At Footzone, we have put together 10 footcare tips to get your feet in shape for summer.
Trim your toenails for summer
Use proper nail clippers and cut straight across, following the contour of the toe – not too short, and not down at the corners, as this can lead to ingrowing toenails. File them, if that’s easier.
Go barefoot or wear open-toed sandals whenever you can in the hot weather (except when you’re in a communal shower or changing area) to help stop your feet getting sweaty and smelly. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, ask your Podiatrist for advice.
Forget flip flops
Don’t be tempted to wear flip-flops or flimsy sandals all through the summer. They don’t provide support for your feet and can give you arch and heel pain if you wear them for too long.
Change socks daily
If you have to wear socks in hot weather, change them once a day and choose ones that contain at least 70% cotton or wool to keep your feet dry and stop them smelling.
Remove hard heel skin
Hard, cracked skin around the heels is very common in summer, often caused by open-backed sandals and flip-flops rubbing around the edge of the heel. Use a foot file or emery board to gently rub away the hard skin, then apply a rich moisturising cream to soften the skin. If the hard skin becomes sore or you find it difficult to manage, see your Podiatrist for advice and help.
Blisters strike more often in hot weather. They’re caused by rubbing, especially between the toes if you’re wearing flip-flops with “thongs”. Prevent summer blisters by stretching out sandals. Wear them with socks and walk around indoors to loosen them up, or use foot balm to protect your skin from chaffing. If you do get a blister, don’t pop it. Cover it in a plaster and if it bursts, apply some antiseptic.
Take a break from nail polish
Nails need to breathe from time to time, so have a break from nail polish about once a month for a few days to a week. This can help prevent discoloration, particularly if you like to use dark-coloured nail polishes.
Watch out for foot infections
The floors of communal showers and changing rooms at swimming pools are hot spots for infections such as athlete’s foot and verrucas. Don’t wander around public pools barefoot. Protect your feet by wearing flip-flops in the changing room and at the pool edge.
If you have sweaty feet in the summer, it’s even more important to wash your feet each morning and evening in warm, soapy water, then dry them thoroughly. You can also use an antibacterial wash, which deals with foot odour. Then wipe them with cotton wool dipped in surgical spirit and dust them with talc.
Use sun screen on your feet
Don’t stop at the ankle – put sun cream on the tops and soles of your feet as well. Not only does the skin on your feet and toes need protection, but nails are made of protein and are therefore as vulnerable to sun damage as your skin.