Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Getting Your Feet Healthy For the Summer

Here comes the warmer weather, causing many to kick off our shoes and socks and opt for flip flops or sandals. Perhaps though you have been ignoring your feet for the last several months and now need to get them in shape for flip flop and sandal weather. Here are some tips to get these feet fit for summer.

First, start with an at home pedicure. Soak your feet in a lukewarm water to soften the skin and nails. Remember, if you are diabetic, have someone else check the temperature of the water. Remove any dirt out from under your nails. Then cut your nails straight across to reduce the chance of creating ingrown toenails. Do not cut your cuticles. They help keep germs away from your skin and nails.
Next, examine the parts of your feet that experience the most friction (such as your heels, the sides of your feet and big toe) as they will feel the most callused. The easiest way to soften these rough patches is by first soaking your feet in warm water and exfoliating skin that is extra dry. After you towel your feet dry, use a pumice stone on the callused areas. If your feet are extra-callused, you may have to repeat this process for a few days to notice results. After you’re done, it is important to apply a lotion over the dry patches of your feet to allow your skin to re-absorb moisture. Watch out for over the counter corn/callus removers. These are medicated with salicylic acid which can eat away both good skin and callus which can cause open sores and ulcerations if used inappropriately. These should never be used on diabetics.

If you have noticed some thickening or color changes to your nails over the winter, you may have the start of a toenail fungal infection.  There are now topical anti-fungal medications that can be used as a base coat before using regular nail polish is applied, to help prevent and treat toenail fungus. Get it checked out by your local podiatrist.

With these simple tips you can whip your feet into shape for whatever the summer may bring.

Dr. "Sandie" Grulke

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