After a long, cold winter that felt never ending, we just can’t wait to toss our stifling socks and shoes for some adorable open-toed sandals. There’s only one problem though, our feet aren’t exactly prepared for the big unveiling. Neglected toenails and disregarded dry, cracked heels are just the start of a laundry list of issues that make us want to conceal our not so glamorous digits.
Want to take your feet from gross to gorgeous? Here are a few tips on how to tackle your troublesome and tenacious foot problems.
Dry Skin And Cracked Heels
Nothing resembles the look of a dry lake bed like dry, cracked heels. Dr. Mikhail Burakovskiy, a
Podiatrist with Integrative Foot & Ankle Centers of Washington says, “a rich foot cream is important for repairing cracked heels. Apply foot cream two to three times a day, if possible directly after a bath or shower. Warm water opens the pores of the skin and ensures the best penetration to dry, cracked heels, which not only look unattractive, but can also be painful.”
If your heels are still not softening up all of the way, before going to bed try a heavy duty moisturizing treatment by applying an intense skin-repairing emulsion, like AmLactin Ultra Hydrating Body Cream, to feet after showering, and then put on a pair of clean, cotton socks.
If dry, cracked heels become open wounds, stop applying foot cream and treat the open wounds.
A callus is a buildup of dead skin cells caused by continuous rubbing and friction against your shoes. Exfoliating on a regular basis is the key to eliminating them. “Don’t try to remove calluses when skin is dry”, urges Dr. Jacqueline Buckley, a Podiatrist with Integrative Foot & Ankle Centers of Washington, “as this can cause abrasions and skin damage.”
First, start with a foot soak, which can beneficial for not only softening the skin, but it also relieves stress and reduces aches. Soak feet in warm water and add a spoonful of Epsom salts for better results. After soaking lightly massage a foot scrub onto the calloused area of the foot to gently slough off dead skin. For more persistent calluses, try using a pumice stone or a foot file every couple of days. “While you may be tempted to use nail clippers or scissors to remove the dead skin,” Buckley distinctly advises against it, “Don’t ever use sharp objects or blades to remove calluses.”
Nothing says nasty like foul smelling feet. Dr. Burakovskiy explains that the smell is a direct result of bacteria that arises when feet sweat. Make sure to wash feet regularly and ensure they are completely dry so that bacteria are less likely to develop. If you exfoliate your feet regularly, this will also facilitate the reek factor.
If your feet tend to sweat a lot, you can help absorb moisture by dusting them with powder, concentrating on the soles and between the toes where bacteria tends to hang out. Soaking feet is also effective. “Soaking your feet in warm water with Epsom salts assists in drawing out the sweat and excess toxins your feet accrue throughout the day.” Additionally, don’t wear the same socks and shoes day after day as it can breed bacteria. Let shoes air out for 24-hours after wearing them, and if possible, replace your insoles every couple of months depending on the amount of activity your shoes get.
Obviously the best way to prevent blisters is to wear shoes that fit. But sometimes the combination of sweaty feet and constant rubbing is bound to deliver you a blister every once in a while. If the blister is not causing too much pain, leave it alone and it should heal itself. But there are some areas that are extremely sensitive, like in between the toes or on the soles of the feet, where it may be necessary to perforate the blister to relieve the pain and pressure. Never violently squeeze the blister, as an alternative, use a rubbing alcohol-soaked, sterilized needle. Once the blister has been drained, thoroughly clean the area, dry it and apply a topical antibiotic with a bandage.
Many of us have suffered at some point in time from a painful, ingrown toenail. If you tend to get ingrown toenails, wear shoes that are wider around the toe area. Also, cut your toenails straight across instead of down the sides or rounding them at the corners, this will help them grow out instead of into the skin. If your toenails are ingrown and you pain or redness and inflammation, it could be infected. Don’t try to fix this yourself as your efforts may make it worse, call and make an appointment to go and see a podiatrist for treatment.
It is also important to note that if you have diabetes, you should never attempt to remove calluses, blisters or cut toenails, especially with metal tools. Contact your podiatrist to assist with the safe removal of any unsightly foot issues.
Prevent Funky Feet By Visiting A Foot Expert At One Of Our Kirkland, Everett, Renton Or Redmond Locations.
Taking care of your feet is important to your overall health. In addition to following the above tips, be sure to see a podiatrist at the Integrative Foot & Ankle Centers of Washington located in Kirkland, Everett, Renton and Redmond if you’re dealing with foot pain or other foot problems. Call (425) 678-3877 or visit our contact page to get in touch.