12 footcare tips
02 June 2016, 12:30
A serious foot problem can be every bit as debilitating as toothache. Proper footcare should be an important part of your daily health care routine and is essential for healthy, pain-free feet.
"You only have one pair of feet: look after them well," say Dallas Fell and Chris Delpierre, two Cape Town podiatrists. "Footcare should be an essential part of everyone's daily routine. Preventing problems are so much easier than trying to solve them later," they say. Remember – look after your feet and they will look after you.
A large number of foot complications can be avoided by regularly caring for your feet. The following points, provided by Fell and Delpierre, should serve as a guideline for caring for your feet:
- Keep trim. Trim your nails regularly using a good pair of nail clippers. Picking of nails or poor nail cutting can lead to ingrowing nails and nail infections. Do not cut your nails too short and do not attempt to cut down in to the corners. This is especially important if you have diabetes.
- Don't skin yourself. Remove hard skin gently with a pumice stone. Do not attempt to cut hard skin or dig out corns yourself. This can lead to painful complications.
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- Don't dry out. Use a moisturiser daily on your feet. Dry skin can lead to callus formation and cause heel cracks. Do not apply cream between the toes.
- Wash and dry those feet! Wash your feet daily in warm soapy water. Do not soak the feet too long as this will destroy the natural oils in the skin. Remember to dry the feet thoroughly afterwards, particularly between the toes.
- Keep up your spirits. Apply surgical spirit between the toes with a cotton bud daily, particularly between the smaller toes. This will keep the space between the toes dry and prevent fungal skin infection from occurring.
- Wearing the shoe that fits. Good, comfortable shoes are extremely important to maintain the health of your feet. Choose shoes that are the correct size and provide your feet with comfort and support. Always wear the right shoe for the right occasion. Socks are also important. Ensure that you have clean socks on every day and make sure there are no holes in them.
- Get out and get moving. Exercise regularly to maintain and improve the circulation in the feet.
- Deal with your foot problems. Do not allow foot problems to get worse. Seek prompt attention from your podiatrist if you have foot pain or if problems persist. It is not normal for feet to hurt – get attention if you have any concerns.
- No popping of blisters. Do not pop any blisters that may have formed on your feet. Allow the moisture in the blister to be naturally reabsorbed into the skin.
- Watch those wounds. Treat any cuts or wounds on the feet with care. Wash with an antiseptic solution and apply a clean dressing. Always seek medical attention if wounds do not heal.
- Going barefoot? Remember sunblock. Feet are particularly sensitive to sunburn. Feet are usually covered in shoes and can burn easily if exposed to the sun. Always use a good sun block on your feet when going barefoot.
- Athlete’s foot's no joke. Athlete's foot is a common complaint caused by a fungal infection of the skin. This can be prevented by maintaining good foot hygiene, wearing clean socks, and regularly washing and drying the feet.
(Written by Dallas Fell and Chris Delpierre, registered podiatrists with the H.P.C.S.A)