look over
You don’t have to scrutinise them, but check your feet each day for any swelling, rashes, cuts or discolouration.
Cut your nails straight across instead of rounding them. This will allow them to grow out of instead of into your toes. This is a good way to avoid ingrown nails or infection.
It sounds basic, we know, but how often do you actually give your feet a proper scrub? The crevices between your toes or the soles of your feet are prime real estate for fungi, such as tinea, to grow. According to mydr.com, if you wear close-toed shoes, if you sweat (let’s be honest, we all do); if you don’t change your socks regularly or walk about in bare feet, you increase your risk of athletes’ foot. Statistics also show that mature men are the most likely to get tinea. Make sure to wash regularly, particularly between the toes, with warm but not hot water, and ensure they’re properly dried afterwards.
Don’t soak your feet
Despite what popular media has drilled into us about spas and fragrant foot baths being essential for relaxation and hygiene, these can actually lead to cracked, dry skin and increase your risk of sores, infection and pain.
Slip, slop, slap
Most people may not think of applying sunscreen to the surface of their feet. But that’s where direct sunlight hits. So when you’re out in sandals or thongs this summer, remember to slip slop slap from head to toe.
Soft and silky
While some men might avoid the use of moisturiser or lotions for fear of seeming ‘feminine’, I can promise you that no woman is going to be attracted to dry, flaky or infected feet. There are seemingly endless brands of moisturiser out there, plenty without fragrance, so smooth and hygienic feet are a must for everyone. Applying to the tops and heels of your feet before bed is a good way to start. Just make sure you avoid getting any between your toes, as moisture build-up there can increase infection risk.
Smooth as stone
Pumice is a type of light and porous volcanic rock. When rubbed gently over the foot, the pores in the stone catch excess skin and rub the surface smooth. This rock can be bought at most health stores or chemists, and can be used to prevent cracking around the heel of the foot and to minimise calluses.
Dia-feeties … I mean diabetes
According to healthline.com, diabetes can cause limited blood flow to the feet and legs as well as nerve damage, meaning sufferers may not feel pain in their feet. This also means they may not realise a cut or ulcer has appeared, leaving it untreated. When an infection develops, the result may be an amputation. It is important for people with diabetes or limited sensation in their legs or feet to check the health of their feet.
Wiggle your toes
Make sure that your toes receive all the blood flow they need. Do this by keeping them active, wiggling them throughout the day and avoiding anything that might prevent blood flow, such as crossing your legs or wearing tight socks for extended periods of time.
Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.