Keeping your feet clean is the first step in preventing the plethora of foot and nail ailments like corns, calluses, ingrown nails and fungal infections. Bathing is simply not good enough for this. However, adding a few steps to your basic routine can go a long way.
Here are a few steps to clean, healthy and beautiful feet:
- Wash well: Wash your feet in a tub of warm, not hot, water. Do not soak your feet for long as this washes away essential skin oils that protect your feet naturally. Clean your feet everyday to prevent the buildup of bacteria, which can result in bad odour.
- Exfoliate: Use a pumice stone while your skin is still moist to gently remove dead skin on your heels and to prevent calluses and corns. In the event of a corn or callus developing, always treat it using medically approved preparations and implements. Never dig out the root of the corn with sharp objects.
- Dry your feet properly: Once you are done washing, be sure to dry your feet (especially between your toes) thoroughly with a clean and dry towel. You can use talcum powder to keep your feet dry.
- Moisturise: Dry skin tends to crack and openings on the skin surface can let in bacteria leading to infection. Use moisturising lotion liberally on the top and soles of your feet but avoid the area between your toes as this can lead to excessive moisture, causing the skin to break down.
- Trim your nails: Healthy toenails are a crucial part of good foot hygiene. Clip your nails right after washing. Remember to cut them straight across, rounding slightly at the sides. The cuticle forms a seal between the top of the nail and the skin blocking the entry of bacteria so leave it intact. Any signs of discolouration or thickening of the nail could indicate a fungal infection in the nail, which should be attended to immediately.
- Always wear socks: Socks absorb sweat and protect your feet from friction that your skin encounters inside a shoe, preventing blisters and cuts. Cotton socks, particularly, allow the feet to breathe and remain cool.
- Protect your feet from the cold: Allowing your feet to become cold will decrease the sensation in them. In cold weather, wear thicker socks and shoes. In addition, good blood circulation is important in keeping your feet warm so avoid wearing tight socks or shoes or standing in one place for extended periods.
- Protecting your feet from heat: This is just as important as protecting them from the cold. Avoid walking on very hot surfaces, such as hot concrete, barefoot. Always remember to apply sunscreen on your feet as well when you’re stepping out in the sun.
- Wear shoes that fit: Footwear is very important. When you shop for shoes pay attention to the comfort level too, not just the exterior of the footwear. While high heels and tight fitting shoes may look glamorous, they might do more harm than good in the long run.
Take good care of your feet. Seeing them looking and smelling good will boost your confidence and make you feel better about yourself too. Look for telltale signs of foot problems like cuts, corns, calluses, blisters, ingrown toenails, swelling, discoloration and/or pain. Report any concerns to your doctor.
Follow these simple tips and soon you’ll find your feet looking so clean and healthy that you will want to show them off!