Why Is Foot Hygiene Important?
Our feet are under constant stress as we log thousands of steps each day, stand for long periods of time, and cram them into shoes that may or may not fit. This wear and tear can gradually deteriorate the health of our feet and lead to common foot problems. If your feet are in pain, letting the discomfort continue without care can worsen your condition and get in the way of the activities you enjoy.
Cleaning and caring for your feet regularly can prevent foot pain, which is why practicing good foot hygiene is important. Since our feet are our biggest supporters, support them back with a solid foot care routine. Keep your feet comfortable and healthy with the following foot care tips.
Basic Foot Care
Here is how to clean your feet and care for them from heel to toe:
- Wash your feet daily with soap and warm water.
- Dry your feet completely and pay close attention when drying between the toes as this area is susceptible to fungal infections when damp.
- Moisturize your feet to prevent cracking and keep them hydrated. Avoid using lotion between the toes since it may increase the risk of fungal infection.
- Avoid soaking your feet as it may dry them out.
- Trim toenails straight across with a nail clipper and use an emery board to smooth the edges as this will help prevent ingrown toenails.
- Change your socks at least once a day especially if they feel damp as sweat can trigger unwanted foot odor and infections.
- Wear shoes that fit and have proper arch support and cushion. Shoes that are too tight may cause strain and squeeze the toes while shoes that are loose may result in blisters.
- Use orthotic insoles to give your feet the support they need, prevent and relieve foot pain, and encourage proper alignment.
- Examine your feet regularly to check for any potential issues described in the next section.
How to Give Yourself a Foot Exam
Be proactive about your foot health by examining your feet regularly for signs of cuts, sores, swelling, dryness, and irritation. Start at your ankle and heel, then work your way around the foot checking the bottom, sides, and tops until you reach your toes. Look in between your toes and examine your toenails.
Because many foot ailments are a result of poor foot hygiene, regular self-exams can identify potential problems. When performing a self-evaluation of your feet, here is what you should look for:
Corns and Calluses
Friction and pressure from walking with shoes on can cause skin to become rough and thicken, resulting in calluses or corns. Gentle exfoliation with a pumice stone can help soften calluses and remove built-up dead or dry skin.
These viral warts are a result of walking on wet, dirty surfaces while barefoot. Keep your feet dry and wear sandals in public showers. Consult a doctor about wart removal before trying over the counter options.
Toenails that are yellow, thick, or brittle are signs of a fungal nail infection. Never cover up or hide discolored toenails and discuss treatment options with your doctor.
Swelling or Redness
Redness, swelling, general pain or skin that is warm to the touch are potential symptoms of infection or inflammation. Talk to your doctor if you experience foot pain with swelling.
Itchiness or Rashes
Itchy, red rashes between or around the toes could indicate athlete’s foot, a fungal foot infection usually caused by wearing sweaty socks and shoes and not cleaning and drying feet properly.
Unusual growths on your feet should always be addressed by a physician especially if they are causing pain. Plantar fibroma is a condition associated with small nodules on the arch of the foot while heel spurs are bony growths felt under the skin at the heel.
Change in Skin Color
While red skin between the toes may be athlete’s foot, other skin discolorations like black or blue skin indicate more serious issues with blood flow and you should see a physician as soon as possible.
Diabetics and individuals with nerve pain may experience numbness in their feet or legs. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and pay careful attention to your foot health and hygiene as you may be at increased risk of infection.
PowerStep Orthotic Insoles & Foot Care
Unsupported feet tend to have issues with alignment, which can cause back, knee, and hip pain or mild to moderate pronation. Wearing shoes that lack support or cushioning can cause a myriad of conditions from calluses to shin splints and more.
PowerStep makes it easier to take care of your foot health. Our clinically proven arch shape and deep heel cradle stabilize the foot and encourage healthy alignment. Shock absorbing cushioning limits the stress on your feet, ankles, and joints while a comfortably soft fabric reduces heat, sweat, and friction.
Pinnacle Plus with Met Orthotic Insoles
The Pinnacle Plus Met insoles provide cushioning and support while a built-in metatarsal pad spreads and supports the metatarsal heads to get rid of pain. These insoles are ideal for metatarsalgia, alleviating pain caused by the condition and other foot conditions that put pressure on the front of your foot and toes.SHOP NOW
PULSE® Plus with Met Running Shoe Insoles
PULSE Plus running shoe insoles with added metatarsal pad are designed to relieve and prevent pain from metatarsalgia. Made specifically for athletic shoes, these insoles have all the benefits of Pinnacle Plus with the addition of a ShockAbsorb™ Premium Foam layer for superior cushioning.SHOP NOW
IPK Ball of Foot Cushion Inserts
PowerStep Ball of Foot cushions are self-adhesive foam pad inserts placed directly under the ball of your foot to reduce pain from metatarsalgia. They relieve pressure in the front of your foot, so you can walk and move around without ball of foot pain.SHOP NOW
Metatarsal Foot Pads
Our metatarsal foot pads work as cushions to combat pain caused by metatarsalgia. Great for heels or dress shoes, they provide comfort to the ball of your foot and transfer weight away from the metatarsal bones to relieve pinched nerves.SHOP NOW