With spring in full swing, it’s just about time to pack away those winter boots and break out the sandals! For some people, though, the thought of having their feet so visible can evoke feelings of insecurity and embarrassment.
Unfortunately, too many people care more about the outward appearance of their feet than the internal health. However, by focusing less on appearances and more on what you can do to improve your lower limb health, you’ll end up with feet that look good and feel good, too!
Below, we’ve highlighted four habits to keep your feet healthy all year long.
Stick to a Daily Skincare Routine
Because it is our body’s largest and most exposed organ, it is extremely important to care for our skin. In fact, it has become quite common for people to have a daily skincare routine, especially for the face. Unfortunately, the feet are one of the most forgotten areas when it comes to skincare.
To keep the skin on your feet healthy, we recommend this simple, three-step routine:
1. Thoroughly wash your feet with warm water and soap every day
2. Exfoliate regularly with a gentle foot scrub to reduce callus build-up
3. Moisturize your feet daily, avoiding between the toes
The best time to moisturize is right after you shower (when the skin is most absorbent) or right before bed. We also suggest wearing cotton socks to help the moisturizer soak in better.
Take Care of Your Toenails
In order to avoid bacterial infections or painful ingrown toenails, you should keep your toenails short. Depending on how rapidly your nails grow, we recommend trimming them once a week or every other week. Use a nail clipper to cut your nail straight across, then file down any sharp edges that can irritate the skin. Cuticles protect your nail beds from infection, so try not to cut or push them down unless absolutely necessary.
Watch Out for Fungus
Fungus can grow in any damp environment—including between your toes. To minimize your risk of a fungal infection, be sure to keep your feet dry. This is especially important in the warmer months. If you work out every day, alternate your exercise shoes so that the sweat can dry out completely, and always wear a fresh pair of socks. As bare feet are far more likely to come into contact with harmful fungi, wear protective footwear as much as possible, particularly in areas such as public pools/hot tubs, gyms, and showers. Check your feet frequently for raw, peeling skin (a sign of fungal infection), and always wash/dry your feet thoroughly after exercising or going barefoot.
Don't Forget to Stretch
Taking 10 minutes per day to complete a few simple, stretching exercises can significantly improve your lower limb health! Stretching consistently will lead to increased flexibility, better circulation, and improved joint strength. A few stretches that we recommend include toe raises, toe salutes, ankle circles, and towel stretches. For more information about stretches that can help reduce common foot and ankle pain, read this blog.
By following these four simple habits, you should start to notice an overall improvement in your lower limb health and be able to wear your sandals confidently. However, if you do notice any irregularities—internally or externally—it’s best to get examined by a podiatrist. To schedule an appointment with one of our foot and ankle specialists, call us at (717) 757-3537 or submit a contact form on our website.