10 Dec 5 Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy this Summer
Ah, summer! Long, glorious days filled with swimming at the beach, barbecues with friends and school holidays. If your feet are still a bit worse for wear from winter, here’s how to get your feet looks lovely – and healthy – before you slide them into your summer sandals.
Blisters Be Gone!
If you’ve bought a new pair of sandals, chances are, you’ll end up with painful blisters. “Blisters occur due to the constant chafing caused when a shoe rubs up against the skin until it balloons out and fills with fluid to cushion and protect the deeper layers of skin underneath,” explains our podiatrist Trevor Proskewitz. “You can prevent this by buying shoes that are comfortable and don’t need to be ‘broken in’. Buy shoes in natural fabrics or leather and wear them at home for an hour or so, before you wear them to go out.”
If you do wind up with a blister, clean the area with soap and water and try to leave the blister intact. However, if the pain is unbearable, use an alcohol-sterilised needle to poke a tiny hole in the side of the blister and drain the fluid out, leaving all the skin intact. Then apply some antibiotic ointment and cover it with a band-aid. Says Trevor, “If you’re a diabetic, do not attempt this at home; see a podiatrist immediately.”
Avoid Flip Flops/Thongs
Believe it or not, thongs or flip-flops are actually bad for your feet. They are too thin and flat to give your feet adequate support. When you wear them, your toes tend to over grip the thin straps which can cause a lot of pain, especially if you overuse them. They can cause stress fractures, heel pain and tendonitis, and can exacerbate hammertoes.
Cautions our podiatrist Russel Rubin, “If you must wear flip flops, use them at the pool or beach and don’t wear them all day long. When buying thongs, choosea pair with a thicker sole and arch support. You shouldn’t be able to bend the flip flop in half — that’s your first clue that it won’t provide enough support. Also look for ones with ankle straps – a few select companies are manufacturing them nowadays.”
Treat Cracked Heels
One of the main reasons we get cracked heels is from your skin being too dry. If your summer feet look dry and cracked, slather on an exfoliating moisturiser every day and run a pumice stone over them while in the shower. Make sure you only go in one direction — going back and forth can actually make the split skin worse. Your podiatrist can recommend a suitable topical cream to keep your heels well hydrated. “Dry, cracked heels can also be a sign of a fungus, psoriasis, thyroid issues and diabetes,” says Russel. “Visit a podiatrist if you have any concerns.”
Ease Sweaty Feet
As the mercury rises, many of us suffer from sweaty feet. If this is you, make sure you wear socks that wick excess moisture away. Advises Trevor, “Look for socks labelled ‘moisture-absorbing’ or ‘moisture-wicking’. Change out of damp socks as soon as possible. Where there’s sweat, there’s odour caused by bacteria breaking down the sweat, so try to keep your feet dry.” If possible, rinse off your feet regularly throughout the day, taking care to dry them thoroughly after each wash, particularly between the toes. But if nothing works, see a podiatrist for prescription-strength anti-perspirant.
Pedicure with Caution
Sure, a pedicure makes your feet look summery and sparkly, but choose your pedicure place wisely. Many cheap salons cut corners when it comes to hygiene. Everything from the tools used to the whirlpool foot tub can transmit nail fungus, wart viruses and even serious bacterial infections, if not disinfected properly. If possible, schedule your appointment at the start of the day, when the tools and basins have been cleaned properly. The safest bet is to give yourself a pedicure at home with your own equipment.