At-Home Foot Care Tips
With feet, just as with any other part of the body, simple, daily, at-home care and maintenance goes a long way toward long-lasting health. You might get your teeth cleaned at the dentist’s office three or even four times a year, but it’s no substitute for daily brushing and flossing. Likewise, remembering to check on, care for, and treat your feet correctly can help you avoid chronic discomfort or painful deformities later in life, keeping you active and engaged.
Here are some footwear and foot care tips to keep in mind:
You should be checking your feet regularly—at least daily for those with diabetes or existing foot conditions, and at least every few days otherwise. Use a mirror or ask a loved one to help you if needed. Keep an eye out for cuts, blisters, or any signs of redness, swelling, or itchiness. These could be signs of a fungal infection, a structural problem, or simply bad shoes. Don’t forget your nails, either—ingrown or discolored nails can be painful and unsightly, and can lead to other complications.
Diabetes, or any other condition that reduces sensitivity and/or reduces blood flow in the lower limbs, makes regular inspection even more urgent, since even minor nicks can easily be missed and allowed to fester and become infected.
Your Foot Care and Maintenance Itinerary
Make sure when you shower or take a bath, you’re cleaning your feet well, including between the toes—this helps fight nasty bacterial and fungal infections. Dry thoroughly before putting on shoes, and make sure they themselves are dry—it may help to rotate between two or three pairs to give each ample time to dry out between uses.
Smoothing your skin and using a moisturizer on cracks not only looks and feels great, but can stave off itchiness and prevent cuts and other breaks in the skin that allow germs to enter. Gently using a moisturizing botanical foot scrub to remove dead skin, followed by applying a balm containing salicylic acid or urea, can soften stubborn calluses and keep your skin looking great.
A foot care tip to avoid ingrown toenails is to always cut your nails straight across, from end to end, so you can see the corner above the skin.
Also, always wear shower shoes or flip flops in public areas such as locker rooms and pools. The viruses and fungi that cause warts and fungal toenails love warm, damp environments and can spread easily from person to person.
If the Shoe Fits …
Wearing comfortable, supportive, well-fitting shoes (and limiting the amount of time you spend wearing footwear such as high heels and flip flops) is crucial. You probably do the vast majority of your standing and walking in shoes, so footwear that constricts toes or puts too much pressure on the forefoot, heel, or specific joints can do a lot of damage and lead to a host of issues, including bunions, hammertoes, heel pain, and more.
Always measure your feet before getting a new pair, and always try before you buy. Go late in the afternoon or evening—feet swell during the day. Your shoes should conform as closely as possible to your natural foot shape and feel comfortable from the moment you slip them on—if you have to “break them in,” they don’t fit. If you need a pair of custom orthotics to give your feet some more specific support from an ulcer or deformity like bunions, call Foot Doctor of the East Bay.
Make these foot care tips a part of your regular routine, and you’ll have a much better chance at keeping your lower limbs looking and feeling great. For more handy pointers, check out our online patient library and follow our blog. If you do have any concerns about the health of your foot and ankles, call Foot Doctor of the East Bay at (510) 483-3390 to set up an appointment. Our experienced professionals, Dr. Michael Stein and Zeindelin Ahmad, DPM, will get you the care you need.