Following these basic foot care guidelines can help keep your feet healthy, injury-free, and properly functioning. Even if the feet seem to feel fine, inspect them regularly for changes, as early intervention and treatment can head off major problems.
- Maintain your feet by keeping them clean, dry, and appropriately covered. Do not walk barefoot, and protect the delicate skin on the foot with sunblock when exposed to the sun. Trim toenails straight across and do not cut them too short.
- Any type of pain in the foot or ankle should be immediately addressed by contacting a podiatrist, as it is in an indication that something is wrong. Waiting to see if the pain goes away on its own or ignoring the pain because you think it is minor or normal can cause the damage to worsen.
- Changes in the feet or toenails may signal a problem, such as red, purple, blue, or any shade of discoloration; temperature changes; thickening of the skin or nails; and cut, cracked, rashed, peeling, dry, or scaly skin, either widespread or in one small, localized area. Check your feet regularly for any signs of change and see a podiatrist if you notice something looks different or unusual.
- Properly fitting shoes are essential to foot care. A shoe that causes pressure or friction or lacks cushion and support can generate foot and toe problems. Choose appropriate footwear for each sport or activity. Keep shoes clean and dry inside, and do not wear the same pair constantly.
- See a podiatrist for foot and ankle-related problems; do not attempt to treat issues yourself. A doctor can properly diagnose and treat the problem to avoid further damage.
- Diabetics should leave their foot care up to a professional to limit the risk of infection. In addition to regular foot care, diabetics should have their feet checked annually or more frequently by a podiatrist.