The road to a certain bad place is paved with good intentions, they say. We wouldn’t go so far as to say that with foot care, but there are things that people think they are doing to help their feet that are either having zero or negative effect!
Whether those “tips” stem from myths that have made the rounds for years or old advice that has since been debunked, it can pay to take a look at some of the things you do “just because” and make sure they are really worth doing.
We are going to highlight some of these misconceptions below. If you have questions about anything you do for your foot care that is not listed here, however, please feel free to contact us via our online form. We’ll be happy to answer questions!
Cutting a Notch in an Ingrown Toenail
A belief circles that cutting a V-shaped notch in a toenail that tends to become ingrown will help “relieve the pressure” off a nail and decrease its tendency to grow inward. This simply is not true.
Often, ingrown toenails are the result of footwear that crowds the toes together and gives them too little space to move. That’s an external force, and cutting a notch is not going to help that.
Even when the cause of an ingrown toenail is intrinsic—some people are born with the genetic tendency to have their nails become ingrown—a notch will very unlikely help then, either. You also risk cutting too deeply, opening yourself up to pain, injury, and infection.
If you have an ingrown toenail that keeps coming back, come see us instead. We can help you get to the root of the problem and find much more effective permanent solutions.
Developing a Pedicure Habit
Pedicures can feel great, and can seem like an obvious way to care for your skin and nails. You’re having your care performed professionally, after all!
Foot spas are not always the best places to go to prevent infections, however. Opportunities for transmitting nasty organisms can come from tools that are not properly sterilized and basins that are not built for sterility.
If you do get pedicures at a foot spa, make sure that the tools they use have never touched anyone else after the last time they were sterilized—or even better, bring your own tools with you.
Also ask how they ensure their basins and anything else that touches your feet are clean. Just putting an antiseptic in the water is not enough. And if a tub is motorized, organisms can hide out in the filter and come back out during a fresh fill.
Additionally, having even small injuries on your feet can increase your risk of infection. Don’t use a spa if you have any scratches or cuts on your feet. It is also wise to wait at least a day if you have waxed, shaved, or removed hair.
Believing Warts Have Seeds and Corns Have Roots
We sometimes seem to have a strangely agricultural view of what’s happening on our feet. We also might have an understandable yet misguided tendency to try to remove problems we see on our skin ourselves.
However, plantar warts do not have “seeds” that must be removed in order to get rid of the problem. Those little specks you see are tiny blood vessels that have been broken and clotted due to the development of the wart. They are completely harmless. The real cause of the wart is a virus, and digging out “seeds” will not get rid of it.
Similarly, a corn does not have “roots” that must be removed to get rid of one. Corns are your skin’s natural way of building its defense against friction and other irritating factors by thickening up. It’s not like a pearl, however; there is no core that it is building around.
The best way to take care of warts is through professional treatment. The best way to take care of corns is to identify and address the cause of the friction. You should never conduct any sort of digging or “self-surgery” on your own to address any problem on your feet!
Moisturizing (Like, a Ton)
Preventing dryness in your feet is important to preventing cracks and opportunities for infections. However, there can also be too much of a good thing.
Moisturizer can be applied daily (the best times to do so are just out of the shower or before bed), but the amount you use and how you use it can be important. A thin amount is recommended. Caking lotion on and then stuffing your feet into socks for the day is not going to be very comfortable, and can lead to degradation of the skin.
One spot to be especially careful with when using moisturizer is between the toes. It can become very easy for excess moisture to become trapped there, paving the way for problems. If you live with diabetes, you should be extremely careful with lotion between your toes, even to the point of avoiding putting any there altogether. We can help you develop the best plan for taking care of your feet with diabetes.
Take the Right Steps to Foot Care
What seems like tried and true advice may not always lead you down the best path. Other times, you may be doing just the right thing—but for a problem that doesn’t quite apply to your situation.
The experts at Family Foot & Ankle Center can set you on the right path to optimal care and maintenance of your feet. We have years of knowledge and experience to guide you; plus we’ve heard a lot of the stories that go around.
Give us a call at (513) 728-4800 to schedule an appointment at one of our six regional locations.