Foot Hygiene, Foot Health

The Importance of Foot Care

Did you know that feet are one of the most abused and "walked on" parts of our bodies - literally? Every day we carry our full weight around wherever we go, in addition to the mass of "stuff" we lug around with us - backpacks, groceries, purses, heavy clothing, and even little children! Yet how many of us really pay attention to our feet the way we care for other parts of our body? The American Podiatric Medical Association has issued free online guidelines concerning comprehensive foot care, proper foot hygiene, and understanding our feet better. Giving feet the attention they deserve early on and every day will pay great dividends down the long and winding road of life...

How to Avoid Foot Health Problems

If you're like most people, you take your feet for granted until it's too late and foot problems have set in. Improper foot and toe care as well as poor foot hygiene can give rise to a whole host of foot-related conditions and diseases, such as athlete's foot (caused by the ringworm fungus tinea pedis), blisters, rashes, itchy, cracked, swollen, painful and peeling skin, fungal toenail infection, and more.

The first steps to take to ensure good foot health are keeping feet free from dirt and odor, cutting toenails carefully, and keeping the skin soft and smooth. To avoid long-term foot health problems you should also pay attention to your foot attire, as certain shoes (including many fashionable footwear) can wreak havoc on your feet and cause major foot strain, foot tendonitis, and other painful foot conditions that can ultimately curtail your activities and limit your ability to enjoy life.

Foot Hygiene Guide

Contrary to popular belief, good foot hygiene is not limited to washing off dirt and debris after walking barefoot or rinsing off the soiled soles of your feet. In fact, most foot fungus and bacteria grow inside people's shoes, and those who wear shoes all the time (especially closed shoes without socks) are at greater risk for contracting many foot diseases than those who wander about in open-toed sandals.

The following are some basic foot hygiene guidelines to help ensure that you and your feet are walking down the straight and narrow path when it comes to taking care of your feet for the long term:

•- Wash feet daily with warm water or with soap and water, especially between the toes where debris/fungus/bacteria accumulate

•- Carefully rinse off all soap residue

•- Thoroughly dry feet and toes

•- Wear clean socks which allow your feet to breath and which are not too tight-fitting

•- Keep foot skin well moisturized (especially during the winter when feet are especially dry); however do not apply moisturizing creams in between the toes, where over-moisture may invite fungus growth

•- Cut/clip toenails regularly to prevent injuries/pain from toenails that break off and to prevent the growth of fungus underneath toenails

•- Trim/clip/cut toenails with great care, cutting straight across and avoiding cutting into the sides of the skin, which can result in painful ingrown toenails and infection

•- Always wear shoes/flip-flops when walking around damp areas such as shared shower facilities, locker rooms, and swimming pool decks, which are a major breeding ground for the fungus which causes athlete's foot

•- Wear properly fitting shoes that are not too narrow, too tight, or too wide, which do not cause your feet to perspire, and which allow your feet to breath. (Shoes which irritate your feet can cause corns, calluses, blisters, bunions, bacteria, infection, foot strain, heel pain, toe pain, and more)

Foot Care Tip of the Day

Here's one final foot-care tip from the experts: When you buy a new pair of shoes, have your foot length AND width measured by the shoe clerk, using that measurement to guide your shoe size selection. Given the vast expanse of shoe selections and shoe styles available today, you should be able to find a fashionable pair of shoes without having to damage your feet.