Everyone wants to have beautiful and soft feet, just like small babies. However, very few people have naturally pretty feet.
Your feet take the weight of your whole body and go through a lot of wear and tear, making them susceptible to injury, fatigue and infections.
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, neglecting your feet can lead to unnecessary pain and other foot problems. Hence, you must make an effort to keep your feet in tip-top shape and health.
Going to parlors for regular pedicures is great, but it’s not the only solution for healthy and beautiful feet. You need to be dedicated to following a full proper foot care regime.
There are many easy foot care tips and tricks that can enhance the natural beauty of your feet, provide pain relief, protect against bacterial and fungal infections as well as ensure optimal moisturization.
They will even reduce the risk of many of the foot problems that can quickly lead to discomfort and difficulty walking.
1. Wash Your Feet Regularly
Feet tend to get dirtier and sweatier than other parts of the body, so it’s important to wash them regularly.
Make it a habit to wash your feet twice daily, at the beginning and the end of the day. Use a mild soap or antiseptic soap and lukewarm water to get rid of sweat, dirt and bacteria that might be present on your feet.
Do not use very hot water, which can strip away your skin’s natural oils. Also, avoid using hard water to wash your feet, as it can really dry out the skin and make your feet more prone to cracks.
After washing, make sure to use a soft towel and dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes. Water between the toes can lead to fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot. Keep a separate towel for drying your feet.
2. Exfoliate Twice Weekly
Just like washing, scrubbing your feet and heels regularly is also important. The skin on your feet is thicker, so it is essential to remove dead skin with exfoliation to keep your feet soft and smooth.
Regular exfoliation also reduces the risk of developing corns or calluses. If you have corns or calluses, get them treated by a doctor.
Use a foot scrubber or pumice stone to get rid of dead skin cells. While scrubbing, use a gentle filing motion and avoid rubbing your feet too hard with the pumice stone. Make sure to soak your feet in lukewarm water for at least 10 minutes prior to scrubbing.
You can even make a homemade foot scrub by mixing sugar or salt with baby oil to make a thick paste. Apply the paste all over your feet, then massage in circular motions for 5 minutes.
Finish off with a light pumice stone scrub. Rinse your feet off with cool water, pat dry and apply a high-quality foot cream.
Exfoliate your feet twice a week to keep them soft and smooth.
3. Keep Your Feet Moisturized
With all the wear and tear your feet experience, it is obvious why your feet become dry and cracked. Hence, it is very important to apply moisturizer on your feet a few times daily and especially before going to bed.
When applying a moisturizer, make sure to rub it all over the top and bottom of your feet, including your toes. Before going to bed, make it a habit to apply some foot cream on your feet and massage gently using circular motions for about 10 minutes.
If your heels tend to crack during the winter months, wear socks to bed after moisturizing to help retain the moisture longer. However, never apply too much moisturizer between your toes.
You can also rely on natural products like coconut oil, olive oil or cocoa butter. These products help keep dry skin moisturized from within. When using oil, warm it gently before use to help the skin absorb it quickly.
4. Trim Toenails Properly
Every couple of weeks, you must trim your toenails to keep them healthy and strong.
Use proper nail clippers only; do not use scissors. To make the task easier, trim your toenails after taking a shower when they are a bit softer.
Do not trim your nails too short, as this can cause discomfort while walking.
Always trim your toenails straight across and smooth the corners with an emery board or nail file. Never trim at an angle or down the edges as this can lead to ingrown toenails, which can be extremely painful and also unsightly.
Always get help from an expert to treat an ingrown toenail, instead of trying to do it yourself at home.
Remember to push your cuticles back, too, and never cut your cuticles. Apply some cuticle oil to your toenails, wait 5 minutes and then push the cuticles back with an orangewood stick.
Make sure that you do not push too hard, which can increase your risk of developing an infection.
Small children and elderly people should have someone help them trim their toenails.
5. Massage Daily
Regular foot massages are one of the easiest ways to keep your feet healthy and free from all kinds of foot problems. A few minutes of foot massage daily provides other benefits too, such as:
- Improving blood circulation to your legs.
- Helping you relax after a long, tiring day.
- Promoting sound sleep.
- Making your ankles strong and flexible.
- Relieving pain and inflammation.
- Reducing discomfort associated with burning feet sensation.
Spend just 5 minutes out of your busy schedule to massage your feet daily. Use warm olive or coconut oil. While massaging, use your thumbs to press into the soles of your feet in a circular kneading pattern.
Also, gently pull your toes back and forth one by one to stretch them out and ease tightness and soreness.
