In the summer, feet need more love and attention than normal. As the weather starts getting warmer, you sweat more between toes and on the soles of your feet, increasing the risk of foot fungus. This can lead to bacterial infections and skin problems such as Athlete’s Foot, especially if you wear closed shoes.
Here are 8 essential foot care tips for summer:
1. Keep Feet Clean – 7 Keeping feet clean and dry helps prevent infection, smelly feet and other foot problems. Wash them with warm water and gentle soap at least once a day, and soak feet in a warm foot bath once a week to soften skin and nails before clipping toenails or scrubbing.
After washing, use a dry towel or washcloth to remove moisture from between your toes. Damp feet provide a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, but they also encourage blisters and ulcers.
2. Moisturize Them – While dry skin may be more common in winter, excessive sweating and exposure to water in summer can also take their toll. If the skin on your legs and feet is dry, it will be more likely to crack, itch and bleed. Use a good foot cream to help keep feet soft and supple.
The best time to moisturize feet is right after washing them. To keep them from getting rough and dry, apply cream before you sleep and wear socks to keep it from rubbing off on sheets.
3. Care for Calluses – Calluses are bits of hard skin that usually form on the soles of your feet, due to the pressure placed on them all the time. Use a foot file or pumice stone in the shower or after soaking your feet to gently file down a callus, but avoid scrubbing at them too hard.
If you’re diabetic, be extra careful while rubbing or filing down calluses. You can injure the softer skin around these hard bumps while being too vigorous, which will leave them open to infection.
4. Maintain Toenails – Caring for toenails is an important aspect of foot care, and not just because untrimmed toenails look bad. Along with collecting dirt, grime and fungus under the edge, they can also get caught on all kinds of stuff. Clip them when they grow long and use a nail file to smoothen the edges.
When you trim toenails, cut them straight across to avoid ingrown nails. Dabbing them with tea tree oil can help prevent nail fungus, but use an antifungal ointment on yellowed, discoloured or thickened nails.
5. Pamper Your Heels – Heels bear your weight while walking, and they are also constantly being rubbed against the insole of your shoes. This makes them likely to crack and bleed, so give them some extra care by scrubbing and moisturising regularly and wearing comfortable footwear.
Consider using padded or moulded insoles with your shoes, to reduce pressure on aching feet. If you have achy or tired feet and legs, wear socks with graduated compression and get enough rest as well.
6. Treat Foot Injuries – Even a minor foot injury can become a major headache if you don’t give it immediate attention. If you get a blister, dab it with antiseptic and use a blister pad or plaster instead of popping or picking at them. Cover minor cuts and abrasions with a clean and dry dressing.
Athletes, runners, the elderly and people with diabetes face an even higher chance of developing infections due to dirt, sweat and heat. Get medical attention for serious injuries, especially if you have diabetes.
7. Wear Copper Socks – Copper compression socks are a must-have in the summer, for many reasons:
- Infused with antimicrobial copper ions, they kill bacteria and fungi on contact.
- They can reduce swelling in legs and feet, which gets worse in the heat.
- Moisture-wicking AND antimicrobial, they control sweat and eliminate odours.
- Copper socks are known to improve skin health, preventing inflammation, sores and ulcers.
- By boosting blood flow, compression socks can help manage varicose veins.
- Improved circulation makes long-distance summer travel more comfortable.
- Wearing copper infused socks at night keeps your feet warm, soft and happy!
8. Stay Sun Safe – We’re careful about protecting exposed skin on our face, neck, shoulders and arms with sunscreen or SPF cream, but how often do we remember our feet? While wearing open sandals or walking barefoot on the beach, the tops of feet get a lot of sun exposure as well.
Protect the skin and nails on your feet against UV damage by applying a high-SPF sunscreen over the top and soles. Reapply sun cream after swimming, showering and washing your feet.
If you follow these tips and care for your feet the right way, not only will they look and feel beautiful but also remain healthy all summer. And while you’re here, grab a pair of copper compression socks!