The essentials of foot care

Published On: May 3, 2019 09:10 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

Summer is here and with it it’s time to pull out your sundresses and bright t-shirts. And what better way to welcome summer than sandals and open toe shoes. But chances are that the colder months did no favor to our feet. Throughout winter, our feet have been stuffed in sneakers and boots and they may not be in the best state. Here’s a list of things you could do to reverse the harm that winter has done to your feet and flaunt them this summer.

Indulge in a foot soak
Seeing as how our feet take the brunt of our body’s weight, they really deserve all the attention and care. A relaxing and moisturizing foot soak is exactly what they deserve. Warm water will help relax muscles and loosen stiff joints but take it a little further. Add half a cup of Epsom salt (available in any science store in Thapathali, Kathmandu) to a tub of warm water and soak your feet for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add some lavender or chamomile oil to the tub of water as that will further help you relax. Mint and grapefruit can be used to energize you. Don’t soak your feet for too long as your skin may be stripped off its natural oil. 15 minutes is more than enough. After the soak, pat dry your feet thoroughly and apply some lotion. Keep off putting on socks for some time. 

Fighting nail fungus
Nail fungus is more common that it should be. They cause discoloration, thickening and crumbling of toenails. The fungus especially thrives in humid conditions and the winter months certainly did not help with that. Rub some Vicks VapoRub over your toenails. Do not put on socks, you don’t need to trap in the moisture. Vicks contains eucalyptus oil and menthol camphor, both of which have antifungal properties. Because of its acidic properties Apple Cider Vinegar is also another option. It helps prevent any fungal growth and kills bacteria. Applying coconut and tea tree oil right after a foot soak also helps. Avoid nail polish and artificial nails. To prevent fungal growth, avoid wet floors altogether – at pools and locker rooms wear some kind of rubber covering. You could just use a plastic bag too.

When you sweat
Sweating between the toes makes enjoying summer hard. Stress doesn’t help either. Sweating under the soles of the feet, palms, and underarms is quite common. In severe cases, the skin turns white and wrinkly with the excessive moisture. The skin between the toes starts peeling off as well. To tackle this, wash your feet with antibacterial soaps. Don’t miss the insides of the toes. Dry your feet properly. Then dust it with foot powder and cornstarch. You can also substitute foot powder with some cooling powder (like Nycil for example). Change your socks a few times a day. Wear wicking socks. Wicking socks are made of synthetic fibers and help with transferring the moisture of the feet to the sock’s outer layers, to ensure that the foot remains dry. Cotton socks soak in the moisture but cannot wick it away.

Choose the right footwear
Believe it or not, there will be times when open sandals feel more comfortable than sneakers. If you’re uncomfortable with the strap of your shoes, they will eventually cut into your skin. Shoes with extra air space in them will feel stifling. Get a comfortably fitting pair of shoes. But if your feet tend to swell take that into consideration as well. You may have to go a size up. Shoes with a good grip and thin soles are generally comfortable. If you have sweaty feet, get breathable shoes. The thing with footwear is that you have to alternate between the types of shoes you wear. Go sandals one day, go trainers on the other. Don’t stick to one shoe type and remember what’s uncomfortable will eventually turn out to be unbearable, especially with shoes.

Little things that matter
Just before bed moisturize your feet with lotions that contain seven to 10 percent of urea and paraffin. This will help you get rid of dead skin and keep your feet smooth and clean. What people often get wrong with moisturizing is the amount of cream they use. Use cream to the amount that the skin feels smooth but not slippery. Keep away from applying cream between the toes. Web spaces such as the ones between the toes have moist skin so there’s no point in adding more moisture to them.

When trimming your nails, cut them straight and cut just the tips. File the corners as sharp edged nails may later lead to ingrown toenails. When ridding your skin of the calluses, make sure you aren’t over doing it. Calluses develop over time to help support the skin with your weight and getting rid of them altogether will only cause irritation and pain when walking or just standing.

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