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Life in Motion

Getting Your Winter Feet Ready for Summer

Health & Prevention

Many of us pay little attention to our feet in the winter when they are hidden from the world in heavy socks and boots. Now that warmer weather is on the horizon, you may be looking to get your feet ready for sandal season. NEBH Chief of Podiatry Kenneth Leavitt, DPM, offers some advice to safely prepare your feet for your favorite open toed shoes.

Trim Your Toenails
Cutting your toenails may seem like a mindless task, but there are a few things you want to be careful of to avoid ingrown toenails and infection. Those with diabetes need to take special care to clip nails properly to reduce the risk of future foot problems. Here are the basic rules to follow:

  • Use appropriate nail clippers. Larger clippers are meant for larger nails, and will be easier to cut toenails with than fingernail clippers. Clean and disinfect your clippers before and after each use.
  • Cut your nails straight across. This will stop the nails from digging into the sides of your toes, which can be painful.
  • Don’t cut your toenails too short as this can put you at an increased risk of infection and ingrown toenails. The edge of your toenail should be at the tip of your toe.
  • Don’t cut your cuticles, which help to keep germs away from your skin and nails. Instead, use a cuticle stick and gently push them down. Cutting them can lead to pain and bleeding.

Soften Calluses and Corns Carefully
Corns and calluses are areas of thickened skin that occur when something rubs against the foot repeatedly or cause excess pressure. If the thickening of skin occurs on the bottom of the foot, it’s called a callus. If it occurs on the top of the foot (or toe), it’s called a corn. You can try soaking your feet regularly and using a pumice stone to soften and reduce the size of your callus or corn. You should also make sure improper footwear is not causing these issues. If they become bothersome, make sure to consult an orthopedic expert.

Follow Pedicure Safety Tips
If after a long winter you plan to treat yourself to a pedicure at a spa or nail salon, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind.

  • Don’t shave your legs before your pedicure. Freshly shaven legs or small cuts on your legs can allow bacteria to enter.
  • Ensure the salon you are going to filters and cleans the foot baths between each person.
  • Consider bringing your own foot care tools to the salon. This will help avoid infection from tools that have been not properly sterilized.
  • Speak up if you see the person performing your pedicure using a razor to remove dead skin. This can lead to permanent damage if too much skin is removed as well as cause infection.

If you have any type of persistent foot pain, it’s important to consult a podiatric or orthopedic expert.

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