Foot problems are no fun, and that's an understatement. A painful foot can make your whole body uncomfortable. Issues with your feet can affect your ability to work, walk or make it through your daily life without wincing every other minute.
Not only are foot problems a pain, but they're also completely common. Roughly 75% of Americans have problems with their feet at some time. Given the strain these issues can put on you and the prevalence of this type of medical problem, protecting your feet is absolutely essential. What can you do to keep your feet healthy and shield them from potential problems?
Keep Clean and Dry
Fungus breeds in warm, moist places. If your feet are wet and stay that way, you're leaving yourself open to a fungal infection. Even though cleaning and drying your feet regularly isn't a 100% guarantee that you can avoid all foot-related fungus, it seriously cuts the risk.
Making sure that your feet are clean and dry is even more important if you have diabetes or are immune-compromised. A foot fungus can turn into something major, such as cellulitis, in people with diabetes and certain diseases or conditions that put their immune system into jeopardy.
Protect Your Feet in Public
Walking through the shower room at your gym without shoes on may feel comfortable, but it can put your feet at risk. Communal shower, steam and swimming spaces provide the perfect wet, warm environment for bacteria and fungi to grow, and you run the risk of picking up something from someone else's bare feet. Shower shoes or flip flops can keep your feet safer, providing a barrier between your skin and the possibly fungus-covered floor.
Choose Practical Footwear
Some materials lock in moisture and may make your feet sweaty. This can lead to fungal infections and other problems. Avoid footwear that doesn't breathe, and make sure to pick socks or hosiery that is made from breathable cotton.
Shoes that bind or rub against your feet can also cause problems. Poorly fitting shoes can cause the skin to break down, which can result in pain, callouses and even an infection.
Yes, you should keep your feet dry. But there's a major difference between clean feet that are free from excess sweat or water and feet that are rough, scaly and dried out. Choose a perfume-free and dye-free moisturizer that will keep your feet smooth without making them feel sticky. Massage the moisturizing lotion into clean feet and wait for it to fully absorb before putting your socks or hosiery on.
Flip-flops are fine when you need shower shoes to wear in the public pool's changing room. But they shouldn't be your pick for constant, everyday wear. Shoes that don’t give enough support can make your feet hurt and lead to more serious issues.
Choose shoes that have an adequate amount of arch support. If you have foot ulcers, pain or another problem, a podiatrist can recommend or prescribe a custom orthotic. A shoe insert can add the support that you need and provide cushioning to keep your feet feeling fine.
Avoid Pedicure Problems
It may feel nice to have a professional pedicure, and you may like the look that expertly applied polish gives. But you need to be cautious when it comes to who works on your feet. Make sure that the salon adheres to sanitation protocols. If you notice dirty foot baths, tubs or tools, skip the salon and find someone else to take care of your toes.
Sometimes problems with your feet are unavoidable. If you're having pain, itching or some other issue, contact Greenville Podiatry Associates PA at 864-234-7370 for an appointment.