Spring into your summer feet
As the weather warms up, get your feet healthy and ready to go on show.
During colder months, our feet are swathed in warm socks and shoes – but as the warmer weather of spring and summer beckons, you’ll probably want to slip on a pair of sandals or thongs.
So, it’s time to give your feet some TLC.
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How to treat cracked heels
Are your heels cracked because you walk around barefoot or in thongs most of the time?
Or do you have dry skin generally?
Wear shoes with a good heel counter – a small plastic insert in the back of a shoe that strengthens the heel cup.
“Wear socks and shoes that help retain moisture and stop feet drying out,” says Amber Cook, of the Australian Podiatry Association.
A podiatrist can get rid of cracks and fissures and you can reduce cracking by regularly applying heel balm and gently sanding heels with a pumice stone.
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How to treat nail infections
Ugly nail infections can ruin the look of your feet and make you reluctant to wear go barefoot at the beach.
Infections are caused by fungus that gets underneath the nail.
“Often fungal nails become thick and crumbly when you cut them,” says Amber.
You can buy over-the-counter products to treat infections but it’s important to follow the treatment rigorously.
“Good foot hygiene is the best way to avoid infections,” says Amber.
“Never share nail clippers and wash socks or hosiery in hot water. Don’t wear the same socks two days in a row and air your shoes daily.”
How to get rid of warts
Also called verrucae, warts are spread from skin to skin.
Reduce the risk of catching warts by wearing thongs in showers when you are not at home, and keep a regular check on your feet.
Corns and warts look similar, but a wart is painful when you squeeze it from the sides – a corn usually isn’t.
“There are lots of over-the-counter pharmaceutical products that will treat a wart,” says Amber.
But if you have a stubborn plantar wart on the bottom of your foot, see your podiatrist for treatment.
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How to treat tinea
Tinea is one of the most common types of fungal infections.
It loves warm, moist conditions and as well as the feet, it can be found in the groin.
The key sign is a red, flaky rash that can split, peel and develop blisters. It will also be itchy.
Tinea is a particular problem in summer when people spend time at the pool and in shared changing rooms, because it’s easily spread from foot to foot.
So wear thongs in changing rooms and showers and see your pharmacist if you develop tinea.
It can be treated with over-the-counter creams and usually clears up within a month.
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Top tips to prep your feet for sandals
- Soak your feet in warm water and gently exfoliate with a pumice stone or exfoliating scrub.
- Buff any areas of stubborn, hard skin.
- Use a thick foot cream and moisturise daily, either after showering or before going to bed. But don’t moisturise in between your toes – this can encourage bacteria.
- Use a cuticle remover to tidy cuticles every three weeks.
- Finish with a coat or two of nail polish on toes.
Written by Sarah Marinos
Watch Bianca Chatfield in action as she goes in search of happy feet in House of Wellness TV.