At last, Spring / Summer is just around the corner and it’s time to switch up our wardrobes. Whether you’re embracing the barefoot movement or banishing the boots for Birkenstocks, it’s a perfect time to get your feet in shape for the Season ahead!
Our feet often get a poor deal in our self-care routines – a new survey has revealed that a third of us (33%) would leave a problem with our feet or toenails for over a month before seeking treatment or advice. 13% of people have also put off having a pedicure because they’re too embarrassed of their feet.
So, we need to give our feet some love and start to build them into our daily health rituals.
Here, expert podiatrist Dina Gohil explains the importance of caring for our feet and reveals her new 6-step ultimate foot MOT for healthy, happy feet every day:
Why is it important to look after your feet?
Your feet are your body’s foundation. They comprise 50% of your body’s skeletal structure and 25% of all the bones in the human body are located below the ankle. This incredible human design helps us to tread the equivalent of four laps (approximately three billion steps!) around the globe during our lifetime and put twice our body weight on our feet every time we step. When your feet are in good health, you may not even think about them. However, when they are in pain or look unsightly, it can not only affect your psychology mindset and lower your energies, but may also be a sign of wider health problems such as poor circulation, low immunity or even diabetes. (40% of people surveyed didn’t realise this). It’s important not to think of your feet as separate identities but more as an extension of your body. So, it’s time to stop neglecting your feet and giving them the attention they deserve with a regular footcare routine!
Dina’s guide to the ultimate foot MOT:
Step 1: Check-in
Take the time to look over your feet and toenails, notice any changes to the appearance of your feet, or if there are any aches and pains, as it’s important to address any issues early.
Some common foot problems that people can experience include dry, hard skin, calluses which can form in areas of high pressure and friction such as the toes, balls of the feet and heels, fungal skin and nail infections, ingrown toenails due to poor cutting techniques, cracked heels known as fissures and verrucas.
Step 2: Rejuvenate Neglected Feet
Restore feet back to their former glory by removing any hard skin. To avoid build up and to help prevent callused and cracked heels, use a foot file or pumice stone during the week on a dry foot to gently get rid of any dead skin cells, followed by a good foot cream with urea in it like CCS Foot Care Cream. If the condition is severe, then see a podiatrist to help restore the feet’s skin safely.
If your feet are in need of a little extra TLC, try an at-home treatment such as Footner Exfoliating Socks, to get rid of dry dead skin and bring your feet back to life. Pop them on and relax for 60 minutes, and within just 7-10 days any hard, dead skin on your feet will have peeled away, revealing a layer of soft, smooth and rejuvenated skin beneath. Not to be confused with moisturising socks, Footner Exfoliating Socks contain Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) which help loosen dead skin whilst moisturises in the formula condition the feet.
Step 3: Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise
To help maintain the smooth, soft feel, look to make footcare part of your daily routine. The easiest way to do this is to use a specially formulated foot cream (not a body cream!), everyday. Smooth it over your feet and gently massage the skin – try it just before you go to bed to repair your feet overnight, making it part of your wind-down routine.
Try CCS Foot Cream or Heel Balm – the best kept Scandi beauty secret used by podiatrists like myself for over 40 years. The Swedish formula contains urea, a moisturiser naturally occurring in the human body which helps reinvigorate the skin and keep it soft and supple.
Step 4: Nail SOS
Check your toenails weekly, and ensure your nails are cut regularly and well, using nail clippers or nail scissors. When cutting your nails, remember to leave a small white free edge. Make sure the tools you use to cut the nails are clean and not shared with anyone else.
Personal hygiene is the best way to prevent fungal infections. Wash your feet in warm, soapy water daily and always be sure to clean and dry your feet properly, between the toes, as this is a prime location for fungal infections to develop.
Address any signs of nail fungus early, including discoloured nails (e.g white marks or a yellow or brown tone) and a change in texture such as thick nails, with a treatment such as Nailner 2in1 – which uses a dual action, one to treat the nail and one to brighten.
Step 5: Footwear Fit For Purpose
The best shoes for your feet are the ones that fit comfortably in every dimension; depth, width and length according to your foot shape. Footwear that supports your ankle and midfoot when you walk or run, and shoes that are breathable, will help keep a healthy environment for your feet. So, in Summer spending too much time in unsupportive footwear such as flip flops (they’re really only okay for the beach or poolside!). Shoes that are too small or too big can cause both pressure and friction which can lead to problems for your feet.
Step 6: Showtime
With your feet restored and looking good, it’s time to show them off. Why not try this year’s colour of choice, Very Peri – I love Nailberry’s polish in Bluebell which is the perfect hue, formulated to be 12 Free, certified vegan, cruelty free and halal.
Now that you have given your feet an MOT, going forward it’s important to get into the habit of a regular footcare routine to maintain healthy, happy feet!