Foot & Nail Care

Your feet are two of the most abused and often used parts of the body, with all the walking and running that you do every day. Yet when it comes to our health and beauty routines, feet and toenails often get neglected. No matter what the season is, it is always important to keep your feet and toenails in tip-top condition. Learn how to care for your feet and toenails by having good hygiene.

Feet tend to get dirtier and sweatier than other parts of the body, so it’s important to have good sanitary habits. If you take showers in the morning and not at night, at least make feet-washing a part of your routine.

    • Wash them with soap and warm water. This will cleanse your feet of sweat, dirt and bacteria that might be living there. Pay extra attention to the spaces in between the toes. Wipe your feet gently with a towel afterward.
    • Keep your toenails clean as well. If you walk around wearing sandals in the summer, you might find that your toenails get dirty. Take the time to clean them every time you bathe your feet.

Your feet will stay healthier if you wear proper footwear designed to keep your feet clean, dry and at a comfortable temperature. You dress the rest of your body to stay comfortable in different weather conditions, and you should do the same for your feet.

General Tips

    • Keep them cool in the summer with sandals and footwear that breathes. If you wear shoes that make your feet hot in the summer, you could end up with odor or a fungal infection.
    • Keep them warm in the winter with waterproof boots and socks.

Dealing with odor is a problem many people face, since feet produce more sweat than the rest of the body and tend to harbor bacteria that create a smell. If your foot odor has gotten out of hand, there are measures you can take to make them smell better right away.

    • Try changing your socks more often. If your feet tend to sweat a lot throughout the day, bringing an extra pair of socks with you could really help to decrease the odor that builds up. Change your socks when they get damp with sweat.
    • Keep your shoes clean. Sometimes the odor is worse when sweat and bacteria build up in shoes. Then every time you put them on, the problem is perpetuated. Wearing socks with your shoes, cleaning them every so often and buying new shoes when it's time are all ways to reduce odor.
    • Try foot powder. There are many products designed to keep feet dry and odor-free. Try sprinkling foot powder, baby powder or talcum powder in your shoes before you put them on.
Athlete’s foot and other foot fungus tend to grow in moist conditions. A few tweaks in your hygiene routine can prevent you from having to deal with these unpleasant afflictions, which often cause itchy rashes. Do the following to keep your feet clean and dry:
    • Change your socks often. It's the top prevention method for all kinds of foot-related issues, from odor to fungus. Wearing damp socks provides the perfect environment for fungus to grow, so change them often, especially if you sweat a lot.
    • Use foot powder. Many people sprinkle powder in their shoes to keep everything clean and dry.

If you shower in a locker room or another public place, take precautions so you don’t end up with someone else’s foot fungus. Showers are typically damp environments that can harbor fungus and bacteria. It's not a good idea to step into a public shower without protection on your feet.

    • Wear flip flops or shower shoes when you shower in locker rooms and other public places.
    • It's also important not to share shoes with other people. If you're an athlete, don't share cleats and other athletic equipment.

Every few weeks, trim your toenails to keep them healthy and strong. Trimming them the wrong way results in ingrown toenails, which can be quite painful. Trim them straight across, rather than trimming the edges into a curve. You should also avoid trimming them too short, since this could result in ingrown toenails or an infection.

If you have an itchy rash, chances are it's athlete's foot. There are over-the-counter creams that can be successfully used to treat athlete’s foot and other fungus. Use a cream according to the manufacturer's instructions until the rash goes away and your foot feels better. In the meantime, make sure you change your socks often.

    • If the condition doesn’t go away after a few days, see your chiropodist.
    • Toenail fungus is a different type of fungus, and it's much harder to treat. If your toenails are brown or yellow and cracked, see a your chiropodist for the best treatment for you.

A bunion occurs when the bone on the side of the foot experiences stress and begins to grow outward. This condition can become very painful if you don't take measures to correct the problem. Bunions are often genetic, but they can also be caused by wearing shoes that are too pointy at the top (like high heels or ballet shoes).

    • Make sure your footwear isn’t causing problems. It might be time to trade in those stilettos for some comfy flats.
    • Wear bunion pads. You place them over the bunion to prevent it from rubbing against your shoes.

If you experience pain that doesn’t go away, it’s important to seek your podiatrist or Chirodist, at First Step Clinic we can make padding and/or insoles.

    • There are many bones in the feet that can easily become fractured.
    • Walking on a hurt foot can exacerbate the problem.