Foot Care

Whilst the following foot care advice would be prudent for the general population it is essential for those who are ‘at risk’. The term ‘at risk’ is used to describe those who fall under the following categories: Systemic disorders such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, poor circulation, swollen (oedematous) legs, the elderly, and those taking certain medications including anti-coagulants, steroids (immunosuppressive), diuretics and other medicaments. 

  • Looking carefully at your feet each day, including between the toes. If you cannot do this yourself, you should get someone else to do it for you. Looking is particularly important if you have reduced sensation in your feet, as you may not notice anything wrong at first until you look.
  • If you see anything new (such as a cut, bruise, blister, redness, or bleeding) and don't know what to do, see your doctor or podiatrist (chiropodist).
  • Unless you are in good health do not try to deal with corns, calluses, verrucas, or other foot problems by yourself. They should be treated by a health professional such as a podiatrist. In particular, do not use chemicals or special 'acid' plasters to remove corns, etc.
  • Use a moisturising oil or cream for dry skin to prevent cracking. But, do not apply it between the toes.
  • Look out for athlete's foot (a common minor skin infection). It causes flaky skin and cracks between the toes which can be sore and can become infected. If you get athletes foot, it should be treated with an antifungal cream.

Cut your nails by following the nail curvature rather than 'straight across'. If you cannot see properly do not try to cut your nails as you may cut your skin. Get someone else to do it.

Wash your feet regularly, and dry carefully, especially between the toes.

Do not walk barefoot, even at home. You might tread on something and damage the skin.

Always wear socks with shoes or other footwear. But, don't wear socks that are too tight around the ankle which may affect the circulation.

Shoes, trainers and other footwear should:

  • fit well to take into account any awkward shapes or deformities (such as bunions).
  • have broad fronts with plenty of room for the toes.
  • have low heels to avoid pressure on the toes.
  • have good laces, buckles or Velcro fastening to prevent movement and rubbing of feet within the shoes.

When you buy shoes, wear the type of socks that you usually wear. Avoid slip-on shoes, shoes with pointed toes, sandals and flip-flops. Break new shoes in gradually. However, new shoes should fit comfortably from day one, if in doubt do not buy.

Always feel inside footwear before you put them on (to check for stones, rough edges, etc).

If your feet are an abnormal shape, or if you have bunions or other foot problems, you may need specially fitted shoes to stop your feet rubbing.

When sitting raise legs / feet level with your bottom this will help counteract the effects of gravity and assist the returning blood to the heart.

Tips to avoid foot burns include: check the bath temperature with your hand before stepping in; do not use hot water bottles, electric blankets or foot spas; do not sit too close to fires.