Quick and easy ways to give yourself nice feet

Quick and easy ways to give yourself nice feet Look at your feet. You should see smooth, clean skin, groomed and even-shaped nails. But are your toe nails opaque and white, or yellow and crumbling? Are your heels peeling, pale and have dry skin? If so, so are 9 out of 10 Brits, as all at some time will have a foot problem, according to the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists: http://www.scpod.org/ . No one is immune from this. Or visit: http://www.scpod.org/foot-health/ for more information on Foot Health. The good news is that if your feet are in a bad way, you can usually find something that will help this straight away. However, according to the SCPOD most will need a long-term plan to avoid serious issues in the future. And there are a few things that you simply must not do at home. FUNGAL INFECTIONS The problem Fungal skin infections live off keratin, which make up skin, hair and nails. Athlete’s foot may affect one in six of us. The skin is itchy, flaky and red, with white cracks, and is usually between toes and on the sides of feet. Nail infections occur on any part of the nail, which discolours and crumbles. The fix Try creams such as Canesten which contains the active ingredient clotrimazole, or Lamisil Once. Both are excellent for foot fungus such as athlete’s foot. I should know as I had an episode a few years ago and Canesten worked wonders for me and is never hard to find. Once you have a nail infection, it inevitably takes months to resolve. If you are self-conscious about it, some salons can apply a false nail, carefully, over the damaged one to cover the unsightly yellow tone and uneven surface. The long-term solution It’s going to take 4-8 months to sort out. Again another solution I would recommend is Nailstat for fungal toenails. A GP may prescribe anti-fungal pills but you need a blood test first to check for liver function. Based on my experiences, and I did feel like a woman applying it, but it did a great job for me, so I’d also be keen to suggest Formula 3 nail paint, which is only available from podiatrists. You will need an appointment, and always make sure you get as much of the damaged nail as possible filed away and then use and apply it on a daily basis. You will see what I mean. What not to do Don’t ignore fungal infections. They can spread to the other nails so they all turn yellow very quickly. INGROWN NAILS The problem Sometimes toenails penetrate the sides of the toe, becoming infected and painful. The fix Cut the nail down the side to relieve the ingrowing area of the nail. This will help stop some of the pain. The long-term solution to the problem Get professional help and advice for the removal, but this can be costly. Cut nails into a square shape to avoid ingrown nails and always try and leave them a little long. What to avoid Never ever cut a V into the nail and never ever ignore it as they will fester and become infected, which will be painful and very unpleasant looking. CORNS The problem Corns are small, painful, cone-like areas of thickened skin. They are caused by the pressure and rubbing against shoes that are too-tight. The answer Visit a chiropodist for a quick and painless removal of the corn or corns. This will take just a number of seconds and will ensure that it is gone forever. Or if you’d rather not visit the chiropodist then apply a pop a blister pad over it. Long-term answer It’s important to know why you are getting the corn or even corns as it or they may return. It could be down to incorrectly sized footwear, which in that case do not wear those shoes. What to void and never ever do Never ignore your corns. They are painful and become more, the longer they are left untreated. And never try to slice it off yourself as more pain will be caused. Avoid corn plasters and they contain acid which can sometimes destroy the surrounding skin and not just the corn. BUNIONS The problem A Bunion is misalignment or developmental problem of the joint at the base of the big toe. Pain is caused by inflammation and the joint pressing against the shoe. A tendency to bunions is genetic. If you have them in your family, bad shoes will make the problem much faster. The fix Never wear shoes with pointed toes and always try to hold the foot back in your shoes with straps or buckles. Very flat shoes can make bunions worse, so wear a slight heel if you can – suggests the Wife, not me. The long-term answer Surgery may be required to straighten the metatarsal. If they are constantly painful, surgery can relieve the pain. What not to do Don’t keep (as some ladies do!) force your feet into unsuitable shoes – you’ll only ever make the problem worse. CALLUSES The problem Large areas of thick dry skin caused by repeated friction or pressure. The fix You can have them removed by your chiropodist or simply use a blister pad. Scrub daily with a bristle brush – a basic nail brush will do – and apply a specially formulated foot cream. Long-term answer Find out why you get them. As they may be caused by the metatarsals, the 5 long bones in the arches, being out of position, or flat feet, which overload the soles of the feet and cause chafing, in which case you need arch support or cushioning insoles. What not to do Avoid creams that contain petroleum jelly. They aren’t effective enough and make the feet slip. Don’t scrub with one of the cheese-grater-like devices. This creates inflammation. CRACKED HEELS The problem A very, very common complaint, and often referred to as heel fissures. Skin is dry, white, cracked and often painful. The fix Scrub feet clean with a bristle brush as this is very good for dislodging trapped dirt. Then slather on a good foot cream overnight for instantly healthier looking heels. The long-term answer Are you a ‘heel beater’, thudding down unnecessarily hard on your heels when walking? This makes the skin crack. Stretch out the calf muscles and Achilles tendon a few times a day and elevate the heel with small to medium heels. Avoid mules or backless styles as they put more weight on the heels. Use a foot scrub and cream daily. Try Neutrogena Nourishing Foot Cream (£5.49, boots.com). You can make your own from salt and oil, or try Aapri Exfoliating Facial Scrub, which I think is too abrasive for faces but perfect for feet (£4.79, 150ml, chemistonline.co.uk). What not to do Don’t let the heels get so dry that the edges split open and cause deep infection, which is painful and smelly. PAINFUL SOLES OR ARCHES The problem This occurs for a few reasons, and tend to give you pain into the inner border, or arch, of the foot. Balls of feet can become painful from the pressure of wearing high heels, especially in slip-on shoes. The fix Wear a small to medium heel, which often helps alleviate mid-foot pain, and stretch out the calf muscles. In the case of painful balls of feet, you can try party feet gel cushions as a short-term solution for a day out, for example. If you’re wearing very thin-soled shoes they will provide some comfort. The long-term answer For painful arches, always visit a specialist for an appropriate choice of specialised insole, or orthotic. If you have pain in the balls of your feet, look for shoes with built-in cushioning. Avoid wearing super high heels and avoid slip-on styles which give you no support. Think of the shoes worn by 1940s girl dancers which had straps and buckles and transfers the weight to the back of the foot. What not to do If your pain continues to persist for more than 2-3 weeks then do not ignore it, get some professional help.

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