Your feet take the entire weight of your body and caring for them should be an essential part of your routine. Unhygienic practices could put your feet at the risk of getting various fungal and bacterial infections, which affect your day to day activities. Blisters, athlete’s foot, bunions, hammertoes, corns and calluses, gout, and ingrown toenails are some of the problems resulting from improper hygiene, birth deformities, inaccurate posture, arthritis, and ill-fitting shoes.
Mentioned below are some of the good practices which keep your feet healthy, keeping various problems at bay.
How To Care For Your Feet
1. Wash Your Feet Everyday
Cleaning your feet thoroughly, every day, helps get rid of the dirt, sweat, and microbes that build-up on your feet throughout the day. Washing them with warm water and mild soap is recommended. It is necessary that the area between the toes is washed thoroughly since it acts as a perfect space for microbial breeding.
Soaking your feet in warm water with Epsom salt is helpful if done once a week. You could gently exfoliate the skin by rubbing a pumice stone on it, which helps remove the dead skin. Following these practices, every day, would rob the natural oils of your feet.
2. Dry Your Feet Thoroughly After Washing
It is of prime importance to dry your feet thoroughly after washing. The moisture acts as a breeding ground to microbes, especially fungus. Not drying the area between the toes could lead to athlete’s foot.
3. Cut Toenails Carefully
Cut your toenails straight across using nail clippers. It is better than cutting them at an angle or deep down, since these could cause painful ingrown toenails. Moisturize sufficiently. Do not hide ugly or pigmented toenails under a nail color, since it could be an indication of an infection, which needs medical attention. Applying color on such nails could worsen the problem.
4. Change Your Socks Daily
Each of your feet has 250,000 sweat glands on them, which produce around half a pint of sweat each day. Socks act as a savior, absorbing the excess sweat and helping you have clean and dry feet. Reusing your socks the next day would simply mean soaking your feet in a pool of sweat and microbes, which could have adverse effects. Therefore, it is suggested that you change your socks every day and wash them with soap and antiseptic lotion every time.
Due to their high absorption capability, socks made from synthetic fiber are recommended over socks made from cotton or wool.
5. Wear Different Shoes On Successive Days
It is suggested that you have at least two pairs of shoes, which could be worn alternate days. This gives your shoes the time to dry off completely and reduce the risk of having a microbe-conducive environment. A good air flow keeps them dry, therefore, you should avoid placing them in a closed shoe rack, soon after using them.
6. Buy The Right Shoes
An ill-fitting shoe can cause long-term foot problems, from corns and calluses to ingrown toenails. Afternoons are considered as the right time to buy shoes since your feet are at their largest size. Thus, if the shoes fit you well at this time, you can be assured they will be comfortable always.
Choose broad and rounded shoes which give enough room for your toenails to move. Pointed or tight shoes could lead to ingrown toenails or in severe cases, deformities. Shoes made from mesh fabric and leather let your feet breath better than shoes made from other materials.
7. Protect You Feet At Public Places
Places like changing rooms, gym showers, swimming pools, public toilets, and hotel bathrooms are breeding grounds for fungus. Never walk-in barefooted or with flip flops to such places, which could infect you with athlete’s foot and verrucas.
8. Use Heels And Flipflops Judiciously
Women love heels and choosing the right one plays an important role. A continuous usage of heels, every day, would lead to various long-term problems related to posture, back, and knees. Therefore, it is good to use them once or twice a week, provided, they fit you well. It is suggested that you choose wider heels over stilettos and a thicker sole over thin one, helping distribute the pressure evenly.
Flipflops, on the other hand, are a go-to option, being easy to wear. However, they do not support your arch and ankle enough, which could lead to pain. And so, it is not suggested for continuous use either.
9. Keep The Sweat At Bay
Sweaty feet lead to smelly feet, which could be annoying. Using an antiperspirant spray/lotion/powder before putting on the shoes helps. Dabbing a small amount of surgical spirit, between your toes, after washing and drying them also keeps sweat at bay. You can sprinkle some baby powder inside your shoes to get rid of the moisture and avoid the foul smell.
These small changes, when practiced regularly, help you in various ways. They do not just ensure hygiene and keep infections at bay, they also increase your confidence and comfort, which take you a long way!