They’re our most abused extremity. We put them through a variety of temperatures on a daily basis, a lot of us spend most of our days on them, and some even haul them to the top of mountains (then back down again) every single weekend. They deserve a little TLC, right? We’re talking about your feet, and how you can take better care of them at home.
Why is it important to take care of your feet?
It’s important to take care of your feet because, if you don’t, it could lead to other health problems further down the line. Foot problems affect your quality of life, your mobility and your confidence. Whether you’re food-shopping or out on the town with friends, severe foot pain will stop you in your tracks.
Fortunately, it’s really easy to keep your feet healthy. Use these 10 tips to keep your feet clean, healthy and pain-free.
Check your feet regularly
We recommend that you give your feet a good once-over every week, and wash them every time you bathe or shower. Check for any soreness, cracked skin and redness. These small issues can quite easily turn into something like athlete’s foot, so be on watch. Scrub your feet with soap and water and make sure that you dry them thoroughly – fungal organisms love a wet environment so you don’t want to give them chance to thrive. Also, make sure that you dry in between your toes!
Avoid going barefoot (especially if you’re neuropathic)
Whether you’re in the house or outside (but particularly, outside) you should avoid going barefoot. Aside from germs and everyday dirt, if you have neuropathy you probably won’t notice any slight punctures or damage which could then get infected. While your feet are tough, there’s no need for you to subject them to the hard, cold ground too often.
Try to rotate your footwear
Shoes need a day or so to air out after wearing them, otherwise, you may trigger a case of foot odor or, worse, infections. Have a shoe rotation so you’ll be fresh from one day to the next!
Keep your feet under wraps in public areas
Whether you’re at the gym, public pool or on stage at your local theatre, keep some kind of footwear on. These kinds of public places are hotbeds for infection, so it’s best to cover up.
Cut your toenails properly
It might not be immediately apparent that there is a ‘right’ way and a ‘wrong’ way to cut your toenails, but there really is. You want to cut straight across the nail and avoid trimming too close to the skin as this can cause painful ingrown toenails.
We said to keep your feet dry earlier (and you definitely should) but it’s just as important to moisturise them. Contrary to what some think, it is okay to put lotion on your feet as long as you don’t slather them in product. If the skin on your feet is dry, apply lotion over the foot but leave out the space between your toes (fungi and related infections love damp environments, remember).
Soak your feet in Listerine and vinegar - it works!
While this may sound like an old wives’ tale, the science behind it is legitimate. Because Listerine contains thymol (an antifungal agent derived from thyme oil) and alcohol, this solution is fantastic for fighting toenail fungus, cracked feet and warts.
Here’s what to do:
- Prepare a mixture of one cup of Listerine, one cup of white vinegar, and two cups of water.
- Soak your feet in the mixture for around 15 minutes.
- Remove your feet, then scrub them using a pumice stone to remove dead skin.
- Rinse with clean water.
- Pat dry, and moisturise.
See a podiatrist regularly (especially if you’re diabetic)
If you have a condition that affects your feet (like diabetes or poor circulation), it’s really important that you have your feet checked by a GP, nurse or podiatrist. They’ll be able to give you positive diet tips and maybe even recommend some skincare supplements that will help.
Wear clean socks
Although this should perhaps be a given, neglecting to wear clean socks can lead to foot odor and quite a lot of bacteria. Our feet have around 250,000 sweat glands in each foot!
Sweating creates an ideal environment for bacteria, so as well as wearing clean socks you should also think about the type of socks you wear. Get some socks made from synthetic fibres – they eliminate moisture far quicker than wool or cotton. It’s important to let your feet breathe!
Know when to see a doctor
If you’re experiencing foot pain, don’t try to self-treat it. Doctors and podiatrists call this ‘bathroom surgery’, and more often than not it just makes things worse. Know your pain threshold, and consult a professional.
Why do my feet hurt? Here are five common foot ailments
Do you have itchy, burning feet? Cracked skin? You may well have athlete’s foot (the medical name is tinea pedis) and it’s usually contracted in wet environments like locker rooms and swimming pools. You can get over-the-counter medication to clear it up. Athlete’s foot is contagious, so you’ll want to clear it up as soon as possible.
Do you have large, painful bumps on the side of your big toes? Is it painful to walk? You likely have bunions, commonly caused by ill-fitting shoes or inherited by someone in your family. Again, over-the-counter pain relief helps to bring the inflammation down. More often than not, sensible shoes are the answer.
Do you have raised pockets of fluid on your feet? If you’ve stood or walked for a long period of time or you have ill-fitting shoes, blisters are a common symptom. Eventually, it will burst on its own so it can be treated at home. Apply a bandage for comfort and, if you need to drain it yourself, use sterile equipment.
Fungal nail infection
Are your feet flaking? Do you have yellow spots on your toenails? These are signs of a fungal nail infection, again occurring from a moist environment. Get hold of some antifungal medication and it will be cleared up in no time.
If you have an ingrown toenail, you’ll definitely know about it. Painful, irritating and very tender, ingrown toenails occur if you have nails that curve or (and this is common) have poorly cut toenails. Mild cases can be treated with pain relief medication and topical antibiotics. For more severe cases, you’ll want to see a doctor to avoid infection
Put your best foot forward
There you have it! If you take care of your feet, they’ll take care of you. With the above tips, a healthy diet and the right supplementary support you’ll soon have feet to be proud of. Perfectil, our range of beauty vitamins and minerals, has been designed to give you lustrous locks and healthy looking skin. If your feet are feeling tired, unloved or just painful, give Perfectil a go.