5 tips to healthy feet
Feet can be the most neglected part of our bodies, but pay dividends if taken care of properly. We'll address 5 common foot problems and what we can do to take care of our feet for years to come. After all, they'll be taking care of us for years to come.
1. Sweaty, stinky feet - The two main culprits of foot odor are foot sweat and shoes. When sweat mingles with bacteria in your shoes and socks, it creates an odor.
Tips to keep feet fresh -
- Wash your feet daily in an antibacterial soap and towel dry - be sure to dry between your toes!
- If you have severe foot odor, soak your feet in strong black tea (two tea bags per pint of water, boiled for 15 minutes and mixed with 2 quarts of cool water) 30 minutes a day for a week.
- New treatments for foot sweat/odor - Botox injectionsor a topical called Qbrexa (Glypyrronium). Talk to your doctor about these treatments.
2. Ingrown Toenails - There are ingrown nails, and then there are severely ingrown toenails that require surgery or treatment from a podiatrist. This is an example of a severely ingrown nail.
For minor ingrown nails, soak nails for 15 minutes in warm soapy water - then take a pair of sanitized cuticle nippers and cut 1/4 inch down into the side (very corner) of the nail and remove ingrown nail that is digging into skin. Dab a little hydrogen peroxide on the area and use an antibiotic ointment afterwards.
To prevent ingrowns, pack nail underneath (in corners) with a tiny bit of cotton or dental floss. This lifts the nail slightly and keeps it from digging in.
Be sure your shoes do not press on the top of your big toenails if you are prone to ingrowns.
If you have diabetes do not attempt to treat ingrowns (except preventative measures) yourself. Please see a doctor for treatment.
3. Corns and Callus - Corns are primarily found on the top of our feet/toes while callus forms on sides and bottoms of our feet.
The best treatment for corns is a preparation with salicylic acid. This is a keratolytic, meaning it dissolves the protein, or keratin, that makes up the corn and dead skin around it.
Salicylic acid is available in creams, pads and topicals. It can be applied using an applicator or dropper. The top of the skin will turn a white color and can be filed away.
Callus can be removed by soaking feet and then using a metal or foam type scrubber. Don't waste your time with a pumice, it doesn't work. You need something that removes skin--not just slightly smoothing it.
I recommend using one of these every day in the shower after exfoliating with a sugar scrub like our Sugared Butter Whip Body Polish. The combination works! The Sugared Butter Whip needs only to be used 3 times per week, but use the scrubber daily to keep callus at bay.
4. Feet swelling or edema - When fluid accumulates in tissues, it's called edema. While edema usually resolves on its own, there are some home remedies that may reduce the swelling more quickly and increase foot comfort. Here are 5 home remedies to try.
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily (especially on days you're traveling) - When your body isn’t hydrated enough, it holds onto the fluid it does have. This contributes to swelling.
- Soak feet in a cool Epsom Salt bath 15-20 minutes - Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) may not only help with muscle pain. It may also reduce swelling and inflammation. The theory is that Epsom salt draws out toxins and increases relaxation.
- Elevate your feet above your heart - elevate feet on pillows or cushions when you sleep. Practice legs up on the wall pose.
- Magnesium supplements- if you retain water you may have a magnesium deficiency. Try adding magnesium rich foods to your diet. Almonds, Broccoli, Tofu, Spinach, Cashews, Dark Chocolate, Avocados are all rich in magnesium. 200-400 milligrams of magnesium daily may help with swelling. Always check with your doctor before adding a supplement to your diet. Magnesium is not right for everyone.
- Reduce sodium and lose weight - decreasing the sodium in your diet can reduce swelling in your body, including your feet. Being overweight can cause reduced blood circulation, leading to swelling of the lower extremities. It can also lead to extra strain on the feet, causing pain when walking. This can result in being more sedentary — which can also cause fluid buildup in the feet.
5. Bunions - Are a symptom of a progressive bone disorder. Factors that add to the risk of bunions are:
- Overpronation, which means having a low arch or uneven weight-bearing in the foot and tendon that makes the toe joint unstable.
- Hypermobility, or having a big toe bone that moves more than usual
- Type of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Some people believe that years of wearing high-heeled or narrow shoes promote the growth of bunions. They might aggravate already-existing bunions, but don't cause bunions to develop.
Lifestyle changes to relieve bunion pain may include:
- Properly fitting shoes. Have a specialist properly measure and fit you for shoes that leave sufficient space inside for the toes, to relieve pressure.
- Shoe inserts - Also known as orthotics. These inserts relieve pressure on the toe.
- Padding, taping, or splinting of the toe: This can help provide support and reduce irritation.
- Anti-inflammatories - Ibuprofen, cortisone injections and topical treatments that include CBD to reduce inflammation.
Lastly, invest in a pedicure once a month. Not only will your feet feel better, it's a healthy way to self care and reduce stress.
Do you have any of these foot issues? What do you do?