The Dos and Don’ts of Foot and Nail Care
Keeping your feet and toenails healthy is essential to feeling good, staying active, and improving your overall well-being. After all, how can you enjoy life and go places if your feet hurt and suffer from different conditions due to neglect? If your idea of foot and nail care is going to an expensive spa or nail salon, you might have to reconsider things. While foot pampering by professionals surely helps, you can also make your feet and toenails pretty and healthy even at home. Remember, however, that caring for your feet and toenails is not just something you do once in a while. Your feet deserve tender loving care all the time.
If you are just starting with your foot and nail care routine, you’re in luck because we’ve made a quick list of some of the dos and don’ts of foot and nail care to serve as your guide. By keeping these pointers in mind, your feet and toenails will stay healthy and ready to walk another mile.
Do Wash Your Feet Thoroughly
Give your feet a good wash every time you take a bath and before going to bed. Clean them with warm soap and water, and pay extra attention to the underside and between your toes. You may want to use a loofah or washcloth to scrub dead skin cells away. Also try using a nail brush to remove trapped dirt under your toenails. After washing, pat your feet dry using a clean towel. Don’t forget to dry between the toes to prevent fungal growth. Lastly, be sure to apply an oil-based cream or moisturizer to keep your feet soft and smooth.
Do Wear Socks as Much as Possible
Whenever possible, wear a clean pair of socks to protect your precious feet and prevent them from developing blisters, calluses, and sores. Putting on socks can also help absorb sweat and keep your feet dry and comfy, especially if you have to be on your feet or you have to perform strenuous activities for a long time. For utmost protection, you may want to shop antimicrobial socks for women and men as they inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria. This helps keep your feet clean and fresh-smelling all day.
Do Wear Comfy Shoes
Wearing ill-fitting shoes can cause multiple foot and nail issues, such as ingrown nails, calluses, hammertoes, and other deformities. As such, be cautious when shopping for shoes and never sacrifice comfort for style. Opt to wear pairs that cushion and support your feet well. They should also fit comfortably and have plenty of room for your toes. You may also want to wear shoes with lower and chunkier heels to reduce pressure from your feet.
Do Trim Your Toenails Properly
An integral part of nail care is trimming nails properly to keep them clean and prevent painful ingrown toenails. To do this, make sure that you cut the toenails straight across instead of rounding the edges or making them too pointed. Moreover, avoid cutting your nails too short. You may want to leave them long enough such that the skin on the side can’t cover the corners of the toenails. More importantly, don’t trim or push your cuticles back to prevent infection.
Don’t Forget to Rest Your Toenails from Nail Polish
Although painting your nails can make them look attractive, your toes tend to absorb a significant amount of chemicals from the nail polish. This is why your nails can look dry, stained, and chalky once you take the polish off. That said, you may want to give them a break from nail polish application every once in a while to keep them healthy. Let your toenails breathe and recover for a week or two. During this nail polish break, keep your nails moisturized by applying petroleum jelly or lotion after taking a bath and before bedtime.
Don’t Share Footwear
Did you know that you can get fungal infections by wearing shoes, socks, and other footwear of an infected person? Fungal infections are highly contagious. This is why a critical part of foot care is wearing your own footgear at all times. You should also resist the urge to share your shoes with others, even those who are closest to you. Ultimately, it is always better to be safe than sorry, so use only footwear that belongs to you.
Don’t Go Barefoot in Public Areas
Going barefoot inside your home or out on your well-kept deck may be harmless, but it is another story when you do so in public spaces. When you walk on sidewalks, concrete parking lots, and similar places, you can burn or injure the soles of your feet due to the heat from the sun or because of the rough texture of these surfaces. You can also expose your feet to disease-causing bacteria and fungi when you go barefoot in shower rooms, public pools, and restrooms. Keep in mind that these microbes thrive in such dark, damp, or wet areas, which is why if you want to keep your feet healthy , you must always wear the appropriate footwear in communal spaces.
Don’t Hesitate to Seek Professional Help When You Experience Foot and Nail Issues
One integral part of a good foot and nail care routine that is often ignored is seeking medical attention when needed. Instead of self-medicating or experimenting with different remedies, it is best to see a doctor when you experience persistent foot and nail issues. If you’re experiencing foot pain that doesn’t go away even after resting or you notice toenail hardening or discoloration without an apparent cause, go to the doctor immediately. You can prevent minor conditions from becoming worse if you seek medical help at the soonest possible time.
The pointers mentioned above are just some of the things you should remember to keep your feet and toenails healthy and problem-free. You can also explore other strategies that suit your lifestyle and address your needs. At the end of the day, foot and nail care is not that complicated. All you have to do is pay extra attention to the needs of your hard-working feet and practice good care habits consistently.