Your feet are probably the last part of your body you think about — until they start hurting. They’re too important to overlook, though: With some 26 bones and a complex framework of muscles, tendons and ligaments, our feet absorb the impact of your full body weight with every step, keeping you balanced and upright in the process. Problems such as odour, cracked skin, fallen arches, corns, ingrown toenails, fungal infections and even damaged bones can cause discomfort and reduced mobility. While some of these problems are congenital, you can avoid many of them with a little TLC. Healthy foot care extends beyond appearances or a fresh coat of nail polish, and taking care of your feet should be a year-round effort. The health of your feet can be an indicator of your general health, so a good foot care routine should be a part of your overall plan for health and wellness. Here are some foot care tips for happy, healthy and sexy feet.
Wear Shoes that Fit
If your shoes hurt your feet, they are probably not good for you. Shoes that are too tight can distort the shape of your toes, cause painful foot growths or blisters, and worsen existing foot problems. Also, don’t wear the same shoes every day. Skipping a day in your favourite shoes will give them more time to air out, which will help prevent foot odour and infections. If you wear high heels, opt for heels that are two inches or lower with a wide, stable heel base and a wide toe box that doesn’t crowd your toes. Also, avoid wearing unsupportive flat shoes for long periods of time, like flip-flops, ballet flats and other styles that don’t offer arch or ankle support.
Let Your Feet Breathe
It’s a good habit to take your shoes off after you get home, so that you can let your feet breathe. Otherwise, the sweat and dirt that build up in your shoes during the day — yes, your feet sweat, even if you always wear cotton socks — will continue to wear on your feet after hours. In the winter, you can also put on a fresh pair of cotton socks or slippers, especially, if you wash and lotion your feet beforehand, as the socks help lock in moisture. If you allow dirt and sweat to stay on your feet longer than necessary, you’re creating a breeding ground for athlete’s foot and other diseases.
Soak Your Feet Often
From time to time everyone’s feet will have rough or dry skin. To keep them soft and clean,be sure to soak your feet regularly. There is a number of fancy foot baths out there, but you really just need a bucket of warm water for a good soak. At the end of this article there are some great diy recipes for a foot soak.
After you’ve soaked your feet for a while, be sure to give them a good scrub to smooth rough or dry areas. You can use a foot or facial scrub if you’d like or you can take your feet out of the water and use a pumice stone to massage the rough areas. Remember: a pumice stone is more effective when your feet are still damp and you should always go with the grain of your feet.
Remove Your Polish
Over time, nail polish can wear down your nails. Before reapplying new polish, be sure to remove all of the old layers. If you can, let your toenails go polish-free for few hours and then, apply a polish that helps strengthen your nails.
Trim Your Nails to a Suitable Length
Trim your toenails regularly with a pair of trimmers that follow the natural curve of your nails, and if you paint your toenails, keep an eye on the ingredients in your nail polish. Ingredients in some nail polish and removers can dry out nails and make them brittle. Avoid ingredients like formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and choose a nail polish remover that doesn’t contain alcohol.4
Don’t Go Barefoot in Public Places
It might be tempting to forgo shoes in some public areas, like swimming pools or gym locker rooms and showers, but going barefoot in public spaces can increase your chances of getting fungal infections. Use caution at salons and spas as well. The foot baths and tools at your nail salon need to be cleaned frequently with anti-fungal agents to prevent the spread of certain diseases3, so be sure to choose a salon with good cleaning habits.
If you want your feet to feel baby soft, you need to invest in a good foot cream or use natural oils. In general, your feet need a thicker cream than the rest of your body, as the skin on your feet is also thicker. Especially in winter months, will help prevent the skin on your feet from getting dry and cracked. Over time, dry skin can build up on your feet, particularly on your heels, which looks unsightly and can crack, leading to some serious health concerns. Cracked skin leaves your feet more vulnerable to certain infections.
Choose a rich moisturising cream like the Epizone Plus hydrating cream and the Epizone Heel Balm to lock in moisture to keep your feet at their smoothest. Coconut oil foot massage is another simple way to soothe and hydrate tired feet.
Here are some soothing home remedies, diy foot scrubs and soaks that you can indulge in:
Brown sugar + Olive oil
This homemade foot scrub is so easy that you can use it just before a shower. Mix together a tablespoon of each olive oil, brown sugar and also baking soda. You may use it on your feet, knees and elbow too. Brown sugar exfoliates, olive oil nourishes your skin, while baking soda removes dirt and whitens skin, making it the perfect foot scrub recipe for all types of skin.
Lavender + Salt Scrub
Owing to its relaxing scent, this scrub will also serve as a soothing aromatherapy on a side note. To make this scrub, you need to mix together two tablespoons of lavender buds, one cup of Epsom salt, and half a teaspoon of lavender oil and half a cup of grapeseed oil. Once the ingredients are mixed well, massage it gently on your damp feet and leave it on for about 10 minutes before you it rinse off. Moisturize your feet as usual afterwards.
Salt + Baking soda
You can use this remedy as both scrub and soak. For the soak, add equal parts of baking soda and salt into a basin of warm water. You may also add some rose water for scent and moisture. To make the scrub, take a handful of salt and add three tablespoons of baking soda. Add in some olive oil until a paste-like texture is formed. Later scrub this all over your feet.
Listerine + Warm water
This is the best foot soak hands down! It is also a great remedy for heel fissures. My mom, who has severe heel cracks, has been keeping up with this soak, and it does wonders to her feet. All you need is a basin filled up halfway through with warm water. Into the basin goes three caps full of Listerine. Soak your feet in this solution for not more than 25 minutes. It removes dirt and dead cells from your skin, thus giving it a renewed look.
Lemon juice + Powdered tea
It is an antioxidant citrus foot soak combo that nourishes the skin and promotes good blood circulation beneath your toe nails. All that you have to do is prepare a basin of warm water and squeeze out the juice of half a lemon. Then add half a cup of powdered tea and soak your feet in this solution for 20-25 minutes. You can also place some slices of lemon or orange in the soak.