15 Steps to Fabulous Summer Feet
It’s time to put your boots away and step into the hottest sandal styles of the season, but are your feet ready to be unveiled? Probably not since, according to Dr. Leslie Campbell, a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), “during the winter our feet are cooped up in heavy socks and heavy shoes and may be extra dry due to the lack of moisture in the air.” In addition, the average person takes 8,000-10,000 steps a day. So, it’s no wonder we sometimes want to take a break and treat our feet to a little pampering, especially as spring and summer approach.
In order to start this season off right, make smart choices when it comes to grooming and indulge your feet in the VIP service they deserve. The following at-home treatments, recommended by the foot experts at the APMA, will help get your feet ready to make their debut for the sexiest shoe season of the year.
- Fill a bucket with warm water and be sure it is large enough for both of your feet to soak.
- Find a comfortable chair where you can relax and place the bucket in front of the chair.
- Remove nail polish with non-acetone polish remover.
- Stimulate foot circulation and warm up your feet by propping one foot at a time on your lap, grasp the foot and begin slowly moving your thumbs from the top of your toes to the bottom of your heel and back. Repeat this stroking technique as many times as needed to get your feet warmed up for some serious pampering.
- Use a nail clipper to cut toenails straight across. Then, use an emery board to smooth the nail edges by filing in one direction without drastically rounding the edges. Dr. Campbell says, “When toenail edges are rounded it increases the chances for painful ingrown toenails to develop, so be sure to cut toenails straight across.”
- Soak feet in the warm bucket of water for at least 5 minutes.
- Raise feet out of the bucket and dip either a foot file (like Dr. Scholl’s Dual-Action Swedish Foot File) or a pumice stone into the water. Next, use the file or pumice stone to gently smooth the skin around the heel, and the balls and sides of your feet. Dr. Campbell reminds us to “stay away from a foot razor because it removes too much skin and can easily cause an infection and permanent damage to the skin if used incorrectly. A foot file or pumice stone will do the same and is much less dangerous.”
- For extra soothing and softening, use a scrub, like Avon’s Foot Works Double Action Sloughing Cream*, and massage your entire foot and lower leg. The scrub exfoliates the skin by removing dead skin buildup that is often caused by wearing certain types of shoes. Remove scrub with a damp towel.
- Use a fresh towel to pat feet dry and be sure to dry between each toe. While you are drying, loosen your foot joints by cupping your heel with one hand at the ankle and grabbing the top of your foot with the other. Then, rotate the foot slowly at the ankle a few times in each direction.
- Apply and massage a healthy amount of emollient-enriched skin lotion, like Ureacin-10 Lotion*, all over your feet to hydrate the skin and increase circulation. For added relief and relaxation while moisturizing, use your thumbs to apply extra pressure to the ball of your foot and arch. This will help to release tension in your arches. Then, for all over relief, use your hand to squeeze your achilles tendon (the fleshy area above your heel), one foot at a time, for 5 seconds, repeat 2-3 times.
- Gently push back cuticles with an instrument such as a cuticle pusher or manicure stick. Cuticles, which are located between the nail and underlying soft tissue, provide a protective barrier against infection and should never be cut. Destruction of the cuticle could result in infection, and incessantly pushing back your cuticles will only make them thicker.
Finishing Toe Touches
- Remove the moisturizer from your toenails and in between your toes by using soap and water. “If the moisturizer remains in between your toes, it can increase the likelihood of developing a foot infection like Athlete’s Foot,” says Dr. Campbell. “The retained moisture also promotes nail fungus, which is a discoloration and thickening of the toenail.” Pedinol’s Nail Scrub* helps to bleach and smooth rough, discolored and thickened nails.
- Only if you have healthy nails should nail polish be applied. While it may make your toes look pretty, Dr. Campbell tells us that “nail polish locks out moisture and doesn’t allow the nail or nail bed to ‘breathe,’ so people who suffer from already discolored toenails will aggravate their condition by not allowing their nails to be exposed to the air.” Whether you have discolored nails or not, it is advisable to remove polish regularly.
- Before bed, very lightly wrap cellophane around your entire foot. The cellophane will act as a makeshift sauna by locking in moisture. By morning your feet will feel soothingly soft.
- Continue to keep your feet healthy all season long by protecting the skin that surrounds them with a waterproof, oil-free sunscreen every time you slip on your favorite pair of sandals or go barefoot at the beach.