You must always find a way to show yourself love, and what better way to do that than with some self-care. This Valentine’s Day, promote some healthy self-care by taking care of your feet! Your feet, and their health, can sometimes be put on the back burner, but don’t forget that they literally carry you through life. All that effort should be rewarded with something, right? Why not get a pedicure. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the nail salon; you can do it at home! Keep reading to learn how you can show your feet some love this Valentine’s Day.
Remove Old Nail Polish
You can inspect your toenails for any problems, like nail fungus or hangnails, by stripping off old nail polish. We recommend you use non-acetone remover, as acetone can be harsh on your nails and may cause thinning of the nail plate and the formation of ridges. It would be best if you didn’t keep your nails painted all the time, as this may cause them to become discolored with a reddish or yellowish hue. If your nails do change color, refrain from using any nail polish for a couple of weeks, and they should return to their natural state.
Let Your Feet Soak
You can let your feet soak in warm water, or you can opt to use magnesium-rich Epsom salt or essential oils. Essential oils vary in aroma and can help you feel relaxed, energized, or provide a more indulgent and sensual feel to your self-care routine. Regardless of what you use, you’ll want to soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes. Soaking your feet will loosen dry skin and soften the thick, hardened skin on the balls of your feet, toes, and your heels. Remember not to make the water too hot, as that can pull moisture from the skin, causing your feet to become dry and cracked. Take a toenail brush and gently scrub your toenails when you finish soaking.
Remove Calluses & Corns
Do not try and remove all the hardened skin in one session. To completely remove calluses or corns may take up to a couple of weeks or several sessions. When you file at the hardened skin, make sure you aren’t filing too deeply. While removing calluses can help prevent the formation of cracks, filing too much can also cause the skin to split if you apply pressure to the overly thin tissues. Not only will this cause pain and bleeding, but it also raises your risk of infection. Remember, you want to remove dead skin while saving the healthy tissue.
Time To Trim Your Toenails
Use a sterile, stainless steel nail clipper for this step. Make sure you cut straight across and round the edges with a nail file. These precautions will help prevent ingrown toenails from forming. You may also push your cuticles back during this step, but do not cut them. There is no good reason to cut your cuticles. All you’re doing is increasing the risk of splitting and providing bacteria and fungus easier access to the nail bed.
Break Out the Paraffin Wax
If you haven’t already tried a paraffin wax treatment, now is your time to do one. You can invest in all the equipment you need either online or at local beauty supply stores. The warmth of the paraffin wax helps increase blood flow and opens the pores in the skin of your feet. The more open your pores are, the easier it is to absorb moisture. Eventually, the wax bath will begin to cool. Once this happens, wrap your feet in a towel to help maintain the therapeutic heat for a little bit longer.
Moisturize & Massage
You’ll want to ensure that you’re using an emollient moisturizer for this step. Now that you’ve softened up the tissues, it’ll be easier for your feet to absorb the emollients in the lotion, leading to softer, well-hydrated feet. As you apply the lotion, gently massage it into your skin. The massage will help stretch the tendons in the toe joints and the arches of your feet. This is particularly helpful if you have plantar fasciitis (a disorder of the tissue that supports the arch of your foot). After applying the lotion, put on a pair of old socks (ones you don’t mind getting dirty) for an hour or two. Known as occlusive therapy, using socks will ensure that your feet absorb as much moisture as possible from the lotion.
Take Care of Your Feet Every Day!
At The Foot & Ankle Center, we believe in showing our feet love every day. Healthy feet can take you a long way. Make sure to always be on the lookout for conditions like athlete’s foot, nail fungus, excessive feet perspiration, and even inappropriate footwear that can cause blisters, corns, calluses, and more. If you’re concerned about your foot health or just have questions about how to keep your feet looking and feeling good, request an appointment today. We’re always here to help!