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Health library

Get ready for sandal season

Photo of a woman standing on the beach, holding sandals.

April 4, 2024—It's time to trade winter's heavy shoes and socks for sandals. A simple foot-care routine can help your feet not only look good, but also feel better throughout the spring season.

Step into spring

A pedicure is a great way to pamper yourself, and it can improve foot health too. Follow these guidelines from the American Podiatric Medical Association for safe pedicures.

  • Soak your feet in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes to soften the skin and clean the nails. At a salon, make sure the tub is drained and cleaned for every client.
  • After soaking, use a foot file, pumice stone or exfoliating scrub to slough dead skin off the heel, ball and sides of the foot. Some salons offer a foot razor for this purpose. Say no to this tool; it can remove too much skin and cause infection.
  • Trim your toenails straight across to help prevent painful, ingrown toenails.
  • File your nails with an emery board. Move it in one direction, and don't put a lot of pressure on your nail. Emery boards can harbor bacteria, so at a salon, make sure you're getting a brand-new one. At home, don't share emery boards with anyone else.
  • If your nails are thick and discolored, avoid the temptation to cover them with polish; you might have a fungal infection. After the infection has been treated, it's safe to use polish.

It's a good idea to check your feet and ankles regularly.

  • Look for swelling, discoloration and blisters. Also watch for moles or freckles that don't seem normal.
  • Note the exact location of any pain, stiffness or loss of sensation.
  • Check your circulation by pressing on your big toe for about 5 seconds, then letting go. If you have typical circulation, your toe's normal color should reappear within 5 seconds.

Protect your investment

The Arthritis Foundation advises wearing shoes that fit well and support your feet. While sandals and flip-flops may feel good at first, they typically don't offer much support. Over time, they can cause short- and long-term foot problems. When choosing spring footwear:

  • Make sure the shoe has a cushioned sole, arch support and a low heel.
  • Look for sandals with straps to hold your foot in place, especially around the back of your ankle. Adjustable straps are a plus.
  • Choose athletic shoes if you're going to walk long distances.
  • Flip-flops may increase your risk of tripping or falling, so limit how long you wear this type of footwear.

Finally, remember to protect the skin on your feet with sunscreen. Apply it to the tops, bottoms and sides of your feet, and reapply as needed.

Do you have diabetes? Take extra steps to protect your feet.


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