Are your feet ready for the big reveal?
Research has found that almost half of UK women cover up their feet during summer, with many citing hard, dry skin,discoloured nails and cracked heels as the main reasons why.
Want perfect summer feet? Try these simple steps
If the thought of showing your tootsies off in sandals is bringing you out in a cold sweat, don’t worry. Sort out the problems now and you’ll dare to bare them in no time!!
PALE NAILS, A GOOD ARCH AND NO ODD LUMPS
Healthy feet do not necessarily need to be perfectly shaped. However, the nails should be slightly paler than your skin colour and have a natural sheen – not shiny, but not matt. They should be clean with no patches of discoloration, and not be thick, splitting, or curled in.
REGULAR UPKEEP IS ESSENTIAL
Keep toenails trimmed regularly as over long toenails are prone to getting caught and fungus can build up under the nail, infecting the nail itself. Use toenail clippers to keep them short and file rough edges. After trimming, dab nails with a natural anti-fungal, to help keep them healthy and clean. Most people have a bit of hard skin, especially around the heels and big toes. This is normal but if its painful it should be looked at. Your feet shouldn’t hurt.
INVEST IN ANTI-FUNGALS
If toenails are yellowed, discoloured or thickened this may be a sign they have become infected with a slow-growing fungus(Onychomycosis).
We recommend paint-on applications combined with gentle and pain-free thinning. This involves clipping and burring – of the infected toenail by a podiatrist to clear infections.
You could also use an emery board or metal file if you want to try it at home. Expect to treat the nails for two to four months and you will see the new nail growing through fungus-free.
If you are prone to dry, scaly skin and a daily regime of applying cream to your feet is not helping, then you may have a fungal infection on the soles of your feet causing the dryness, commonly known as athlete’s foot if it gets in between toes. Use an effective anti-fungal cream or gel but don’t put powder between your toes as this can clog and create moisture build-up.
Keeping feet clean throughout the summer months is central to good foot care.
In the summer when feet often get dirty, wash them more frequently. Dislodging dirt and grime and then applying a good moisturising foot cream – there are lots of options – This is a great way of making feet feel good while helping to prevent the build-up of hard skin and infections.
Hard skin forms due to overloading and pressure areas. Also known as calluses, they can be painful and need expert gentle ‘paring’ away.
Keeping the heel area scrubbed and moisturised is a great and easy way to keep potentially painful heel cracks at bay. If you do develop heel fissures, get them treated professionally as deep cracks can become infected and be very painful.
It is estimated that the sweat glands on feet can produce up to a half pint of fluid a day in hot conditions.
For hot, tired feet that have the potential to spoil a lovely summer’s day outing, remember to wear a shoe a half size bigger than normal as feet swell during the hotter months and need the extra space.
Choose shoes and sandals with insoles that absorb perspiration as sweaty feet can slip and slide within shoes which is a recipe for painful blisters. If you do get a blister then never de-roof it. Keeping some blister pads in your purse or wallet is a great idea as blisters can strike even the best prepared feet and make walking miserable.
BE SHOE ‘WISE’
Aches and strains in the feet can be more common in the summer as you may go for longer than expected walks in unsupported shoes such as flip-flops.
Be savvy about your shoe choice and if you need an arch support – you’ll know as the soles of your feet, toes, or shins will ache after walking for any length of time – get advice from your podiatrist to choose the best for your foot type as there are many styles available.
If your feet become so hot as to be uncomfortable, put them under a cold water tap to cool down.
Steeping feet in a bowl of ice cold water for about 10 minutes is a great way to cool down inflammation of the deep muscles and prevent swelling and serious discomfort.