5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Feet Healthy

Our feet are a part of our bodies that we don't often think about for most of the year, hidden away as they are in our shoes and boots. But come summer, our feet are much more exposed and require a little more attention. Below, some tips from the American Podiatric Medical Association on how to care for your feet now that they've come out to play:

Use sunscreen. After spending several minutes applying a generous coating of sunscreen to your arms, legs, face, chest, back, and other exposed body parts, it can be easy to forget your feet, especially if you're already wearing shoes. But feet can get just as burned as any other body parts. It's especially important to get the tops of your feet and the fronts of your ankles. And make sure you reapply sunscreen to your feet as soon as you get out of the water.

Don't share towels. You may be sharing lots of time on the beach and at the pool with friends and family this summer, but don't jeopardize your foot health by sharing towels. Athlete's foot and other funguses are easily spread this way. Make sure to dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes, to reduce your chances of catching anything.

Be careful with flip-flops. This most trendy of fashion statements looks great as you sip cocktails poolside, but don't rely on them for a lengthy walk along the boardwalk or into town. Podiatrists say flip-flops don't offer enough support for anything more than short strolls. If you're going to be on your feet awhile, change into cute sneakers.

Ditch the high heels. Strappy summer dresses are perfect with high heels, but make sure you're not going to be standing or walking in them for long. High heels can cause pain in the ball of the foot as well as ankle injuries due to their instability. Care for your feet by wearing a lower shoe with a rubber sole for good traction.

Keep pedicures clean. No self-respecting woman would reveal her feet to the world without a proper pedicure. But salon pedicures bring with them health risks. To minimize the risk of infection, bring your own tools to the salon, and try to go early in the day while the soaking tubs are fresher. Avoid "pedicure special" days, when many more women will pack the salon.




American Podiatric Medical Association, www.apma.org