Your feet carry you everywhere, yet many people neglect to give them the care and attention they deserve. Foot problems affect a large percentage of the population, causing pain and limiting mobility, but practising good foot care and hygiene can prevent many of these issues from ever arising. In this guide, we’ll show you how to carry out proper foot care so you can keep your feet happy and healthy.
Maintain Daily Foot Hygiene
Thorough daily foot hygiene establishes a strong foundation for good foot health. Washing your feet every day with a mild soap and warm water helps remove dirt, sweat, and bacteria that can cause infections like athletes’ foot, especially between the toes. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and dry your feet well, as dampness creates an environment where fungi and bacteria thrive.
After washing, take a few minutes to inspect your feet closely. Look for any cuts, blisters, cracked skin, redness or swelling, so you can spot any issues promptly. Apply a moisturising cream daily to keep skin smooth and supple but avoid applying moisturiser between the toes. It’s also worthwhile exfoliating the heels periodically with a foot scrub or pumice stone to remove dead skin cells. Fresh, clean feet free from irritation or open sores are less prone to infections.
Keep Up Proper Toenail Care
Proper toenail care is another important part of maintaining good foot health. Trim your toenails regularly, following the natural shape of the toe, and cut them straight across to avoid ingrown toenails which can become quite painful and infected. Use sharp nail clippers made specifically for thicker toenails and file the edges with an emery board to smooth any rough edges.
Prevent debris from accumulating under nails by cleaning under them periodically with a hygienic tool made for this purpose or soak your feet in warm water if the nails are especially thick or difficult to cut. Keeping your toenails neatly trimmed reduces your risk of developing problems or nail infections. Healthy looking nails are a sign that your foot care routine is working.
Get Regular Check-ups
Scheduling podiatry check-ups is crucial for maintaining good long-term foot health. Those with chronic conditions like diabetes should have a comprehensive foot exam by a podiatrist at least once a year. Nerve damage from diabetes causes reduced sensation in the feet, so patients may not notice cuts or sores that can become dangerously infected. A podiatrist can check for signs of infection, circulation issues and foot deformities, as well as provide guidance on proper foot care.
Even those not suffering from these types of conditions should see a podiatrist if they experience persistent foot pain, changes in gait, numbness or tingling in the feet, or open sores or wounds that won’t heal. A podiatrist can diagnose underlying problems and provide specialised treatments. Regular check-ups catch problems early before they result in permanent damage or disability.
Treat Common Foot Conditions Promptly
Sometimes even with good foot care, problems can develop. Knowing how to properly treat some of the most common foot conditions can help resolve issues quickly. For bunions and corns, provide relief by padding them with moleskin, bunion guards or gel toe caps, and avoid shoes that put pressure on painful areas. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that thrives in warm, damp places, but you can apply antifungal creams or powders daily to treat it and aim to keep feet clean and dry as much as possible.
Another common issue is plantar fasciitis which causes pain in the heel and arch of your foot. Rest the inflamed area by avoiding activities that aggravate it and apply ice packs to soothe the inflammation. Seeking professional advice from a podiatrist will ensure the problem doesn’t get worse – they’ll be able to tailor a treatment plan for you to help heal the muscles in your foot more effectively.
Don’t wait until issues arise with your feet to start paying attention to them – prevention is the key to avoiding pain and limitations on your activities. Your feet work hard for you all day long, so show them some love. With proper care, your feet can stay in excellent shape well into your senior years and keep you walking, running, jumping and playing without pain and discomfort. Contact the Sussex Foot Centre today to book an appointment or to seek further advice.