Top 15 tips to Maintaining Happy Healthy Feet
The human foot is a marvel of biomechanical engineering that most of us take for granted until the system fails or breaks down.
Podiatrists who are part of the UCLA Medical Group offer the following tips for helping maintain healthy feet and avoiding complications. The physicians are board-certified, provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of all foot and ankle conditions, and also have expertise in the management of diabetic foot problems and sports injuries.
- Inspect your feet regularly and pay attention to changes in color, texture or appearance.
– Any changes in color and temperature of feet should be reported to a chiropodist and this consultation is important if nails become thick, tough and discolored.
– Monitoring of Foot corns and peeling of the skin, excessive dry skin is important and needs immediate treatment, preferably with advice from a chiropodist.
– Itchy feet may signal fungal infection of the skin and doctor’s advice is beneficial for quick relief.
- Press down on the nail of your big toe until the color blanches, then let go. How long does it take for the color to return? If it takes more than 5 seconds, you may have a circulation problem. Talk to your doctor.
- Maintain good foot hygiene, including washing and drying between the toes.
- Hydrate the skin. Summer weather and open shoes can cause rapid loss of moisture from the skin and may result in cracking or the formation of fissures. It is helpful to replace the moisture content by using lotions or creams on a regular basis. Do not place moisturizing cream in between the toes.
- Buy proper-size shoes. You may not wear the same size in shoes made by different manufacturers. Break them in before wearing them all day. Purchase new shoes late in the day, when feet tend to be at their largest. If your shoes aren’t comfortable at the time you purchase them, chances are they won’t become comfortable. Only buy shoes that feel great right out of the box.
- Don’t ignore foot pain. Symptoms that increase or do not resolve within a reasonable period of time need to be evaluated by your podiatric physician.
- Cut toenails straight across. Never cut into the corner this could cause an ingrown toenail. Gently file away sharp corners or rough edges with an emery board.
– Carrying out any form of bathroom surgery, like cutting out a corn with a pair of scissors or picking at the sides of the toenails for dirt with tips of the scissors/nail file can be very dangerous and can lead to further complications for the feet. -Do not pop blisters
– we all want to do it, but it introduces dirt into a tender area of the skin, resulting sometimes in infection.
- Do you push back your cuticles? Healthy ones offer protection from bacteria and infection, but they must be kept from overgrowing.
- Sensation. Run a pencil eraser along the top, bottom, and sides of your feet. Does it feel the same in all four areas? Poor sensation could be a sign of diabetes or nerve injury and should be evaluated by a doctor.
- Exercise. Walking is a great way to keep weight under control and is an excellent conditioner for the feet. Be sure to wear appropriate athletic shoes when exercising.
- Flexibility. Can you pick up a small dish towel and a marble with your toes? If not, you can improve flexibility by massaging your feet and toes gently every day. Also, practice doing the towel and marble pickups daily.
- Alternate your shoes each day. Since the feet have sweat glands, your shoes will absorb moisture from your feet, so it is important to allow your shoes to dry out completely.
– Women who always wear sandals and flat heels can develop fallen arches. On the other hand, continually wearing high heels can also be harmful because the weight of the body being constantly thrown on the toes. A variation in the height of the heels is, therefore, recommended. Look after your shoes, cleaning them regularly and keeping them in good repair, please pay careful attention particularly to the heels and the support you have. Get well-fitting shoes with sufficient space (1/2 inch) between your big toe and the tip.
- Avoid walking barefoot to help protect your feet from injury and infection.
– It is ok to flip flop. If you join a gym, health club or even are just going to a spa, make sure to take along a pair of flip-flops for post-activity showers. the wet, steamy atmosphere of a gym shower, steam room, Jacuzzi or even the deck of the lap pool is a great place for bacteria and fungus to breed. This may lead to athlete’s foot and plantar warts. While most spas do provide sanitized sandals, I always love the fit, comfort and security of bringing my own.
– Do wear sandals and slippers around your house. In addition, do remove your outside shoes prior to entering your home the germs, bacteria and other pollutants that your shoes pick up during the day in parking lots, restrooms and other unsanitary places should not be brought into your home environment. Do wash your hands after handling the soles of your shoes.
- Put sun block on your feet while wearing sandals during the day to avoid sunburn.
- Pampering as Prevention. Take a trip to the day spa for some foot pampering. It is important to pamper the feet if we expect them to keep up with our daily regimen, in addition to this soak your feet a few times per week to keep skin soft and refreshed. I like to soak them while I shower by stopping up the drain and then following with a foot file or pumice stone buff over the touch skin areas. This will help prevent painful buildup of dead skin and calluses and allow healthy skin underneath to get moisture.
In this issue of Spavelous “Now You Are In The Know” we will look at:
- Dry Cracked Heel
- Hammer Toes
- Heel Pain
- Ingrown Toenails
- Perspiration Causes Foot Odor
- Swollen Feet
- Toe Deformities
- Foot Warts