Do you feel that your feet aren’t getting enough love? Read on for a few of our favourite ways of looking after these often overlooked appendages.
How to show your feet some TLC
Despite the fact that on average a person will walk around 110,000 miles in their lifetime, it’s all too easy to forget about our feet. They’re often stuffed away in shoes, socks, or slippers, which means they can regularly go unnoticed. Just like our hands, they are prone to a lot of wear and tear, and don’t always get the appreciation they deserve.
If you think your feet could do with a little extra love, read more to find out our top tips for giving some much needed attention.
The skin on our heels can get very dry, and if it’s left alone for too long it can cause painful and unsightly cracks to form in the callus tissue. This is because, as you walk, your foot absorbs around 1.5 times your bodyweight, which puts a lot of pressure on damaged or sensitive skin. These cracks can leave you more vulnerable to infection, which may need to be treated with antibiotics.
Remembering to moisturise your feet regularly will allow the skin to stay softer and more elastic. Rich oils and creams will penetrate the tough outer layer and keep you much more comfortable.
Avoid or Treat Fungal Nail Infections
A fungal toenail infection is incredibly common – much more so than a fingernail infection. While these are typically harmless for most people, they can cause unsightly discoloration and distortion, a bad odour, and discomfort or pain while walking and wearing shoes.
Do your best to avoid infections by keeping your feet clean and dry. If you do get one, finding a good treatment is important, as fungal nail is very unlikely to go away on its own, and could easily spread from one toe to another.
Creams are less likely to go deep enough to reach the fungal spores. While there are fungal nail tablets available, antifungal nail paint is a good, long term fungal nail infection treatment, as it works by gradually penetrating the nail bed and wiping out the infection, with minimal side effects.
Get a Foot Massage
Massaging any part of the body helps to stimulate blood flow, which is great for your feet if you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, or walking around in tight or high-heeled shoes. It can also improve dry skin, relieve pain and soreness, and ease oedema – which is common in pregnant women.
Keep Them Dry
Our feet spend a lot of the time in dark, cramped conditions. What’s more, they sweat – a lot. Your feet’s 125,000 sweat glands can produce up to half a pint of sweat every day, which creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
While a certain amount of sweat can’t be avoided, make sure that you are investing in good pairs of moisture-wicking shoes, which will make it a less hospitable environment for bacteria. Just remember to make sure that your shoes (and feet) are always dry before putting them on.
You should always ensure that you never wear shoes without socks, as the heat, damp and friction can make you more susceptible to infection, which may require antibiotics or a fungal nail infection treatment.
Don’t Forget Sun Cream
In the summer months, it can be easy to forget to add a layer of sun cream onto your feet and ankles. The trouble is, our feet are just as susceptible to sun damage and skin cancer as any other part of our bodies. Where you’re barefoot, or wearing sandals or flipflops, the skin on our feet needs just as much protection from the sun as your face.
Remember: it only takes little extra time to look after your feet, and putting in the effort will always pay off in the long run.
Trim Your Toenails the Right Way
Ingrown toenails are very common, and they can cause pain, swelling, redness, and infection if left untreated. Although some toes are more prone to them than others, wearing too tight shoes and sustaining injuries can make an ingrown toenail much more likely.
One of the most common causes for ingrown toenails, however, is not taking the proper care when trimming your toenails. You should always be careful to trim your toenails to a reasonable length – around the same length as your toe – but never curve it to match the shape of your digits.
Ingrown toenails can lead to a number of complications which may require surgery, and can make you more vulnerable to fungal nail infections. A straight, mid-length nail will stand much more chance of re-growing properly, and save you a lot of discomfort down the line.