TAKING CARE OF YOUR FEET
In the course of my work, I see lots of different feet: large, small, thin, fat, flat, hydrated, dry, etc.
For some people, it is not necessary to take special care, their feet are naturally healthy.
But for others, it could be very simple and would only require simple actions to clean them up a bit, preventing possible complications.
Why is it important to take good care of your feet?
This will help you in particular:
- maintain your ability to walk even if you become old, and to continue your physical and sporting activities if necessary
- reduce your risk of falling
- avoid thickening of the skin on the feet, which causes corns, calluses and calluses
- prevent infections (skin fungus, plantar warts, etc.), trauma and wounds, foot deformities (hallux valgus, etc.) and ingrown nails
- avoid complications in the event of diabetes or vascular disorders (arteritis of the lower limbs).
How to take care of your feet?
Clean your feet properly every day or more often if you are prone to excessive sweating. This would promote the appearance of plantar warts or skin fungus (athlete's foot).
For effective foot hygiene, apply the following tips:
- use water that is not too hot (37°C maximum)
- use a mild soap (such as Marseille soap) or a soap-free bar
- rinse thoroughly
- dry your feet properly. Take particular care to dry them well between the toes
If the skin on your feet is dry and cracked, use a moisturizer by gently massaging them. However, avoid spaces between the toes to avoid maceration which is a source of infection.
Furthermore, if you have corns and/or calluses, you can gently sand them with a pumice stone, a file and/or paper covered with an abrasive layer. This way, you will gradually eliminate the excess layer of skin.
Cut your toenails correctly
To avoid small injuries or the occurrence of an ingrown toenail, cut them according to the following steps:
- Sit in a sufficiently lit place, after washing, when your nails are softened by the bath or shower.
- Preferably use nail scissors disinfected with alcohol, or nail clippers.
- Cut your nails straight (and not in a semi-circle), their corner forming a 90° angle. Let them protrude a little beyond the edge of the toes (only 2 to 3 millimeters).
- Gently clean the underside of each nail, avoiding any sharp instruments (e.g. scissor tips) for this operation.
Then file each nail, so that its border and angles are smooth and not sharp.
Gently cut the cuticles around each nail, using a suitable nail cutter
Choose and wear suitable socks and shoes
To get the best fit, do fittings at the end of the afternoon, when your feet are a little swollen. So you can choose shoes that will give you all the space you need.
Opt for a comfortable pair, paying particular attention to the following aspects.
- A suitable size : When you are standing, there should be a space the width of an index finger between your longest toe and the toe of the shoe.
- Sufficiently wide shoes : Shoes that are too tight prevent air circulation and promote friction and pressure. Also, choose a pair that is wide enough, leaving space on the side and above the toes. This point is essential if your feet are deformed, or if you have already had corns or calluses.
- Good foot support : heel support thanks to shoes closed at the back and reinforced by buttresses or closed by a support strap. Lateral support of the ankle thanks to high shoes which reduce the risk of abnormal movement of this joint.
- Shoes with good adjustable fixation : to adapt the closure of your shoes to the volume of your feet, which can change over the course of the same day, choose laces or another adjustable fastening system. Mules and shoes without support promote imbalance and falls.
- Plastic and other synthetic materials are not recommended : prefer shoes made of soft, lightweight, seamless leather: it provides better support and prevents friction and excessive perspiration.
- Adapted soles and heels: the soles must be thick enough and non-slip, to properly support the arch of the foot and prevent falls due to slipping. They must, however, allow movements of the forefoot. Heels that are too high cause the foot to move towards the end of the shoe. This phenomenon compresses the toes, deforming them, favoring the occurrence of hallux valgus and can lead to heel pain. Also, choose shoes with low heels or moderate height (3 to 4 cm) with a wide seat to ensure good stability.
On a daily basis, some habits to adopt
- To keep your feet dry, wear stockings or socks that you change every day. To limit perspiration, opt for natural fibers (cotton, for example). In addition, if your feet are fragile, it is better to wear seamless stockings or socks, which limit the risk of skin irritation.
- Take off your shoes as much as possible during the day to air out your feet. If you sweat a lot, change your pair from one day to the next: this gives the moisture time to escape.
- Regularly inspect the inside of your shoes with your hand, looking for any anomalies that could hurt you (broken seams, torn leather, presence of a small stone, etc.)
- Wear beach sandals in damp public places (swimming pools, hammams, gym showers, etc.). Indeed, these places are conducive to the occurrence of plantar warts and the transmission of fungi responsible for skin mycoses.
Sources: https://www.ameli.fr/assure/sante/bons-gestes/quotidien/prendre-soin-pieds (Ameli.fr is the official and gouvernmental equivalent of nhs.com in France)
If you are suffering with diabetes or arteritis of the feet, respect the special precautions from your health specialist.
If you are elderly or is you have any concerns, show your feet to a chiropodist or your doctor at least once a year!!
MORE INFORMATION ON