When it comes to preventing foot problems, nothing is quite as important as hygiene and grooming. Good foot hygiene and proper grooming of the toenails can help you avoid everything from athlete’s foot to ingrown toenails. If you have foot problems, simply bathing them is not enough, as you could need to use additional foot products to keep them in tip top condition.
We recommend soaking your feet at least once per week in lukewarm water that has a bit of Epsom salt or baking soda added. This will help eliminate bacteria that causes foot odors. After soaking, dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes. Use foot lotion on the heel and ball of your foot to prevent dryness and cracking, and sprinkle foot powder between your toes to help eliminate wetness that could cause athlete’s foot. When trimming your toenails, cut them straight across, leaving them no shorter than the tips of your toes to prevent an ingrown toenail.
You should also change your socks at least once per day, or more often if you are physically active. Never wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row, but instead alternate pairs to allow your shoes plenty of time to air out before putting them on again. Follow these tips, and you can avoid many of the common foot problems we see here at White Sands Podiatry.
Even if you care for your feet properly, you could still experience problems if you do not have the right footwear. Below are some things to keep in mind that will help you choose the right pair of shoes:
- High heels are a leading cause of foot problems, and should be avoided whenever possible. Women who must wear high heels should do so sparingly, and limit the height of the heel whenever possible.
- Shoes that are pointed on the end can also be problematic, as they can lead to conditions such as ingrown toenails or hammertoe. Avoid wearing pointed shoes, especially if you have very wide feet.
- If you’re an athlete, we recommend having a gait analysis performed so that you can choose shoes with the right amount of support based on how you turn your feet while running.
- Have your feet measured each time you purchase a new pair of shoes. Your feet can change in size or shape over time, in which case the size you purchased last time may no longer fit well. For best results, measure both feet, as one may be slightly bigger than the other one is.
Another way to ensure you have the right footwear is to visit White Sands Podiatry. Whether you are choosing custom footwear or simply want to know what to look for in regular footwear, we can provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.
Here at White Sands Podiatry, one of the things we stress to our patients in Destin, Fort Walton Beach and the surrounding areas is the importance of preventative foot care. Below are a few preventative measures we recommend for all our patients:
- Wash feet with warm soapy water at least once per day, taking care to scrub all sections of them, especially between the toes.
- Wear shoes that fit properly and provide you with an adequate amount of protection for the activity you are performing.
- Use a medicated foot powder daily to reduce odor, eliminate friction and absorb perspiration that could lead to athlete’s foot.
- Inspect your feet often for corns and calluses so you can take steps to eliminate them as soon as they are noticed.
- Always wear shoes while in public to avoid contracting plantar warts, as they are caused by a virus that tends to linger on hard surfaces. On the other hand, it’s a good idea to go barefoot a few hours while at home, as this allows air reach your feet, which could prevent athlete’s feet from forming.
- Massage your feet gently once a day to help increase circulation. This will help you avoid having chronically cold feet, and will also make it easier for wounds to heal.
These preventative measures are simple enough for anyone to follow, yet can make a tremendous difference in the health of your feet. By following these tips, you can prevent many common foot problems, and continue doing the things you enjoy without experiencing discomfort.
Diabetics are prone to developing foot problems due to peripheral neuropathy, which affects the nerve endings in the feet. As such, diabetics may not notice cuts, scrapes or ulcers forming on their feet until after they have become infected. Diabetic foot care is very important if you are to avoid serious problems that could lead to amputation.
We recommend diabetic patients visit the White Sands Podiatry clinic nearest them at least annually for a complete examination. During this examination, we will check the amount of sensation you have in your feet to determine your risk of developing problems. Dr. Hodson will also check joint mobility, gait and balance , and inspect your footwear to make sure it is providing you with adequate support. In some cases, we may also recommend custom footwear.
In between visits, you should be diligent about the care of your feet. Inspect them on a daily basis for sores or blisters, and cover any you do find with the appropriate bandage. Contact us immediately if your sores do not heal after two weeks, or sooner if they become infected.
If you have recurring blisters, it could indicate there is too much pressure on your feet due to peripheral neuropathy. This indicates your footwear is worn and no longer provides you with the right amount of support, meaning it is time for a replacement. If you need advice on picking out the right shoes, contact us so that we can help guide you in your decision.