April is National Foot Health Awareness Month, when board-certified podiatrist Albert Elhiani DPM, at Eazy Foot & Ankle focuses on educating patients about foot issues, such as slow-healing ulcers, ingrown nails, fungal infections, and stiff joints.
While some foot issues are unavoidable, there are many self-care tips you can implement to help avoid the most common problems.
Let’s dive in.
Washing your feet may seem like a simple task, but foot hygiene goes a long way in keeping your feet healthy. Reduce your risk of many problems, including fungal infections and dry skin, by carefully washing and drying your feet daily.
Clean your feet once a day with warm water, soap, and gentle scrubbing with a washcloth. Using antibacterial soap can also eliminate odor-causing bacteria. Pay special attention when washing and drying between your toes.
After your feet are clean, dry them thoroughly. Again, pay special attention between your toes to help prevent fungal infections.
A safety note for diabetics: While some people may use a bristle brush or pumice stone to exfoliate dead skin, be cautious if you have diabetes. Scrubbing too hard can contribute to scratches that can spiral into a slow-healing wound. Additionally, nerve damage can make it challenging to feel how hard you scrub.
Dry, cracked heels can cause irritation and calluses and increase your risk of developing an infection. Apply thick foot cream to your heel to help keep your skin soft and hydrated.
Don’t apply lotion between your toes. That area is naturally warm with little airflow, so keeping it dry can help prevent fungal infections.
Keeping your nails trimmed properly can help you avoid a few problems. First, if your nails are too long, you may inadvertently scratch your leg (e.g., such as when you’re sleeping). Keeping your nails trimmed can reduce the likelihood of this happening.
Second, trimming your nails straight across can help prevent ingrown nails. You shouldn’t cut your nails in a curved shape, and don’t trim them too short.
Foot care involves proper hygiene, but daily inspections can help avoid ulcers. Any small injury can become a problem, especially if you have diabetes. Check your feet each day for blisters, swelling, sores, or other wounds.
Swift treatment for a small wound can help you avoid the complications of an untreated one.
Footwear isn’t just a fashion accessory. Your shoes and socks can help support your foot health. The right shoes support your arches (and can help avoid heel pain), while the right socks can help you avoid blisters.
Choose breathable socks. Wool is a good choice for socks, but regardless of what material you choose, always change your socks if they become damp.
Even with regular at-home foot care, you should schedule routine foot exams. During your exam, our team can discuss any symptoms you have, explore treatments for issues that arise, and address concerns you have.
Questions about your foot health? Our Eazy Foot & Ankle team is just a call or click away.
You can send us a message or reach out at 424-375-6348 to schedule a consultation today at our Los Angeles, California office.