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Spring Cleaning For Your Feet?

Brandt R Gibson, DPM
Podiatrist, Neuropathy Doctor, Father of 11 and Founder of Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute
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Weather is changing, although some snow flurries may keep us wondering, and is indicating that Spring is here and Summer is not far away. As we enter the warmer season, we tend to use more sandals, flip flops or even go barefoot. Feet that have been confined in shoes or boots are now again open to the air. Often even in the spring or summer shoe, socks are discarded for the foot to "breather" more easily. at least this is what I am told on a regular basis. So you are ready for spring and summer footwear, but are your feet ready? Follow these five steps to "Spring Clean" your feet and you will be ready.

1.Prepare the Nail: Proper nail care can be important to how your feet feel and look. Nails should be carefully trimmed, using care to avoid curving the nails (as we do with our hands) to avoid ingrowing of the nail borders. If you choose to have a pedicure, ensure sterile tools are utilized, the foot bath is cleaned in front of you (or go first thing in the morning, when it is still clean) and don't allow them tio dig too much down the edges. Careful care of the nails can limit infection and pain. Painting nails is also appropriate in healthy toenails. If you have any concerns about your nails, we would be happy to help you.

2.Air Out the Feet: Often in a shoe or boot, the foot is unable to breath as well and may get a fungal infection. Fungus thrive in moist, dark places and the shoe is the perfect breeding ground for fungal growth. If your feet itch, crack or even stink, it may be a fungus that needs treatment to avoid embarassment in yur desired shoe gear. Athlete's Foot (fungal infection of the skin) can be treated easily in our office and my respond to many topical treatments.

3. Lumps and Bumps: If you have corns or calluses on your feet, treatment may necessary to improve the appearance of your feet prior to "showing them off". In fact, many will get pedicures for this purpose also. Care should be excercised with pedicures, as instruments utilized must be sterile and injury should be avoided. Other treatments that should be avoided include corn pads or callus removal applications, as they include acids that can cause injury to healthy tissue also. Corns and calluses can be easily removed in our office without pain or discomfort.

4. Moisture is Your Friend: Utilizing open heeled shoes, sandals, or even flip flops can cause your feet to dry out. You mey get thickening of the skin, cracking and other "unattractive" changes to your feet. Lotions should be utilized to augment the oil releases to the skin to halp maintain moisture. Most lotions, however, should be utilized once a day to maintain the same moisture and limit the drying and cracking of the feet.

5.Excercise the Feet: Depending on the shoes utilized, tendons may tighten in winter shoes. The Achilles tendon is notorious (especially in women) for becoming tight due to even mild heels on winter shoes. Increased heel heights can make this problem worse. When you transfer from heeled shoe to flip flop, flat sandal or barefoot, heel or foot pain may be expereinced. Agressive stretching of the ankles and feet will help prevent this pain that could present soon after starting to wear the Spring shoe gear. If you are having difficulty with foot pain, or understanding how to stretch to reduce these problems, please visit our office and we can help.

Now you kow how to "Spring Clean" your feet so that you can show them off int he new Spring shoes.

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