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Happy feet

13 July 2022

Expert Podiatrist Dina Gohil shares her top tips for ensuring first-class foot health this summer.

Bare feet in daisies

1. Ditch the dead skin

In the winter months, it’s common for the skin on your feet to become hard and dry as they are often wrapped up in thick socks and heavier duty shoes with little access to moisture. Left untreated, dead skin can become calloused and painful.

You can use a foot file or pumice stone on dry feet to gently get rid of any dead skin cells or opt for an exfoliation product such as Footner Exfoliating Socks which are an easy and effective at-home treatment to rejuvenate your feet. Pop them on and relax for 60 minutes, and within just 7-10 days of using a pair, any hard, dead skin on your feet will have peeled away, revealing a layer of soft and smooth skin beneath.

2. Be sandal savvy

We all like to be in our sandals, flip-flops and sliders in the hot weather. In fact, this is beneficial for your feet in many ways – wearing light and airy footwear which lets moisture escape in summer can stop common conditions like fungal nails and athlete’s foot from developing, and reduce the risk of smelly feet.

Although wearing sandals and open shoes can be liberating, the problem is that some of these shoes have no structure or arch support; this can put pressure on the structure of the foot and higher in the body. Secondly having your feet out and exposed to the environment can cause dry, cracked heels. One good way to avoid cracked heels is to moisturise your feet regularly with a good foot cream. To treat dry or cracked heels, try CCS Foot Cream or Heel Balm – the best kept Scandi beauty secret used by podiatrists like myself for more than 40 years. The Swedish formula contains urea, a moisturiser naturally occurring in the human body which helps reinvigorate the skin and keep it soft and supple. Another top tip is to mix up your fashion footwear during the summer, so for example switch and change between two styles such as Birkenstocks and Espadrille wedges. Birkenstocks may have less cushioning but the way the foot bed is created supports the foot and can feel very comfortable. Espadrille sandal wedges are great for those who prefer varying heel height.

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3. Tan your tootsies mindfully

It’s easy to forget when slapping on the sun cream elsewhere that the tops of your bare feet can also burn when you sunbathe. Make sure to apply a generous amount of sun cream each time you hit the beach to keep your feet UV-protected.

4. Be sweet to your feet

Giving yourself a foot massage can be a perfect way to relax, improve circulation and relieve any pre-holiday pressures. If you’ve got an early flight to catch, massaging your feet for five to ten minutes before going to bed can help you get a good night’s sleep, so you feel ready to enjoy your holiday. For added luxury, use some warm coconut oil or massage oil to soften skin.

To start, clasp your foot with both hands and gently press thumbs into any points of soreness or muscular aches in a circular motion. Try spreading, a technique that involves grabbing each side of the foot and gently pulling outwards to the side, working from the arches to the ball of the foot and then massaging each toe. This can help strengthen your intrinsic muscles, therefore contributing towards stability and stronger foundations for your body. It also helps relax your toes by stretching them, and can help your posture in the long run too.

5. Try these relaxing foot care techniques

Salt water foot soaks have many benefits and are easy to do at home. Soaking feet in warm salt water will help relax and cleanse your feet. Other benefits include: reducing pain, aches, and soreness. A soak of 10-30 mins can be excellent when you’ve been on your feet all day.

Another great little tip that can do wonders for your nails is using vegetable oil to condition and rehydrate nails. It can help them grow healthier and reduce brittle dry splits. Simply apply the oil twice a day. Elevating your feet at the end of the day is a great way to improve your blood circulation, to reduce inflammation or swelling in the lower limbs. It can also help reduce the pressure in your veins, known as venous drainage, thus helping with symptoms caused by lower limb concerns like varicose veins. It's a great way to help fatigued legs also.

Find out more about podiatrist Dina Gohil

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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