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Tips for Healthy Summer Feet

    • It's time to expose your toes! Here are some helpful, healthy tips for for barefoot and sandal weather.

      Remember that as we walk in sandals, we lose the grip of the rear foot, and thus our heels tend to slide right to left as we walk. This creates excess shear and compression on the skin of the heel, leading to accumulation and cracking of the skin.

      To combat this, you need to gently debride that skin on a daily basis. The best procedure is to buff the heels with a pumice stone with each bath or shower while the skin is wet. This daily routine keeps the buildup to a minimum.

      Next, you should use a good emollient. A simple one to use in the evening is A and D ointment--this has two vitamins and a mild wax which coats the skin effectively.

      As to nail care: Please cut them straight across and warn the pedicurist to do the same. Cutting off the edges creates ingrowing nails. If you go to a salon, bring your own instruments, and make sure if a foot bath is used that it has a disposable liner for your safety.

      As to polishing/painting the nails, if there is any evidence of fungal infection (loose or discolored areas of nails) do not paint them before having a professional evaluate them for possible treatment. Painting over an infection is like sweeping dirt under a rug. Also if your nails are healthy and you wish to paint them, consider using an antifungal clear base coat before applying the colored polish.

      And consider leaving the nails without polish at least one week out of a month in order to allow drying and light to discourage fungal growth.

      When warmer weather arrives, we often put on flat footgear such as sandals, espadrilles or moccasin-type shoes. This change can be difficult if you have been wearing high heels or any footwear with a heel higher than the front of the shoe. The Achilles tendon (at the back of the heel) and plantar fascia (extending along the bottom of the foot) can be strained by the move back to flat shoes. The remedy is to begin stretching the calves more often, as soon as you begin wearing flatter shoes.

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