How often do you think about your feet?
If you’re like most women, the answer to that question is probably… not a lot. Our feet tend to be one of the most neglected parts of our body, due in no small part to the fact that they’re often hidden from view by socks and shoes.
However, when something is wrong with our feet, we notice incredibly quickly– and we realize just how important they are. Your feet need plenty of TLC to keep them in good condition, as well as a thorough commitment to avoiding things that can cause harm and discomfort.
Below is a comprehensive guide to good foot care, covering a range of issues and thoughts that can ensure that you’re as sure-footed as you possibly can be.
Essential Skincare For Your Feet
Caring for the skin on your feet is essential. Even the slightest skin problem can cause a large amount of discomfort, so good skin care is the first aspect of foot care that we’re going to address.
Use foot files correctly
Foot files are a useful way of reducing the hard skin on your feet. Foot files can be manual or electric– there’s no real difference between the performance with electrical devices, so manual is fine if you don’t want to splash out.
Follow these steps to ensure your foot filing is as beneficial as possible:
- Always file dry feet. If your feet are wet, you’ll find it tougher to maintain a good grip between the file and the surface of your skin.
- Always try and drag your file in the same direction, rather than a zig-zag motion.
- When filing hard skin, you usually won’t be able to feel the sensation from the foot file. This is because hard skin has layered over the nerve-endings, preventing the signal of the touch from traveling. However, it’s important to immediately stop using your file the second that you can feel an increased pressure or sensation. When this happens, it suggests that the tough skin has been removed, and your work is done.
- Your feet are in need of special care when they have been filed, so you’ll want to follow the steps in the next section to help the skin recover.
Deep moisturizing is your best friend
Applying a foot cream to your feet is a fairly standard ritual for many of us, but you’re going to want to take things up a notch if you truly care for the health of the skin on your feet.
You will need:
- Aluminum foil or plastic wrap
- A spray bottle of water
- Olive oil
- An old pair of socks you don’t mind spoiling
- A period of around 30 minutes, during which you can remain seated
Give the skin on your feet a special treat by…
- Spray water liberally onto the surface of your feet
- Apply the olive oil directly on top of the water and massage in gently
- Wrap your feet in either the plastic wrap or aluminum foil
- Carefully slide the old pair of socks onto your feet
- Wait for 30 minutes
- Remove the socks and wrap to reveal happy, deeply moisturized feet!
This is a simple pedicure that will make a real difference to the skin on your feet, and is a perfect follow-up to a filing session.
Considering The Health Of Your Feet
There are many conditions that can blight your feet, so it’s important that checking your feet over for any signs of developing problems is part of your overall health routine. You will need to look out for:
- Bunions. Bunions form at the base of the big toe; they are hard lumps that cannot be moved. Early bunions are relatively painless, but they may become painful as they develop. Bunions can be difficult to treat; you will find compression socks from SockwellSocks.com helpful to relieve the discomfort you experience, but many sufferers eventually opt for surgery if the problem is particularly severe.
- Swelling. If your feet are frequently swollen, this could be an indication of a number of health conditions. If you do notice swelling, it’s important to visit a doctor to try and ascertain the cause.
- Corns. Corns are calluses that tend to appear on the top of the toes, though can occasionally display on the soles of your feet also. They are hard to the touch and may appear to have a yellowish tinge.
- Verrucas. A verruca is a kind of wart, which is usually spread between contact with surfaces that others have walked on. Verrucas tend to appear white in color, with a black circle in the center. There are plenty of over-the-counter verruca treatments available, though you may wish to consult a doctor if you find more than one.
By carefully monitoring your feet and getting to know what’s “normal” for you, you should be able to spot any developing health problems before they become too severe.
The shoes you wear
Most people know that the shoes they wear have an impact on the health of their feet. Wearing poorly-made, ill-fitting, or unsuitable shoes regularly can cause severe pain, as well as exacerbate conditions like plantar fasciitis.
If possible, try and find shoes that fulfill the following criteria:
- Are large enough to fit your feet, but not so large they rub against your skin while walking.
- Have some element of breathability to them, such as openings on the sides or a lower vamp that exposes some of the upper foot.
- Have a low heel, usually around 1”. Low heels tend to provide better arch support then flat soles, which will reduce the stress your ankles and calves feel while walking.
If you’re going to wear higher heels or shoes that don’t meet that criteria, then remember to:
- Thoroughly stretch your feet after wearing more difficult shoes; the stretches listed on Active.com are a fantastic choice for this.
- Use insoles and pads for the balls of your feet to make shoes easier to wear.
- If you want to wear a high heel, then opt for shoes that also have a form of platform– platforms tend to make the heel height less dramatic, and thus the shoes are more comfortable to wear.
Take Care of Your Toenails
Finally, let’s turn our thoughts to toenails.
For most women, our toenails are largely decoration. We paint them delightful colors and admire them when we wear open sandals; it’s easy to forget that our toenails actually have a function. Toenails are there to guard against damage to the sensitive soft tissue at the tips of your toes, so you’re going to want to treat them with care.
Ignore the painting myths
One of the most common beauty myths you will hear is that “your nails need time to breathe between polish applications”.
Here’s the good news: this is nonsense.
Your toenails are dead. They don’t “breathe” or need exposure to the air; if this was the case, then we’d never be able to wear shoes and socks! You can paint your toenails as often as you like, though it’s best to use a gentle nail polish remover to prevent chemical damage. The polish itself, however, is not an issue at all.
Don’t trim your toenail cuticles
If your cuticles on your toenails aren’t looking their best, see a specialist for a pedicure– do not attempt to trim them yourself. Your cuticles have a purpose — to guard against infection — and trimming them is akin to extending an invitation to bacteria. Professional pedicurists can carefully buff away cuticles so as to improve their aesthetic appearance, but preserve their essential function; this is definitely not something you want to DIY.
Be extremely careful when cutting your toenails
Most women don’t let their toenails grow in the same ways we do the nails on our hands. Toenails, it is generally agreed, are best kept short and neat rather than extending out from the toe itself.
However, when it comes to trimming, you have to be incredibly careful. If you trim too far, the chances of experiencing an ingrown toenail become far higher. As MedicalNewsToday.com makes clear, ingrown toenails are an incredibly painful and often difficult condition to treat, so you’re going to want the condition at all costs.
The best way to do this is to file, rather than cut or trim, your toenails. Filing ensures that you have complete control, and the length is reduced gradually rather than in one big cut. The moment you can feel the file against the tip of your toes, you can stop.
Feet are a tricky subject and one that many people have an aversion to discussing. However, your feet are an essential component of your health, your mobility, and even your aesthetic appearance. By following the guide above, you can be sure that your feet will always be in the best condition possible, leaving you free to run around after your kids and indulge in the shoes that you love. Enjoy!