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According to the Mayo Clinic, we take between 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day. That’s approximately two miles—and a lot of wear and tear on the toes!
Your poor feet need a little attention from time to time.
Otherwise, you could put your feet at risk for unnecessary pain or foot issues. Fungal infections might become a problem, too.
Take a step in the right direction with these top foot care tips. That way, you can keep your feet happy and healthy, one foot at a time.
1. Keep ’em Clean
The first step for proper foot care is to keep your feet clean. Sounds easy, right?
Even so, many people neglect good foot hygiene.
Make sure to clean and scrub your feet by using soap. After your shower, dry them thoroughly.
Fungi thrive in moisture. Keeping your feet clean and dry can ensure you don’t create an environment for fungal infections to form. Dry between your toes, too! Otherwise, you might unintentionally leave excess moisture trapped there.
2. Look Them Over
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. Patients with Type 2 diabetes often experience pain or numbness in their feet.
This is a result of nerve damage, which also makes it more difficult for sores or cuts to heal.
Examine your feet for problems once a week. A self-completed foot exam can help you check for potential issues. The best time for these exams is right after a shower or bath.
While you’re drying each foot, look on the soles for scaling.
You should also check between your toes for peeling skin. Both of these issues could indicate athlete’s foot.
Meanwhile, nail discoloration could indicate a nail fungus.
If you have diabetes, check your feet once a day. Diabetes patients are already at higher risk for infections and sores. This self-check can help you limit the foot problems you’re experiencing.
3. Cut Them Down
When cutting your nails, making sure you’re taking the proper steps. Cut each toenail straight across. It’s also important to avoid trimming too close to the skin.
Drastically rounding the corners of each nail could cause ingrown toenails.
By learning how to properly cut your nails, you can avoid issues—and pain.
4. Don’t Hide Issues
You might feel embarrassed by the foot issues you’re experiencing. Many people try to hide their cracked, thick, discolored, or crumbling nails with nail polish.
Don’t. These issues aren’t just unappealing. They’re also possible signs of nail fungus.
Putting on nail polish could cause an infection to get worse.
If you notice these issues, see a doctor. A podiatrist can discuss the best options for your foot care moving forward.
5. Protect Your Feet
Don’t walk around barefoot, especially in public spaces. That includes the gym, locker rooms, and at public pools.
These locations are high in sweat and foot traffic. Unfortunately, this makes them the perfect environments for fungi to form. By protecting your feet and gearing up, you can avoid infections while still getting your daily exercise in.
Switch out your restrictive shoes for something a bit more breathable.
Leather and mesh fabrics are great examples of breathable footwear. These materials will allow air to circulate. If your feet sweat a lot, this can help you keep perspiration to a minimum.
Otherwise, all that sweat could cause bacteria to build up and attack.
7. The Perfect Fit
When you head out shoe shopping, don’t feel the need to squeeze into a would-be perfect pair of shoes. Instead, wear shoes that fit for proper foot care.
A pair of too-tight shoes could cause you long-term problems.
Treat your feet to a pair of shoes that look and feel great!
Schedule your next shoe shopping trip for the end of the day. When you’re on your feet all day long, your feet will experience minor foot swelling. Shopping after an active day can help you find shoes that compensate for this swelling.
Make sure you wear the same type of socks you usually do when trying on shoes.
Need help choosing a style?
Broad, round shoes give your toes plenty of space. Avoid pointy shoes that cramp your toes together. These can cause ingrown toenails or calluses.
8. Stop Sweat
Don’t feel embarrassed if you’re prone to excessively sweaty feet. In some cases, your socks might be the cause.
Choose socks made of synthetic fibers instead of ones made of cotton or wool. These socks will keep your feet dry while removing moisture.
Tight pantyhose can trap moisture, too, so avoid these as well.
Sweat can cause bacteria to build up. For healthy foot care, stop the sweat in its tracks!
9. Don’t Share
Avoiding walking a mile in someone else’s shoes—literally. Sharing footgear can cause you to develop fungal infections.
That goes for wearing someone’s socks, too.
If you go bowling or ice skating a lot, consider purchasing your own shoes. This is another opportunity to treat your feet! Otherwise, rentals can cause issues and infections.
10. See the Doc
Don’t try to self-treat foot pain problems you’re experiencing. In some cases, home treatments can make problems worse.
If you notice redness, swelling, pain, or discoloration, head over to a podiatric physician. Scheduling an appointment at a podiatrist’s office like Premier Podiatry can help determine the root of the issue.
A foot exam can then also prevent minor issues from becoming bigger ones.
In some cases, you just need a prescription or a minor in-office procedure. Speaking with a medical professional can also help you determine proper foot care steps you can take at home.
Stay a Step Ahead: Tips for Healthy Foot Care
Stay a step ahead with your foot hygiene. By following these 10 steps for healthy foot care, you can avoid pain and fungal infections.
Don’t forget to examine your feet with a self-completed exam at least once a week. Now you’re taking a step in the right direction.
Explore our health and fitness section for more helpful tips and health guides!