Proper Podiatric Foot Care – Are you caring for your tootsies?
Most folks if I ask them if they clean their feet regularly look at me strangely and say: “Of course I am! I shower everyday!” Well, simply showering is not cleaning your feet.Think about this. Our feet are in closed shoes all day long sweating and then we shower letting all the soap, dirt, and bacteria from our bodies swirl around our feet.
Yuk! To properly clean our feet we should be sitting in the shower so that we are safe and don’t fall over.Then we can use a soft scrub brush or washcloth moving between each toe, scrubbing the bottoms, and the tops. Otherwise we are never really removing the dead old skin. When we get out of the shower, it is important to dry our feet well between each toe. You can even use the hairdryer if that makes it faster (but only if your do not have neuropathy).
However, if we only rinse in the shower we develop a build-up of dead skin – and it’s easy to get a fungal or bacterial infection between the toes. Those critters love feasting on dead skin and we are giving them the perfect environment to set up house! We expect our feet to last for a life time yet we don’t give them the same kind of care we give to our teeth or the rest of our bodies.
It would be great if folks made a habit of visiting their foot doctor every year just to make sure everything was fine. Especially if diabetes, or any other systemic disease runs in the family. Even kids benefit from a yearly visit to make sure they are not overly flat-footed, need orthotic support for sports, have warts or fungus's. After all – the school gym does not tend to be the cleanest place on the planet.
Another way we set ourselves up for trouble is around the pool. Once our feet soften up from being in the water we are especially susceptible to fungal infections and plantar warts. September and October are prime time for kids to come in the office with plantar warts from running around the pool barefoot all summer. But seniors using a communal pool are in the exact same situation – how many folks in the community have fungal infections and are walking barefoot? Plenty!
Feet are amazing, and to keep them in tip-top shape we need to give them more than a passing fancy. Take good care of your feet and they will take good care of you!