Updated: Aug 13, 2018
#10 – Wear tennis shoes, even inside the house
Shoes help support, cushion, and protect your feet, so it is important to wear them as much as possible, including inside your home. If that means getting a second pair of shoes for indoor use only, it may be worth it.
#9 – Keep your toes dry
After you shower, take an extra minute to make sure your toes, and spaces between them, are dry. In addition, avoid putting too much cream and lotion between your toes. Increased moisture can cause maceration (break down of the skin) or even athlete’s foot.
#8 – Maintain proper toenail length and shape
When toenails become too long, there is an increased risk of traumatizing them, which can cause loosening of the nail, subungual hematomas (aka black nails), and nail fungus. When trimming them, make sure to cut them straight across.
#7 – Use a pumice stone, or nail filer, on calluses, weekly
Calluses are areas of thickened tissue that occur under regions of increased pressure. Routine care of your calluses can prevent extra build-up of this tissue. It is important to avoid letting the calluses get too thick as they can result in ulcerations (open wounds). If you are unable to care for the calluses, see your doctor, who can shave them for you.
#6 – Change your shoes on a regular basis
In a March 2017 blog, I wrote about determining when your running shoes should be changed. Similar methods can be applied here for any of your shoes. Whether you base it off mileage, shoe wear, or other methods, it is good to buy new shoes on a regular basis to avoid unnecessary injuries and other foot problems.
#5 – Get your feet routinely measured by an expert
Whether it is because you are trying to squeeze your feet into a smaller shoe for cosmetic reasons, it has been several years since you have had your feet measured (if ever), or you were unaware that feet continue to lengthen as we age (women moreso than men), people often wear the incorrect size of shoe. Therefore, it is a good idea to have both feet measured (for both length and width) each time you try on a new pair of shoes (1).
#4 – Moisturize!
In California, it is not uncommon for people to wear sandals, or open-toed shoes, all year long. Unfortunately, by having your feet exposed that much, especially during the summer months, it can cause your skin to dry out, which can result in the development of calluses or even fissures. To help with the dryness, use a moisturizer daily. For more severe dry skin, I usually recommend using urea cream during the day and Vaseline under occlusion (i.e. with socks, saran wrap) at night to my patients. It is important to consult your doctor first, before starting any treatment regimens.
#3 – Stretch every day
#2 – Examine the bottoms of your feet
Yes, they do exist and you should look at them. If you are not flexible enough to see them, put a mirror in front of you to get a better glance at them. Many people neglect their feet until there is a problem or it is too late. Look for calluses, open sores, and abnormal-appearing moles or other atypical skin spots, and contact your doctor if you notice anything unusual.
#1 – Don’t delay treatment
When at-home care does not work, or you have a concerning question, you should always seek medical advice. Early treatment is key to quicker recovery, and in the end, it could save you money. Click here to contact the doctor or to schedule an appointment with the doctor.
DISCLAIMER: The above information is meant for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult the doctor, or your own healthcare professional, for questions or concerns about your health.
1. Frey, C., Thompson, F., Smith, J., Sanders, M., & Horstman, H. (1993). American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society women's shoe survey. Foot & ankle, 14(2), 78-81.