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Looking After Your Feet | Our Expert Guide for National Feet Week
Our feet are at the heart and sole of everything we do. From the moment we step out of bed, to the second we fall asleep. We depend on our feet to help us get around, and we wouldn’t get far without them! Just like the rest of our body, our feet deserve to be cared for. In fact, a quarter of the body’s bones are found in our feet. This makes them pretty unique! They’re arguably one of the most spectacular parts of the human body (although we might be a little bias), which is why our foot health is SO important. Looking after your feet is essential for your overall health and wellbeing.
Each foot contains 33 joints, 250,000 sweat glands, and countless nerves and blood vessels that link to the heart, spine, and brain. That’s impressive! Our Head of Podiatry, Ruby Kallah, has given us her expert tips on looking after your feet – helping you keep them in tip top-to-toe condition!
Check Your Feet
As we approach the new season, it’s worth taking a long, hard look at your feet, especially if you have been in slippers most of the time due to lockdown.
If you see yellow, thickened, discoloured nails, hard skin, cracked heels or corns that are painful you need to see a podiatrist. Ingrown toenails need professional attention too. Book an appointment with one of our expert podiatrists as soon as possible to get your summer feet ready and comfortable.
A podiatrist will cut and file your nails, if you have any problematic nails, this will also be dealt with. Hard skin, corns, callouses cracked heels will be treated, sound footcare and footwear advice will be provided, and foot cream applied to leave you feeling like you are “walking on air!”
Regular moisturising is key to looking after your feet and keeping them free from hard skin. Ruby suggests that this is best done before bed, to avoid any slipping (plus the colour from your socks coming off on your skin).
After washing your feet, apply a specifically designed foot cream which contains urea, and massage it into the soles of your feet.
When looking after your feet by applying moisturiser, avoid applying cream in between the toes as this create an environment for fungal infections to occur.
For cracked heels, a cracked heel cream would be best as this will contain a higher percentage of urea. Urea helps soothe the skin and provides relief from dry fissures commonly found on the feet.
Give your feet a gentle scrub with a pumice stone at least once a week to remove any dead skin and leave them feeling smooth and refreshed.
One of the keys to looking after your feet is wearing the right footwear. Poor choice of footwear can lead to all sorts of foot problems. From pain to hammertoe and corns, what shoes you put on your feet has a bigger impact on your foot health than you may realise. Avoid wearing flip-flops all the time. They don't support your feet and can give you arch and heel pain if you wear them too much.
For the majority of your time in shoes, opt for ones that are comfortable, supportive and well-fitted.
Ruby recommends our Joya shoes, as these are especially designed to offer excellent support and promote healthy walking.
Many of our shoes are also approved by The Healthy Footwear Guide. These provide a comfortable fit that ensures your feet are well supported.
You should replace your slippers regularly as they become worn and loose over time. When replacing your slippers, try to avoid slippers:
- without straps, laces or backs
- with high or narrow heels
- Slippers should only be worn for short periods and shouldn't be worn all day as regular footwear as this can result in painful feet.
When it comes to looking after your feet, wearing socks is not only important to protect you from the cold but also to protect your feet against environmental damage. Socks shield the feet against dust and dirt which might stick to the cream applied on to the feet. Change your socks daily to keep your feet fresh.
When dressing, make sure your socks aren't too tight, or pulled up too high that they cut into the skin or restrict the circulation. You should also avoid walking on slippery surfaces – such as polished floors or tiles in socks or tights.
It is essential that diabetics are looking after their feet. Diabetics have an increased risk of ulcers and damage to their feet, so regular diabetic podiatry is important to overall health and wellbeing. Simple foot problems can escalate very quickly into more serious issues, so it is vital to get any problems checked out immediately.
People with diabetes need to take extra care of their feet and should have them checked by a HCPC registered Podiatrist/Chiropodist every 6 to 12 months because of the potential risks.
A 30-minute Diabetic Assessment to assess vascular status, neurological status, autonomic screening, structural examination, footwear, and care plan advice will be given during this appointment. This information will enable the podiatrist to assess your risk status and your GP will be informed of the results.
If you wear insoles that have not been checked for a while, speak to a podiatrist to ensure they are still right for you. At Shuropody we have a range of insoles (orthotics) that can benefit many foot problems. Plantar fasciitis is a very common foot complain. This is where you experience pain on the bottom of your foot, around your heel and arch area. The pain is much worse when you start walking, after sleeping, or resting but can ease throughout the day. All Shuropody stores offer a free foot assessment. Please visit your nearest one for treatment and advice.
Find more about our FootBalance custom insoles HERE.
Corns & Callus
If you’re not looking after your feet properly, corns can develop. This is where there are accumulated layers of hard skin caused by pressure. This is often from shoes or slippers which are too tight, or due to a biomechanical issue. If you do have corns and callus, then a podiatrist will be able to treat the corns/callus and advise you on prevention.
NEVER use medicated corn plasters or paste as these contain acids which break the skin down and can lead to infection. DO NOT use razor blades or sharp instruments as they are not sterile and use of these may also lead to infection. The temptation to pick at corns and callus can cause more pain to the area.
If you’re unsure if your feet need professional care, always consult a qualified and trusted FOOT SPECIALIST. They can help to diagnose any foot problems you may have and help you get your feet on the road to recovery.
Your feet should never be neglected! Make sure you keep a check on them. If you have any concerns about your feet, please get in touch and we would be happy to help.