It is easy to take our feet for granted. They are just there, putting up with a host of challenges, from being jammed into high heels and elevated to unnatural heights to smothering inside sweaty socks or tight nylon pantyhose.
You don’t need an expensive spa treatment to take care of your feet. Spending just a few minutes a day on foot care and choosing the right shoes can keep you free of problems that may lead to pain and even disability. These ideas can help your feet feel great:
Wash your feet
Make a point to wash your feet (and between your toes!) with a washcloth carefully and regularly. Yes, that means bending over in the shower to soap them up; if you can’t balance safely, use a long-handled shower brush or sit on a chair outside the tub as you wash your feet under the faucets. Be sure to dry feet completely, including between the toes. This wash-and-dry system lessens problems such as an athlete’s foot, odor, bacteria, and fungus.
Moisturize Your Feet
Moisturize your feet after washing. During dry-skin winter months, you may want to moisturize several times a day. Nothing fancy is needed: basic lotions and creams are fine.
Your feet should not hurt—ever. Tight shoes can worsen bunions, distort toe shape and cause painful foot growths. If you wear high heels, choose heels that are wide, stable and no higher than two inches. Toe boxes should be wide; pointed toes shouldn’t begin their narrowing shape until well past the ball of the foot. To protect your Achilles tendon from shortening, alternate heel heights regularly.
Be cautious about having a pedicure in a salon, where cleanliness of tubs and instruments is vital. If you have diabetes, talk with your doctor before having a pedicure.
Other home remedies include:
Exfoliating the feet
Using a scrub or pumice stone can help to remove dead skin cells that bacteria like to feed on.
A person that has especially smelly feet may wish to use a pumice stone 2-3 times each week to avoid buildup. Pumice stones are available for purchase online.
Soaks are potentially useful as part of an exfoliating routine or just on their own.
Prepare a bowl or tub of warm water and dissolve one-half cup of Epsom salts in it. Soak the feet for 10-20 minutes and then dry the feet thoroughly.
Add 2 parts warm water and 1 part vinegar (apple cider or white vinegar are both suitable) to a tub and soak the feet for 15-20 minutes.
However, a person should not use a vinegar soak if they have any cuts, sores, or scratches, as the vinegar has the potential to irritate open areas of skin.
Another remedy is to use an antiperspirant on the feet. Although traditionally used for the underarms, applying antiperspirant to the feet might reduce the incidence of sweating.
If necessary, a doctor can write a prescription for stronger antiperspirants suitable for the feet. Another option is to use cornstarch, which is highly absorbent.
Sometimes, despite a person’s best efforts, they cannot rid their feet of a strong smell. When this is the case, they may wish to see a doctor about their smelly feet.
One treatment option is a process called iontophoresis. This is an approach that involves delivering a mild electric current through water to the skin to reduce the incidence of sweating feet.
Another option that is used in some instances is the injection of botulinum toxin or Botox. This medication is injected into the feet by a means known as plantar injections.
However, these injections can be especially painful. The results usually last somewhere between 3-4 months, and a person will require subsequent treatments.
Excellent foot hygiene is a key factor in treating and preventing smelly feet. This includes washing the feet on a daily basis with antibacterial soap, paying close attention to the areas between the toes.