Foot Care Tips

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Avoid debilitating and painful foot problems from causing immobility and a lesser quality of life. Knowing how to take care of your feet will help you stay mobile and lessen the chance of dealing with severe foot problems as you age.

We gathered the following information on common foot problems, foot care routines, general foot/nail care, and special considerations for more complicated foot conditions.

What are Common Foot Problems

Aging feet need special care and attention, as the risks for chronic foot problems significantly increase. According to Foot Palace Athens, these conditions often include corns, calluses, nail disorders, bunions, and hammertoes. Systemic foot conditions include arthritis, gout, and diabetes.

What is a Good Foot Care Routine?

Just as you wouldn’t go a day without grooming your appearance, you shouldn’t go a day without evaluating and taking care of your feet.

  • Check your feet daily for cuts, abrasions, sores, swelling, and infected or ingrown toenails
  • Give them a thorough cleaning in warm water, but avoid soaking them because that may dry them out
  • Moisturize them every day with lotion, cream, or petroleum jelly. Avoid putting moisturizer between your toes; you want to keep this area dry to prevent infection
  • Avoid tight-fitting shoes
  • Avoid flip-flops and flats (they don’t provide adequate arch support)
  • Rotate your shoes to avoid wearing the same pair every day
  • Trim your toenails straight across. Then use a nail file to smooth the corners, which will prevent the nail from growing into your skin
  • Keep your feet dry. Most people sweat when it’s hot out, but people with hyperhidrosis sweat all the time

Note: Besides the discomfort of having wet feet from hyperhidrosis, which could make you slip in your shoes, you could find that you have smelly feet and are prone to infections since that wetness can quickly break down your skin.

What is Podiatric Medicine

Podiatry or podiatric medicine is a branch of medicine devoted to the study, diagnosis, and medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle, and lower extremity. Podiatry referrals are typically given by primary care physicians during routine checkups.

Foot and Toenail Care

Good nail care can prevent fungus infections, painful ingrown toenails, and skin infections. Nail care is especially important for those with diabetes (foot infections in any form are dangerous).

Keep your toenails short, trim them straight across, and then use a nail file to slightly round out the corners. This helps prevent ingrown toenails and infections. And always use clippers designed for toenails (they are stronger and can cut through thicker nails).

Tip: If you have difficulty cutting your toenails, or you have underlying foot conditions or fungal infection, it is recommended to have your nails cut by a Podiatrist.

Other Foot Conditions

Some health conditions like diabetes and neuropathy can make regular foot care more challenging and even more necessary. Consider the following:

Diabetic Foot Care – The following can help people with diabetes manage their foot care and preserve their mobility.

  • Never walk barefoot. Diabetic nerve damage decreases sensation, so you may not notice that little pebbles or objects have gotten stuck in your foot. This can result in a catastrophic infection
  • Wash your feet every day with mild soap and warm water. Test the water temperature with your hand first. Do not soak your feet. When drying them, pat each foot with a towel rather than rubbing vigorously. Be careful when drying between your toes
  • Use lotion to keep your feet soft and moisturized. This prevents dry skin cracks and decreases the risk of infection
  • If you find an ingrown toenail, see your doctor. Good nail care and immediate action are crucial in preventing infections
  • Avoid using antiseptic solutions, drugstore (OTC) medications, heating pads, or sharp instruments on your feet
  • Always keep your feet warm and dry. Wear loose socks to bed and avoid getting your feet wet in snow or rain
  • Do NOT smoke. Smoking damages blood vessels, hardens arteries, and decreases the body’s ability to circulate oxygen. When coupled with diabetes, it significantly increases your risk of amputation.

Note: Do not use oils or creams between your toes; this extra moisture can lead to infection.

Tip: Schedule regular spa days or foot massages to provide your feet with extra care and attention.

Neuropathy Foot Care – Peripheral neuropathy is the damage of the peripheral nerves. Your peripheral nerves are the ones that travel to your arms and legs. When these nerves are damaged, they stop functioning properly. Those with peripheral neuropathy have significantly decreased or abnormal sensations in their toes and fingers. Consider the following:

  • If you are suffering from peripheral neuropathy, it is crucial to inspect your feet daily. Because decreased sensation can slowly develop, you may not notice an injury or infection. Someone who has diabetes accompanied by peripheral neuropathy could step on a tack without noticing it
  • Note any injuries or infections and immediately seek appropriate medical attention 
  • If you’re unable to properly inspect your own feet, get a family member or friend to help you, or use a mirror
  • People with peripheral neuropathy should wear properly fitted shoes and avoid walking barefoot to prevent injury. If you have diabetes, it’s vital to control your blood sugar as well because uncontrolled blood sugar quickly leads to increased nerve damage

Note: Neuropathy can occur for multiple reasons, including disease, injuries, surgeries, and some chronic health problems.

How To Care for Feet

In this article, you discovered essential information about common foot problems, routines for daily foot care, general foot and nail care, and how to protect your feet when underlying conditions make efficient care more challenging.

Knowing how to properly care for your feet can help you indefinitely put off some of the mobility issues associated with disease and aging.

Without a care routine for your feet, immobility, discomfort, and frequent, costly doctor visits may become your new normal.

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