You can also use a foot roller for your foot massages.
6. Wear Well-Fitting Shoes
Whether you are on your feet most of the time or sit at a desk at work, you should always wear comfortable and well-fitting shoes. They will help you to work without discomfort and will not restrict the movement of your feet in any way.
Poorly fitting shoes, including shoes that are too small, can cause a pain while walking and even lead to blisters and corns. Shoes that are too big increase your risk of falling.
To choose the right pair of shoes:
- When buying a new pair of shoes, try on both shoes and walk a few steps to see whether they are comfortable.
- Choose materials that allow your feet to breathe and mold well to the shape of your foot.
- When shopping for a new pair of shoes, go in the late afternoon or evening. After a long day, feet tend to swell a little and your shoes need to accommodate this natural occurrence.
- Wear different types of shoes for different purposes, such as running shoes for a morning walk, high heels for parties and flats for daytime use.
- If you are prone to sweaty feet, look for shoes made of mesh fabrics for maximum breathability.
- Avoid shoes that can make your feet hot in the summer to prevent foot odor or a fungal infection.
- While trying on shoes, always wear socks or hosiery of the same thickness that you will be wearing with the shoes when you get them home.
- Wear high heels and pointed shoes for special occasions only, and avoid wearing them for long durations.
- Resist wearing flip-flops all the time, as they don’t provide support for your feet and can cause arch and heel pain.
7. Soak Your Feet Often
Every now and then, take time out for a relaxing foot soak. It will help keep your feet clean, soft and luscious. It will also help reduce foot odor, ease stress, relax the body, and eliminate toxins from the body.
Epsom salt is one of the best options for a healthy foot soak.
- Add ½ cup of Epsom salt to a tub of warm water.
- Add a few drops of an aromatic essential oil of your choice for added luxury.
- Soak your feet in the water for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Using a pumice stone, rub your heels to get rid of rough and dry skin.
- Wash your feet with warm water and pat dry.
- Apply lotion all over your feet and put on socks to keep them soft and supple.
Enjoy a foot soak once a week to give your feet the much-needed pampering and care.
8. Use Foot Packs
Just like your face and hands, the skin on your feet can also be damaged from tanning. As the sunrays fall directly over them when you are out in the sun, feet often get tanned and darker in color.
Tanning can make your feet look ugly and it can get worse if not taken care of timely. The best way to remove it is by applying some foot packs on regular basis.
- Mix equal amounts of glycerin, rose water and lemon juice. Apply this on freshly washed feet, allow it to sit for 20 minutes and then rinse it off to reveal brighter looking feet. Use this pack 2 or 3 times week.
- Another foot pack can be made with ½ cup of dried orange peel powder and some milk to make a thick paste. Apply this pack on your feet and allow it to dry on its own. Then using wet hands, scrub off the pack and wash your feet with lukewarm water. Apply this pack 3 times a week for quicker results.
Never forget to apply sunscreen on your feet before going out in the sun. Also, avoid wearing flip-flops or open sandals during the summer.
9. Take Care of Sweaty Feet
Sweaty and smelly feet are an embarrassing problem for many.
Your feet have a huge number of sweat glands that produce about ½ cup of sweat in normal circumstances.
Perspiration creates the perfect environment for bacteria to breed and ultimately leads to smelly feet. When dirt and sweat stay on your feet too long, they can even lead to athlete’s foot and other foot infections.
- Always wear cotton socks and change your socks daily to prevent foot odor.
- Avoid wearing socks made of synthetic fibers as well as excessively tight pantyhose, which trap moisture.
- Keep your shoes clean to reduce odor.
- Try sprinkling baby powder or talcum powder in your shoes before you put them on to help prevent sweaty odor.
- Allow your feet to breathe by taking your shoes off after you get home.
- Keep your toenails free from nail polish from time to time.
10. Perform Foot Self-Exam
You should always check your feet and toenails to make sure they are not showing signs of scaling, nail fungus or other infections.
While taking a shower, check your feet and toes daily for any cuts, sores, blisters, bruises, bumps or nail problems. If you notice any problem, consult a doctor and don’t attempt to self-treat painful foot woes.
As you get older, foot care becomes even more important as age takes its toll on the skin. Plus, it gets physically more difficult to reach your feet and failing eyesight makes self-exams even harder to do.
Also, people who are diabetic should take extra precautions, as they are at a higher risk of suffering from diabetic peripheral neuropathy, which can cause toe deformities, the collapse of the arch and dry skin.
Elderly and diabetic people should see a professional every six months to have their feet checked and should never ignore any kind of foot pain.