After what seems like a year-long winter of Covid crises, vaccines and warmer weather sure feels like optimism, don’t you think?
Now that we’re packing up our boots, it’s time to start thinking about baring our feet.
Actually, our favorite podiatrist Jacqueline Sutera, a member of Vionic Shoe’s Innovation Lab, says the time to start prepping our feet was actually back in November, before the really cold weather set in. But as we’ve been kinda busy with other things, we’ll let that slide this year.
In honor of Foot Health Awareness Month — yes, there’s such a thing — we will take her advice on what to do now to get our feet into shape for summer.
Let’s get moving.
Chances are pretty good that Winter has not played nice with your feet. One big reason and two short words: Dry air. It strips your skin of moisture, even (and especially) from your feet.
Our feet have fewer oil glands than elsewhere on the body. (No one has ever claimed to have facne — foot acne — now have they? And yes, we made up that word!)
But don’t use just any moisturizer on your feet. Dry feet, calluses and cracked heels (which, by the way, can cause a lot of pain), call for a product containing lactic or salicylic acid. These acids help exfoliate and soften the skin on your feet.
Yes, it’s time for a pedi.
It may seem indulgent, but it’s the rare person who can get just at the right reach and angle to give themselves a decent pedicure. Besides, a well-done one is good for the sole. #pedipuns
But don’t settle for just any pedicure, especially during Covid. For one thing, think safety. “Don’t be afraid to micro-manage your pedicure by keeping a watchful eye on what they’re doing,” says Sutera.
Here’s what else you need to know:
Just a trim. There’s a right and a wrong way to trim a toenail. The right way? Clip straight across. The wrong way (which puts you at risk for ingrown toenails) is to cut the corners/sides of the nail downward on a diagonal.
Clean up. Make sure the salon utilizes a disposable plastic tub that fits inside the pedicure foot bath — or make sure the footbaths and filters are thoroughly disinfected prior to use. If not, walk out.
Don’t shave. Wait at least 24 hours post-pedi to shave your lower legs. Shaving before can cause nicks, which can be vulnerable to infection from bacteria picked up during the pedicure.
BYOTools. It’s best to bring your own, rather than use what’s in the salon. That’s because there’s a difference between sterilized and sanitized equipment, says Sutera. The autoclave you see in many salons only sanitizes the tools. The gold standard is sterilization. (To clean your own tools at home, use betadine, she suggests).
Polish up. Nail polish should be removed after two weeks. Keeping it on too long can dehydrate your nails. If you don’t want to be without polish, it’s okay to remove it, let your nails breathe for a bit, then put it back on. Even better: take a longer break from polish to give your nails a chance grow out. (This is easier to do in the wintertime, otherwise known as who-is-looking-anyway time.)
Cuticle etiquette. Push, don’t cut, cuticles. That skin “seal” is there for a reason: to protect new nails from bacteria as they grow out from the nail root.
Watch the filing. Over buffing or over-zealous filing nail can make the nail thin and weak — and may even expose it to bacteria and fungus.
Summer Shoe Rules
Flip flops. We all love them, but they don’t love our feet. Flip flops should be worn sparingly. That’s because they’re devoid of support — especially arch support — so your feet are forced to over-grip, which can cause tendonitis or plantar fasciitis. (Both are painful and very stubborn.)
If you can’t resist the look, shop for a flip-flop made of soft, high-quality leather. Make sure you can bend the shoe slightly from end to end. (You should never be able to fold it in half.)
Never wear flip-flops for walking long distances, no matter how sturdy they may seem.
Shoe Inserts. A way to make a shoe fit more comfortably, insoles can be custom-made by a podiatrist or purchased at a store in the form of an arch support, insole, heel liner or foot cushion. This information will walk you through the details.
As we throw off our coats and slather on the SPF 30, be sure to be sweet to your feet. You’ll be glad you did!
For a Pause
Wondering which pampering product is best? Amazon has done the footwork for you by highlighting some of its best sellers.
Don’t forget that spring cleaning your closet should involve more than just your blouses, pants and skirts: it should cover your foot wardrobe as well. Real Simple spills secrets of the pros.
There’s no other way to say it: feet sweat. Here are some important-to-know tips on prevention and how to treat sweaty feet.
Walk this way. If you’ve never thought about how to walk properly, perhaps you should. The right form can make all the difference.
One More Thing
The ultimate in real-estate porn: a virtual walkthrough of Gloria Steinem’s inviting NYC apartment.
Stay healthy and see you next week!
If you see me walking down the street
And I start to cry each time we meet
Walk on by
— Walk On By, Dionne Warwick
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