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During summer sneakers and boots are replaced with flip-flops and sandals. But sometimes, our feet aren’t as ready to be on display as we want them to be. Luckily, there are a number of remedies you can try if your feet aren’t looking or feeling their best.

Corns, calluses, rough patches, and dry spots can form because most shoes don’t fit our feet correctly and we don’t always walk on even ground with even weight distribution. Recreational activities such as running, hiking, and playing sports can all be hard on our feet. Carrying our own weight around over the years can start to take its toll, and many people begin to experience chronic pain in their feet. Some medical conditions can cause foot pain, including diabetes, gout, and obesity.

It can be hard work keeping your feet sexy and youthful. But that’s no reason to abandon them or cover them up. A combination of regular home management, pedicures, and professional podiatry treatments can help your feet take a load off and give them a much needed facelift—or footlift, if you prefer.

At Home:

  • Footbaths – You can relieve sore feet and soften up tough skin and calluses in a bathtub or footbath. Try soaking sore feet in warm water with bath salts or Epsom salts for 15 minutes at the end of each day. Scrub tough skin and dry spots with a pumice stone after soaking.
  • Elevate feet – Raise your feet above your heart after you’re on them all day to help send blood away from your feet to relieve swelling and pain. This can be as simple as relaxing on the couch with pillows propped up under your legs and feet.
  • Massage – Massage your own feet or get a professional massage to help relieve pain and aid healing. Massage feet with olive oil or sweet almond oil to help moisturize the skin. You may also benefit from a number of home foot rollers and other massage tools that stimulate the feet.

Pedicures: A pedicure may include many of the above home treatments, in addition to trimming/filing, cleaning, and polishing the toenails. Pedicures commonly include foot soaks, exfoliants, pumice stone rubs, massages, moisturizing rubs, and mineral mud baths. The nail treatment and polish is a nice bonus in summertime and makes your feet look great in sandals, peep-toe heels and flats, or barefoot at the pool or beach.

Podiatry: Sometimes your feet have a concern that a foot doctor should address. Be sure to contact a doctor if you have any of the below podiatry conditions, because getting it fixed will not only improve the look of your feet, but also foot health and any associated pain you’re feeling.

  • Corns and calluses. Calluses are toughened skin that forms in response to regular friction, and corns are dead skin spots that form in response to a certain type of circular friction. Both can lead to additional foot problems when untreated. Calluses and corns can be dissolved or removed by a podiatrist.
  • Hammertoe. Hammertoe is a condition in which the second, third, or fourth toe becomes permanently bent so that it looks like a hammer. It is most often caused by ill-fitting shoes and sometimes by a medical condition. It can be corrected with a brace or by orthopedic surgery.
  • Ingrown toenail. This painful condition occurs when a nail grows into the skin on the side of the nail bed, piercing the skin. This condition may clear up on its own, but some cases that cause a lot of pain require medical attention.
  • Heel spurs/bone spurs. Spurs are the calcification and buildup of bone that happens with age or in response to damage or disease. Bone and heel spurs may be painless or they may cause pain and discomfort, especially when wearing shoes. Deep heat therapy can help stimulate healing, particularly when the spur has formed in response to damage or injury.
  • Bunions. This common foot problem occurs when the big toe turns in toward the other toes over time. The joint of the toe sticks outward, giving the appearance of a growth. The tissue around the joint may become swollen from the force of the joint against it. The condition may or may not be painful, but in serious cases it can require surgery to correct. Orthotics are prescribed in less severe cases.
  • Athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that produces dry, itchy, scaly, and flaky skin that may crack, bleed, and become painful in severe cases. It gets its name from being commonly transmitted in locker rooms. A number of topical creams and oral medications can be prescribed to combat athlete’s foot.
  • Warts. Warts that occur on the soles of the feet are called plantar warts and they are the result of a viral infection, like a cold sore (don’t worry—they’re very common). Warts can clear up on their own, but they usually require treatment. Plus, it’s best to have a doctor treat warts because they can spread to others or continue to grow and spread on your feet. If an over-the-counter treatment of trichloroacetic acid or salicylic acid is not effective, plantar warts can be removed with liquid nitrogen by a doctor.
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