London: Pretty, strappy sandals might be fashionable and practical in the current heatwave, but for many, they are not an option. A new survey shows that 3 million women in this country are embarrassed about their feet, while three out of four adults admit to troubles from bunions to blisters.
To help beat the problems, this week and next, the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists is offering free foot checks throughout the UK. To kickstart the healing process, we present, with the help of Lorraine Jones, a chartered chiropodist, the ultimate guide to healthy feet.
Proper Foot Care for Smooth and Whitening Feet
Keep them clean: It doesn’t bear thinking about, but a survey by Scholl revealed that one-fifth of people claim their partners wear the same pair of socks at least two days in a row, and one third said they don’t wash their feet on a daily basis. Ideally, says chiropodist Lorraine Jones, you should soak your feet every evening, taking care to dry thoroughly between the toes and applying a light dusting of talcum powder afterward.
Whenever possible, go barefoot around the house. ‘Ideally,’ says Jones, ‘you should never wear the same pair of shoes two days running as it takes 24 hours for them to dry out thoroughly. Damp shoes allow fungi to thrive.’
Try deodorant: In some cases, regular hygiene is not quite enough to keep your feet smelling sweet and you may need to invest in deodorizing products. Scholl’s Odour Control spray claims to provide 24-hour protection from odor and wetness or try the Body Shop’s deodorizing foot spray (£3) from the lemongrass range.
Origins Step Lively energizing foot cream will also leave them feeling fresh, and Neal’s Yard’s Comfrey And Mallow Foot Balm (£6) contain skin softening oils of wheat germ and almond as well as extract of marshmallow to put paid to flakiness.
If your feet are prone to excessive sweating, then invest in the Foot Powder Lotion (£4.50) from the Body Shop. It is liquid until you apply it when it turns almost instantly into a talcum- style powder that absorbs excess moisture and leaves the soles of your feet feeling silky smooth.
Choose shoes with care: It is estimated that of the 8 million people who regularly wear high heels, 5 million suffer painful consequences. In addition to bunions and corns, these heels also carry more serious health risks.
‘High-heeled mules are bad news,’ says Jones. ‘They throw the body’s weight forward onto the ball of the foot and can cause back pain and leg strain if you wear them too often. In time, they can even alter the tilt of your pelvis, which increases pressure on the spine.’ The healthiest shoes in terms of support are breathable, cushioned trainers and Jones says everyone should own a pair.
The type of sports shoes you wear can affect foot health. A study by microbiologists at the British Analytical Control Agency looked at the level of fungal growth when different footwear was worn.
They analyzed swabs with moisture samples from the inside of 100 different sports shoes and found that football boots made of leather (which limits breathability) were the worst offenders with 140,000 fungal spores per pair. Shoes can amass 64,000 spores per pair because they are made from satin and worn with tights. (read more dailymail)