TAKING CARE OF YOUR TOES

TOP TEN TIPS FOR TIP TOP TOES.   
By DR PAUL BARRATT.   

With the average person set to walk up to 920,000 steps this summer, it’s well worth giving your feet some TLC.

In summer there is an increase in people visiting their doctors or pharmacists with foot complaints. It’s not that summer is a particularly dangerous season but because the feet are usually an afterthought: people don’t tend to focus on them until they want to get them out on display.

As with all aspects of health, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure. So here are our Top Ten Tips for Tip Top Toes…

1. Don’t ignore your feet. Really get to know your feet, and inspect them regularly. This way you’ll easily spot any changes in their appearance that could flag potential problems. Today’s red mark is tomorrow’s blister!

2. Dry between your toes. You wouldn’t wash your hands and not dry between your fingers, but not drying properly between toes is a common mistake that can lead to foot problems. We know it can tickle, but laughing is good.

3. Moisturise feet daily – but not all over. You need to use lotions or creams on a regular basis – especially when wearing open shoes that can help the skin lose moisture. However, do not use lotion between toes (see above) or on nails, instead concentrate on the heels and soles of your feet.

4. Wear high factor (over 30SPF) suncream. The skin on your feet very rarely gets to see the sun and so it is not acclimatised and can burn easily. Nothing says ‘ruined holiday’ like swollen, sunburned feet.

5. Remove hard skin gently. We know it might look tough, but under every bit of hard skin, there is a piece of soft skin just waiting to get out. With this in mind, remove skin gently, preferably when your skin is softened by being in the bath or shower.

6. Cut toenails properly. That is, straight across. Never cut the corners as this can lead to problems. File sharp edges, gently, with an emery board.

7. Keep feet dry. As a rule, feet don’t like moisture and it can lead to problems from blisters to infections. If your feet are ‘glowing’ and your socks or tights are sweaty, change them. Similarly, if your shoes get wet, allow them to dry out fully before wearing them again.

8. Wash – don’t soak – feet. Too much soaking can cause the natural oils in your feet to become unbalanced leading to dry, cracked skin. Too much wet can lead to dry? We don’t make the rules, we just share them.

9. Don’t assume flat is best. While it is generally true that a flat shoe is better for your feet than a stiletto, don’t assume that flat necessarily equates to healthy.

10. Don’t walk barefoot. A bit of an obvious one, but without shoes or sandals it is easy for your feet to get injured or infected. We all remember the days of veruccas and the rubber sock. Let’s leave those memories where they belong.

 

About the Author

Dr. Paul Barratt is Medical Director at TOG Orthotics. See: www.togorthotics.com

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