by Dr. Emily Splichal, DPM MS
It is officially Spring which means the days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and it is time to get the feet ready for sandal season.
Below are 4 ways to get your feet ready for summer and your favorite open toed shoes.
Tip #1 – Brighten & Strengthen Toenails
After months hidden in the darkness of our winter boots, it is time to show off the nails. Whether you choose to paint them or keep them au naturel, it is still important to keep our nails bright, strong and healthy.
Supplements such as collagen peptides can strengthen nails, increase growth rate and decrease the frequency of broken nails by 42%. Soaking the nails in lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide can whiten nails which a great option for those who opt to not paint their toenails.
For any thickening or fungal infections in the nails, products such as Brite Now can create a protective barrier while the nails are growing out. Any nail fungus treatment needs to be applied every day for up to 6, so it’s best to start thinking about nail health now.
Tip #2 – Soften Callused Heels
Dry, cracked heels are common in closed toe shoes and is the result of pressure on the heels and friction from the shoe. To combat callused heels, you want to implement a combination of mechanical debridement with softening agents.
Footlogix has a great at-home combo which includes a callus softener and a foot file. When used at least once a week, a dramatic improvement can be observed in callused heels. Another great option that is trending right now is foot slugging, an overnight foot treatment with Vaseline or other moisturizing emollients.
Try to create a habit of weekly callus debridement which continues throughout the summer season as sandals are also known to cause callused heels.
Tip #3 – Treat Peeling Feet
Often associated with dry skin, peeling of the feet is often the result of a fungal infection. Foot fungus or tinea pedis can occur on the bottom of the feet, between the toes or in the nails. Regardless of where the fungus is located it is highly contagious and can easily spread to your other foot, your hands – and to your loved ones!
To combat foot fungus and peeling skin it is important to keep feet dry, change socks frequently and use products such as tea tree oil or topical anti-fungal. If your fungal infection is not improving after several weeks of treatment, you may want to see a podiatrist who can prescribe an oral anti-fungal.
Tip #4 – Combat Foot Odor
Foot odor typically goes hand in hand with closed toe shoes and foot sweat. The odor we associate with foot odor is caused by bacteria that thrives on moist, dark environments.
The first step in combatting foot odor is to address the shoes. Shoe sprays such as Arm & Hammer Shoe Spray can reduce shoe odor. For the feet make sure there is no fungal infection or trapped moisture between the toes.
In the case of hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating you can use topical anti-perspirants on the feet or soak them in brewed tea for a more natural remedy.As you prepare your feet for summer sandals remember these tips shouldn’t be a one-time approach. Frequent maintenance of the feet is important not only during warmer weather but year-round.