Have your feet been battered by boots this winter? Before digging your sandals out of the closet, Foot.com recommends preparing your feet for the warmer weather.
"If you want your feet to look and feel good in summer sandals and strappy shoes, it's important to pay attention to foot and toenail care now," says Dr. Suzanne Belyea, medical director of Foot.com, the "Foot Health Network", a website providing comprehensive information on foot health and care.
Dr. Belyea offers the following tips for sandal lovers everywhere, a concise but useful list of foot tune-up tips for Spring and Summer:
Avoid toenail trauma - Avoid toenail trauma caused by sports injuries, wearing shoes that are too small, or even dropping things on your feet. Once toenails are damaged, fungus can enter, causing nails to turn thick and yellow. If an infection occurs, the toe can become red, hot and swollen, and pus might appear. See a podiatrist if this occurs.
Trim toenails straight across - This offers an attractive look, and prevents toenail edges from becoming ingrown and causing infection.
Apply lotion - Apply lotion to your feet regularly to avoid dry skin. When you wear sandals you are more prone to getting heel fissures (cracks in the skin). Avoid applying lotion between the toes, because it allows for a moist environment that invites fungus.
Use a pumice stone - Use a pumice stone along with lotion regularly to prevent corns and calluses from building up.
Wear the right shoes - Wear properly fitting shoes to reduce the chance of blisters, corns, calluses and many other foot disorders that are caused by poor-fitting shoes. If corns or calluses are extreme just before summer, visit a podiatrist to have your nails cut and the corns and calluses removed.
Prepare for a different feel - Prepare for a different feel when you sport sandals for the first time. Sometimes wearing a closed shoe, especially if it is poor-fitting or too small for the foot, weakens foot muscles because the shoe is carrying the foot. Putting on sandals requires more use of these muscles and strengthens them. If muscle weakness is a problem, consider purchasing sandals specifically designed to build the muscles in your feet.
Check for healthy feet signs - Feel free to cut off toe hair if you find it unsightly. The good news is that hair on the toes is actually a sign of healthy feet and good circulation.
Run The Planet thanks Foot.com (foot.com) - the "Foot Health Network" dedicated to educating the public about foot health, pain and products - for the permission to reprint the article "Foot Tune-Up Tips for Spring and Summer". Text copyright © 2001 by Foot.com. Illustration copyright © 2002 by Run The Planet.