When warm weather hits, it’s time to shimmy out of your boots and strap on sandals. Here are five strategies to help your feet look their best.
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Get a safe pedicure
Did you know that your local pedi palace could be a source of a nasty foot infection? It all depends on how the salon is run. Do your homework and make sure the salons use clean utensils and bowls and disinfect their bowls after each use. You’re good to go if the salon uses a sterilization process called autoclaving, which medical professionals use in hospital operating rooms.
Prevent and treat ingrown toenails
A common cause of ingrown toenails is cutting them too short, which encourages the skin at the sides of the nail to fold over the nail. Instead, let your toenails grow out a bit. When you trim them, clip straight across the nail. You also can treat your ingrown toenails at home. Soak your foot in warm water with Epsom salts or mild soap, then apply an antibiotic ointment and bandage.
Pick the best kicks
Your genes are more important than shoe styles when it comes to bunions, flat feet or tight Achilles tendons. But you can choose shoes that can help keep your feet feeling better for a longer period of time, relieve foot pain and prevent future foot problems. Worst shoe? High-heeled stillettos, natch. Best shoe? Sneaker-like walking shoes. You may be surprised to learn that a ballet flat is not always the best choice, as the style often doesn’t provide support for your foot’s arch.
Does the joint on one of your toes — usually the toe next to the big toe or the smallest toe — point upward rather than lie flat? You might have a hammertoe. Surgery is the best way to permanently fix a hammertoe, but you can take steps to avoid a hammertoe and to treat it without surgery. Make sure your shoes give your toes plenty of room and try flexing and stretching your toes, which can help flatten out the hammertoe’s contracted muscle.
Slow down that bunion
You may have inherited that large bump jutting out at the base of your big toe. However, you can ease the pain and slow the progression of a bunion. Be sure you maintain an appropriate weight and wear shoes that don’t constrict your feet. If your bunion is painful, try warm soaks, ice packs, Whirlpool, ultrasound and massage.