Get ready to wear sandals and improve your foot health
This June is Feet For Life month, which is an ideal opportunity to take another look at our footcare routine. Many of us spend most of the day on our feet and walk long distances, perhaps around town or at work, and not always in the best shoes for our feet. Over a lifetime, your feet carry you around 150,000 miles in total! It is important to pay special attention to footcare in order to get your feet feeling and looking ready for summer and the sandal season and to improve your overall foot health.
One in five women say that they are embarrassed about their feet. Assess both the health of your feet and your cosmetic routine to improve your confidence about the appearance of your feet.
Because your feet bear your whole body weight, it is important to act quickly if you notice problems, as foot problems may affect your walking and cause pain in your back, hips and knees, particularly if you are older.
Cleaning and caring for your feet
You should wash your feet often, with soap and water, in order to prevent irritation and infection. Drying your feet thoroughly after washing them is also essential, as moisture between the toes in specific can lead to Athlete’s foot. If you do catch Athlete’s foot, cream and other products can be used to treat the condition easily, so don’t feel embarrassed about seeking help.
Removing hard skin regularly with a foot file can optimise your footcare routine, however it is important to be careful not to be too vigorous with filing, as any cuts or scrapes from over-filing could lead to discomfort and potentially infection. Keep any dry skin supple by moisturising regularly.
When cutting your toenails, always trim them straight across, as this will help to avoid ingrown toenails, which may be very uncomfortable. For more information about ingrown toenails and treatment options, visit NHS UK.
If you notice changes to your toenails, such as discolouration, thickening or distortion of the nail, you may be suffering from a fungal nail infection, which can usually be treated with antifungal medication. You can find out more about the treatment options here.
To avoid catching Athlete’s foot and verrucas, wear flip-flops when you use public changing areas, such as swimming pool changing areas, hotel bathrooms, gym showers, by the pool etc.
Choosing the right footwear is key to a balanced footcare routine. According to The College of Podiatry, 50% of people struggle to find shoes which are both comfortable and they also think are fashionable. In addition, one in five women who wear heels start to feel pain within just ten minutes. Tips include:
- Don’t wear flip-flops all the time in the summer. Because they do not provide very much support for your feet, prolonged use may lead to arch pain.
- To avoid foot odour, change your socks every day. You may also choose to use a spray to prevent odour. Socks made of at least 70% cotton are best, as they are more breathable.
- Choose the right shoe for your work to avoid unnecessary strain. If you have to wear high heels at work, consider walking to work in comfortable shoes, such as trainers, and change into your heels when you arrive.
- For tips on wearing high heels without damaging your feet, consult this Survival Guide.
- Top Tip – When shopping for shoes, make sure you try on the shoes you are considering buying in the afternoon. Because your feet swell over the course of the day, particularly if it is warm, they are at their largest in the afternoons. If the shoes fit comfortably then, they are more likely to fit comfortably for the whole day.
Footcare for older people
Older people often suffer more from foot problems and struggle to take care of their own feet. NHS Choices offers tips and sources of help on footcare for older people. Age UK often offers local toenail cutting services for older people who cannot do this for themselves, so call Age UK Advice on 0800 169 65 65 to find out more about the services they can offer if you need help.