Are your feet ready for the summer? From participating in outdoor activities to showing off your toes during sandal season, you want your feet to look and feel good. If you have neglected your feet until now, I’ve put together a list of foot care tips to help you confidently bare your soles in comfort.
10 WAYS TO GET SUMMER READY FEET
1. Exfoliate & Moisturize Dry Skin. Getting soft supple skin requires the outer layer of dead skin to be removed and the remaining skin moisturized. File away hardened skin and/or use an over-the counter cream that contains urea or lactic acid. Prescription urea and lactic acid creams are available for more severe skin.
2. Protect Skin From Heat. Don’t forget to put sun screen on the tops of your feet. When walking on hot sand at the beach, be sure to wear flip-flops or sandals. People with neuropathy (loss of feeling in the feet) can get a sunburn that can lead to a serious foot infection.
3. Stop Sweaty Feet. If your feet tend to sweat excessively, try an over-the-counter antiperspirant spray on your feet. Keeping them clean and dry will prevent odor causing bacteria and fungus from growing. Wear open shoes to help air-out the feet. If shoes do get wet from perspiration, let them dry out a day or two before wearing them again. Foot products are also available to sanitize shoes.
4. Wear The Right Shoes. Flip-flops and sandals are good at protecting our feet at the beach or pool. But, if you are going to spend a lot of time walking, make sure you wear supportive shoes to avoid developing arch and heel pain. I recommend alternating shoe types to avoid foot injury by continually exercising different areas of the foot. If you wear flip-flops one day, switch to wearing sneakers or a casual shoe with an arch support next time.
5. Know Pedicure Safety. It is okay to get a pedicure as long as the salon practices good sterilization techniques. I suggest scheduling your pedicure first thing in the morning when foot baths are at their cleanest. Avoid shaving 24 hours before. Tiny cuts in the skin can become infected if exposed to harmful bacteria.
6. Prevent Ingrown Toenails. The most common cause of a painful ingrown toenail is improper nail cutting. Be sure to cut your toenail straight across and file the corners with an emery board. Leave them long enough to see the corners of the nail but not too long where it hits the front of the shoe which can lead to a bruised toenail. Persistent ingrowing nails may need to be surgically removed to prevent regrowth.
7. Smooth Corns & Calluses. At pressure points in the feet, your body will develop thickened skin called calluses (under the feet) and corns (tops and between toes). If these get too thick, they can lead to pain. Use a pumice stone to gently file them down. Instead of a back-and-forth sawing motion, file in one direction to avoid tearing the skin.
8. Clear Athlete’s Foot. Persistent flaky, dry skin may actually be a fungal skin infection. Left untreated, it can spread to the toenails. If your athlete’s foot problem does not improve with over-the-counter treatments, a prescription cream or oral medication is required. Reinfection is very common, so try your best to keep feet clean and dry.
9. Treat Fungal Toenails. A toenail fungus infection is one of the most difficult body infection to cure. Fungal nail treatments can take up to a year to treat due to the time it takes for toenails to grow. So it is best to start treating the infection now in order to have healthier looking toenails next summer.
10. See a Podiatrist. Most foot problems are successfully treated when seen by a doctor right away. People with diabetes, poor circulation, and loss of feeling in the feet are at a higher risk for serious foot complications. If you are not sure about the risk status of your feet, it is best to schedule a foot exam before performing self care.
If you live in the Tuscaloosa, Alabama area and need a podiatrist, I will be more than happy to see you any time of the year. Just call my office at (205) 409-0175 to schedule an appointment. My podiatry office also has quality foot care products available for purchase with no appointment necessary. Take a look at our Foot Products Page or stop by during office hours. Have a good summer!