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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Take the right steps

Your feet deserve proper care as much as other parts of your body. If there are imminent signs of foot trouble, don’t let it fester - see a specialist as early as possible
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - May 27, 2010
By: Sheila Lim
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Take the right steps

Creating a good image isn’t just about making ourselves physically attractive, but also presenting ourselves in the best light. Besides keeping ourselves properly groomed and behaving courteously, this also includes making sure that we don’t knock the socks off the people within sniffing distance of us with our smelly feet, or by openly flaunting a hideous set of toenails!

Signs of foot trouble include pain, excessively dry skin, thickened or discoloured nails, swelling, inflammation and unusual aches and pains.

Maintaining good foot hygiene

* Smelly feet are jokingly referred to by locals as “smelly salted fish” because the odour emanating from them is most obnoxious. This odour results from the biological reaction between the sweat and bacteria that accumulate on our feet when they’ve been confined within shoes and/or socks for a period of time. By keeping our feet clean and dry, we’ll not only reduce foot odour but lower the risk of contracting fungal diseases as well.

* We spend a lot of time pampering our faces, cleaning our bodies and washing our hair, but we usually don’t pay much attention to our feet because they aren’t within easy reach. If you can’t reach your feet because of obesity, arthritis or pure laziness, make use of a long-handled brush.

* Scrub your toenails and between the toes, then use a pumice stone to exfoliate rough skin. Dry your feet completely afterwards. Applying moisturising lotion on the feet before going to bed can alleviate the problem of dry skin.

* Don footwear in public places like shower rooms, and do not share footwear. Sharing footwear increases the risk of contracting athlete’s foot and other infectious foot diseases.

* Change your socks daily. Wear socks and shoes that are made from materials that allow your feet to “breathe”.

* It’s good to pamper your feet with an occasional soak, but don’t immerse them in water that is too hot, as that could dry the skin on your feet.

* Ingrown toenails usually result from clipping nails incorrectly. Toenails should be trimmed straight across to prevent the corners from growing inwards into the skin. Don’t cut the toenails too short to avoid injuring the skin.

* Seek medical advice and treatment for foot problems early instead of letting them fester.

Choose the right footwear

The human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments. With such a complex structure, a lot can go wrong. While some foot problems are inherited, many occur because of neglect, and years of wear and tear.

If you put style before comfort, you’ll have to pay for it later on. Problems like painful bunions, hammertoes (a condition in which the toes are bent like claws) and misaligned toe joints are some common problems caused by wearing poorly fitted footwear. When buying shoes, try to choose designs that fit the size and shape of your feet properly, allow your toes to wriggle comfortably, and have soles that provide adequate support.

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