You work hard. And because you do, your feet shoulder a disproportionate share of the load. When you return home after a long day on your feet, and take your favorite spot on the couch, it can be very hard indeed to get back out of it!
If there’s any part of your body that could use some regular pampering, it’s probably your feet. A little extra attention each day—or on the days you really need it—can rejuvenate dry and cracking skin, soothe away the day’s aches and soreness, or even add a dash of cute color to your nails! You’ll feel better, both physically and mentally, and you might find you have more energy to get back out of the sofa and enjoy cooking, going for a walk, or playing with the little ones.
If you haven’t showered your feet with a little love anytime recently, maybe it’s time to start! You might be surprised at how big a difference it makes.
Get a Pedicure at a (Safe) Salon
There’s nothing quite like the full salon treatment. A relaxing footbath, exfoliation of dead skin, cutting and painting toenails—the works! If you regularly experience sore or dry feet, regular pedicures can really add a new spring to your step.
A word of caution, though. Not all salons are created equally. Unsanitary conditions can spread fungi and other germs, and technicians without proper training can leave you vulnerable to infection—for example, by cutting your cuticles too short.
So do your homework. Find a reputable salon with fully licensed staff. Ask how and how often they clean their tools, baths, and pipes. (Full sterilization via an autoclave is the gold standard.) You may also consider supplying your own tools for the technicians to use.
Give Yourself a Pedicure at Home
Of course, if the salon isn’t really your thing, you can always give yourself the salon treatment at home!
To start, fill a basin with your own rejuvenating foot soak. There are lots of different “recipes” you can find online for these soaks, so you have a lot of flexibility to find one you like—or you can be creative and develop your own! The most basic approach is to simply mix half a cup or so of Epsom or sea salt into a basin of warm water. However, you will probably want to add your own essential oils, crushed lavender, rose petals, or even honey to the mix.
Lean back, close your eyes, and let those feet soak for a good 15 minutes or so. Then, if you wish, you can use an exfoliating scrub and a pumice stone to deal with calluses and dead skin. Then, clip and file your toenails. Dry your feet afterward and apply moisturizer. Finally, paint those toenails any color you like! A base coat, two coats of polish, and a top coat will have them looking great!
Get (or Give Yourself) a Foot Massage
We probably don’t need to tell you that a foot massage feels great. That’s an easy sell! But you might not be aware that there are many other benefits to a thorough foot rub.
Aside from the obvious relaxation and stress relief, massages stimulate nerves and increase blood flow, which aids in healing and stopping inflammation. There’s also some evidence to suggest that foot rubs can help you sleep better, lower your blood pressure, or even boost your immunity and healing response.
Generally speaking a workover by a professional massage therapist is going to feel the best, but there’s no reason you can’t ask a loved one to do it—or even do it yourself! Some tips:
Lather up with a good lotion.
Stabilize the foot with your fingers and use both thumbs to work slowly from the heels to the toes. You can use circular motions or sustained strokes—whatever feels best! You can also use the fingers to rub the top of your foot gently.
Gently grasp each toe individually. Squeeze each for about ten seconds. Slowly rotate them back and forth, then pull up gently.
Massage underneath the ankle, then the lower calf. Rotate your ankle and flex and point your foot.
Don’t Forget to Moisturize
The bottoms of feet don’t have any oil glands—just sweat—so they are very prone to drying out. Dry indoor heat, hot showers, and long days on your feet can further sap the moisture. Dry feet can be unsightly, painful, and may even crack the skin deep enough to allow infections or bleeding.
You can buy a good moisturizing lotion or cream from your favorite body product store, or you can even make your own, using ingredients such as coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter, and essential oils.
We recommend moisturizing at least once per day, after a shower or foot soak. (Make sure you dry your feet first!) Make sure you get the bottoms and tops of feet, but stay out of the spaces between the toes. When you’re done, lock in that moisturized goodness with a nice clean pair of socks.
General Maintenance Tips
If you want to keep your feet in top shape, make sure you’re taking care of them in little ways each and every day. This might not qualify as “pampering” per se, but will help your feet hold up better against the daily grind.
Wash your feet every day with soap and water.
Trim your toenails at least weekly, so that they stay short-but-not-too-short (about even with the toe tip. We recommend you round the corners only slightly.
Wear comfortable, supportive shoes with breathable uppers. Own at least two pairs of everyday shoes that you can rotate, allowing each a full day of dry time.
Apply an antifungal powder or spray in your shoes to reduce the risk of developing athlete’s foot or fungal nails.
Prop your feet up when you sit, especially after a long day. This helps control swelling.
Don’t go barefoot in public, especially someplace humid (like a pool deck or shower). Do go barefoot or socks only at home to give your feet a chance to air out—unless you have diabetes. In that case, you should wear shoes at all times, even indoors.
Tired, achy, or painful feet that impair your daily living should also be examined by the team at Family Foot & Ankle Center. Whether you need a little extra TLC for your skin and nails, or more extensive treatment for heel pain or a sports injury, we’re there for you with comprehensive and effective treatment. To book an appointment at one of our Greater Cincinnati offices, dial (888) 689-3317 today.