Inspect your feet
You should be looking at your feet every day. Any signs of discolouration (yellow, white or brown) black coloured lines or abnormal thickening should not be ignored. Any changes in your foot’s appearance may be a sign of a developing problem, such as a potential fungus or athlete’s foot (peeling or dry and flaky skin on the soles of the foot). Also check for lumps or bumps anywhere on the foot, but especially in the arch or on the top of the foot. If you find anything, you need to see a doctor for a check-up. Fungal infection may also be a sign of possible immune dysfunction which can occur as we get older (over 50) and is quite common. It does not necessarily mean an indicator of poor hygiene.
Wash your feet
You wash the rest of your body but it’s easy to forget your feet. Wash them whenever you have a shower/bath, completely ensuring that you don’t forget the bottom sole and between your toes. After washing, make sure you completely dry your feet and in between the toes, which will help prevent the growth of foot fungus.
Trim your toenails correctly
Trimming the toenails need to be done correctly to avoid potential ingrown toenail problems. Using a nail clipper the nails need to be cut straight and not rounded or cut into the sides of the nail. Also be careful not to trim it too short as it can damage the nail, possibly lifting it and separating it from the toe bed, which can potentially result in fungal nail infections. You should also get professional advice on how to cut your nails if you are diabetic or have poor circulation.
Alternate shoes and make sure they fit properly
Ideally if you change shoes from day to day, it will give your feet a break from one type of ‘fit’, reduce the chance of a fungal infection and gives your shoes a chance to air out. Similarly to get the best fit shoes for your feet, buy them in the afternoon as your feet are slightly larger and will offer the best fit at all times.
Wear the right shoe for the right activity and avoid wearing old worn out shoes
This almost goes without saying and should fall into common sense, however many people don’t wear shoes right for that activity. Wear proper and correctly fitting running shoes for running, walking shoes for walking etc. Wearing incorrect footwear for instance during running, can create problems for your feet and increase your chance of injuries like plantar fasciitis and tendonitis. Similarly old shoes that are worn out can allow for potential skin and nail conditions such as fungus and blisters as well as the injuries above.
Try to minimise walking barefoot
More than just to keep a layer between your feet and the ground, footwear prevents puncture wounds as well as picking up fungus, warts, virus’ and infections from other people and the environment. It also reduces the chance of ankle sprains and other injuries that are much more likely when walking barefoot.
Use caution when seeking self-treatment
Unless you are 100% sure, have consulted with a pharmacist or another professional and know your symptom is a re-occurrence of an existing diagnosed condition, self-treatment can actually cause more problems than it potentially solves. The same goes for ‘home remedies’. This is especially important for corns, calluses and ingrown toe nails and for Diabetics who should never treat their feet themselves and should always have a professional consultation with a podiatrist.
Give your feet some R&R
Using your feet is great, same with exercise and walking. But if you are on your feet all day then give them periods of rest to recover from being used all day. Your feet do need a break from time to time.
Most importantly, never ignore foot pain
Your feet can get tired from time to time, but pain in your feet is never normal, no matter what your age is. If you have persistent pain in your foot then you need to see a Podiatrist.