This is our guide to foot care, with tips on looking after your feet from the College of Podiatry. This will help keep your feet in good condition and help prevent problems. A podiatrist can help if you have a foot care problem such as unexplained foot pain. It’s very important to have your feet checked regularly by a GP, nurse or podiatrist if you have a health condition that affects your feet, such as diabetes, poor circulation or a low immune system. With thanks to the college of Podiatry for the following foot care advice.
Wash your feet often
Washing your feet often and keeping them clean by washing them in warm soapy water, but don’t soak them, as this might destroy your skin’s natural oils.
Dry your feet well
Always dry your feet thoroughly after washing them, especially between the toes, which is where fungal infections like athlete’s foot can develop.
Moisturise and file
If the skin around your foot is dry, apply moisturising cream or specific foot care cream all over the foot, except for between the toes. Gently remove hard skin and calluses with a pumice stone or foot file. Don’t overdo it or you could damage fresh skin underneath. If problems persist we recommend seeking professional advice from a podiatrist.
Cut toenails carefully
Another important foot care tip is to trim your toenails carefully and regularly using proper nail clippers. Cut straight across, never at an angle or down the edges as this can cause ingrown toenails.
Shoe shop in the afternoon
Shop for shoes in the afternoon for a more comfortable fit. As the day goes on your feet swell so if shoes fit in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest, you can be assured they’ll always be comfortable. Take a look at our shoe fitting guide for more information on properly fitting shoes.
Foot Care Footwear tips for work
Depending on the type of work you do, you may need to wear specialist footwear, such as shoes with hard reinforced toecaps or anti-slip soles if you work in a workshop or construction environment for example. The working foot has a lot of demands made on it, and in a normal working day can easily travel fifteen miles. Just standing still can also put a lot of strain on feet, so we need to take proper care of them, to help prevent injury and keep them working. Cold working areas such as frozen food stores or working in wet conditions, can bring additional problems like chilblains or athlete’s foot. Wearing the right shoe for the job can help prevent accidents and protect your feet and toes from injury. If you are on your feet a lot, you should wear well-fitting, comfortable walking shoes, with thick but flexible soles. Shoes should have a lace-up fastening that holds the heel in place and prevents the toes from sliding into the toe box of the shoe. There should be enough room at the top to allow the toes to move freely. Leather ‘uppers’ and man-made soles are a good combination. The shoe lining should be wrinkle-free and without rough or obtrusive stitching.
Limit time wearing high heels
If you wear high heels at work, wear comfortable shoes on your way to work and change into your heels when you get there. Only wear high heels and pointed shoes for special occasions if you can. If you do wear heels, try to vary your heel height. Wearing a heel that’s higher than a couple of inches (about 5cm) on a regular basis can damage your feet.
Wear the right shoes
Always wear the right shoes for the job, whether you are a professional athlete or play sport just for fun, the demands made on your feet and lower limbs can lead to a whole range of injuries, including blisters, sprained ankles, torn ligaments, shin splints (leg pain), knee pain, low back pain and other joint or muscle problems. Added to these foot care problems are complaints such as corns, callus and athlete’s foot. Asking too much too soon of your joints and muscles can lead to injuries.
Change socks daily to avoid foot odour
As well as changing your socks regularly, wear socks made of cotton, wool or bamboo. These allow your feet to breathe and help keep them at the right temperature. There are also specialist socks available for different sporting and other activities.
Wear socks that fit
Make sure your socks fit properly, paying particular attention to the width for your foot and ankle. If you have swollen feet, look for socks designed to accommodate your swelling. Elastic-free socks are available to help prevent them cutting into your leg. If you have difficulty feeling your feet properly (neuropathy), make sure there are no knobbly seams inside your socks that may rub and damage your skin. Turning your socks inside out can help prevent rubbing.
Protect your feet in communal areas
Wear flip-flops or pool shoes to avoid getting athlete’s foot, verrucas and other fungal infections when using public areas such as gym showers or swimming pools.
Take care with flip-flops
Try to avoid wearing flip-flops all the time. They don’t support your feet and can give you arch and heel pain if you wear them too much.