10 Tips for Healthy Feet
- Keep your feet clean and dry. Healthy feet start with good hygiene. Thoroughly clean and scrub your feet with soap and water when you bathe. Afterward, dry them well. Fungal organisms love moisture, so depriving them of any wetness will make it more difficult for them to thrive.
- Examine your feet for problems. Perform a foot self-exam once a week when you take a bath or shower. As you’re drying off your feet, take a good look on the soles for any scaling and between your toes for peeling areas. That could signal athlete’s foot. Also look for discoloration of the nails, which could indicate a nail fungus. If you have diabetes, you should inspect your feet every day since diabetes leads to higher risk of foot sores and infections.
- Cut toenails properly. Cut nails straight across and avoid trimming too close to the skin or drastically rounding the corners of the nails, which can cause painful, ingrown toenails.
- Don’t hide “ugly” toenails with polish. A discolored, thick, cracked, or crumbling nail could signal a nail fungus. Applying nail polish to an infected nail could make the problem worse.
- Protect your feet in public areas. Be sure to wear shower shoes at the gym, in locker rooms, and at public pools. These places tend to be breeding grounds for fungi that can lead to infections.
- Avoid sharing footgear. You can get an infection by borrowing or wearing other people’s shoes. This especially includes rentals. Always wear your own footgear to help keep your feet healthy.
- Head off sweaty feet. Your feet have sweat glands galore — 250,000 in each foot! Perspiration creates the perfect environment for bacteria to set up shop. Wearing socks that keep feet dry will help your feet stay healthy. Also avoid wearing excessively tight pantyhose, which trap moisture.
- Choose breathable footwear. To help keep your feet dry and healthy, wear shoes made of leather to allow air to circulate. If you’re prone to excessively sweaty feet, look for shoes made of mesh fabrics for maximum breathability.
- Wear shoes that fit properly. Shoes that are too tight can cause long-term foot problems. Shop for shoes at the end of the day to compensate for foot swelling that occurs later in the day, and wear the same type of socks or hosiery you’ll be wearing with the shoes. Avoid pointy shoes, which can cramp your toes and cause ingrown toenails and subsequent infection.
- Know when to see a doctor. Don’t attempt to self-treat painful foot woes. Any pain, redness, swelling, or discoloration that persists should be checked out by a podiatric physician. Usually the problem can be cleared up with prescription medicine or a minor in-office procedure. Allowing a doctor to take a look will help prevent minor problems from becoming major ones.
By following these 10 easy tips, you can help keep your feet healthy and pain-free.