Warm weather means bare feet

Thursday, April 23, 2009

At the beach, at the pool or just walking in sandals, it's the season where your feet get to breathe. But how do you keep your feet healthy as you expose them to dangers like athlete's foot and other maladies that can make your feet itch, swell, smell, or just look ugly?

A lot of people tend to ignore their feet, and as a result they expose them to all kinds of infections and problems that can cause them to be both unhealthy and unsightly. The last thing you want during the summer is to be forced to hide your feet because they're red, itchy or inflamed. And let's face it guys, wearing socks with sandals is one quick way to make the 'loser's list' with the ladies.

Proper hygiene and regular inspection of the feet and toes are the first lines of defense against fungal infections.

Clean and dry feet resist disease. Washing the feet with soap and water and remembering to dry thoroughly is the best way to prevent an infection.

Wear shoes that fit well and are made of materials that breathe.

Avoid wearing excessively tight hosiery, which promote moisture. Socks made of synthetic fiber tend to "wick" away moisture faster than cotton or wool socks.

Toenails should be clipped straight across so that the nail does not extend beyond the tip of the toe. Disinfect home pedicure tools. Don't apply polish to nails suspected of infection--those that are red, discolored, or swollen, for example.

Another thing to watch for is the nail salon. As times get tough, some salons are cutting corners on the sterilization of their tools and soaking tubs. Ask your salon attendant if they've washed their equipment before they start working on your feet. Germs and bacteria can grow in the tubs they use to soak your feet, so if it looks dirty, insist they clean it with soap and hot water before they refill it for your session.

Shower shoes should be worn when possible in public areas.

The showers and locker rooms at the gym are breeding grounds for all kinds of fungus and bacteria, but you can fight it if you make sure you dry your feet thoroughly after you shower, and put on a pair of clean socks after your shower.