Your feet are the workhorses of your body. Are you giving them enough love, care, and pampering? If you’re missing out on caring for your feet, here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started with a healthy foot care regime.
Why Is Foot Care Important?
The quality of one’s life depends a lot on self-sufficiency, which is directly related to the health of one’s feet. If your feet hurt while walking around, you won’t be able to function at your best. Even if you spend most of your time at home, you will still need to be able to get around for basic things.
Poor foot health can limit your physical activity. This in turn can lead to a higher risk of lifestyle diseases like heart disease or diabetes. On the other hand, if you already have diabetes, it is essential to take proper care of your feet, to avoid diabetes-related foot conditions. Check with your doctor to ensure you are taking adequate preventive foot care.
Did You Know?
Diabetes can damage the nerves of your feet. Proper foot care can prevent foot damage and help you act quickly if there is a problem. 
4 Tips For Proper Foot Care
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you take proper care of your feet:
1. Clean Your Feet
- Begin with removing your toenail paint. This will allow you to examine your nails closely and look for any infection. Acetone-free polish removers are the best because regular use of acetone-based cleansers can make the nail plate thin and fragile.
- Next, trim your toenails using a clean stainless steel clipper. Be careful while trimming the toenails, so you don’t hurt the cuticle. Cuticle injuries can lead to bleeding or bacterial infection in the cuticle bed.
- Ensure there are no ingrown nails. Cut the corners of your toenails into round edges to avoid ingrown nails.
- Now, soak your feet for 15-20 minutes in lukewarm water. Add some mild shampoo to it. Use a soft brush to scrub your feet gently. This will help to loosen the dirt and hardened layers of skin on your heels.
- If you have corn and calluses, use a pumice stone to trim them.
- You can do this once a week.
After scrubbing your feet, dry them with a clean, soft towel. Apply moisturizer generously and massage your feet. Using natural butters like shea or cocoa butter can keep your feet soft and hydrated. If your heels are too cracked, look for a foot cream with an emollient. Choosing a product tailored to your skin type and individual requirements can make a huge difference.
Next, wear a pair of socks or wrap your feet with a plastic sheet for an hour or two. This will help in better absorption of the moisturizer. Known as occlusion therapy, this helps immensely if you have dry and flaky feet.
3. Wear Comfortable Shoes
Your foot health depends largely on the kind of shoes you wear. Keep the following aspects in mind while choosing footwear:
A. Right Fit :
Choose shoes that fit you well. Tight-fitting shoes can damage toenails, worsen conditions like corns, and cause foot pain. On the other hand, loosely fitted shoes will not provide the right cushioning to your heels, which can cause blisters and sore heels.
B. Good Design :
Apart from the right size, the design of the shoe also matters. For example, wearing high heels regularly can damage the bones of the foot. While you don’t need to ditch your heels completely, keep a comfortable pair of flat-soled walking shoes and sneakers for regular use. You can wear those high heels occasionally.
3. Follow A Routine With These Dos & Don’ts
The best way to keep your feet healthy is to follow a daily foot-care routine at home. Along with cleaning and moisturizing them regularly, do keep a lookout for possible foot-problems. Daily foot hygiene will keep infections away. Also, problems if detected early, can be addressed in a faster and more effective manner.
- Feet are prone to fungal infections like toenail fungus and athlete’s foot. So, pay attention to symptoms and address them on time.
- For sweaty feet, using an antiperspirant spray of medicated powders is helpful.
- Book a foot massage for yourself once in a while. Rolling a tennis ball under your feet can give you relief too.
- Indulge in a foot soak with epsom salts or vinegar once in a while.
- Don't forget to apply sunscreen on your feet too! Apply a broadspectrum (SPF 30), especially when you are going barefoot or wearing sandals leaving the feet exposed in the sun.
- Don’t ignore symptoms such as redness, flakiness, or itchiness of feet that doesn’t go away. Consult your doctor as soon as possible.
- Do not share pedicure tools or shoes with others.
Common Foot Problems You Must Know About
Here are some common foot problems that you should know about. Consult your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms. The right treatment at the right time, can go a long way in easy recovery.
1. Athlete’s Foot :
This fungal infection occurs when one walks around barefoot in warm wet places like locker rooms and public pools. Typical symptoms include red, itchy, and peeling skin between your toes. The symptoms may also be seen on the bottom of your feet. An over-the-counter antifungal cream can help reduce the symptoms. 
2. Nail Fungus :
Onychomycosis is the discoloration or ridging in toenails. This is again a fungal infection and can be treated with antifungal medication.
3. Foot Perspiration :
If your feet sweat a lot, it can lead to bad odor and fungal infection. Using antiperspirant spray can help reduce sweating. A shoe insert with activated charcoal is also helpful. Speak to your doctor if you have excessive sweating.
4. Warts :
Warts are skin bumps that are caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than five types of warts that affect human beings. While they aren’t a matter of extreme concern, they can be embarrassing, painful, and contagious. Warts can grow on any part of the body, but those growing on the feet can make walking uncomfortable.
5. Blisters :
Blisters are small fluid-filled bubbles on the skin. Blisters can occur due to many reasons, including burns, excessive friction, tightly fitting shoes, etc. Picking your blister can cause infection and it is better to leave them, till they heal on their own. If the blister is due to your shoes, choose shoes with an insole or extra padding to avoid friction.
6. Corns and Calluses :
Corns and calluses are thick and hardened layers of dead skin. They are usually formed at the side of the toes or under the feet. Formed by excessive friction and pressure on the skin, these do not pose a serious medical problem, but can be painful. In such cases, seek advice from your physician and do not try self-medication.
7. Bunions :
These painful bony bumps occur at the big toe joint. More common in women, they develop due to constant pressure on the big toe joints. Wearing narrow and tight shoes can cause bunions too. Using wider shoes and protective bunion shield pads can help. Applying ice may also give relief from pain and soreness. Your doctor may prescribe medications if your bunion is caused due to arthritis. 
While most of us take care of our skin, face, and hair, feet often get neglected and are always last on the priority list. Neglecting footcare can have many consequences, including blisters, calluses, soreness, foot pain, fungal infections, etc. If you have chronic illnesses like diabetes, you need to pay extra attention to your feet and watch for any signs of pain, soreness, or infection.
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