How To Keep Your Feet Healthy: Men’s Guide
Let’s be honest with ourselves, guys — our feet can get pretty nasty sometimes. Whether due to an active lifestyle, a busy job that keeps you on your feet, or genetics, your feet can get smelly, achey, or even infected. Thankfully, it’s never too late to start doing something about it. Taking care of your feet doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. Small, preventative measures here and there can improve your foot health and have you ready to rock sandal season with confidence.
Foot Care for Men
Although every man’s foot care needs differ slightly based on his own body, there are a few general guidelines to follow that apply to everyone. Follow them and you’ll enjoy healthy, attractive feet that you can be proud of.
Wash Your Feet Regularly
It sounds obvious, but how often do you thoroughly scrub in between your toes with soap in the shower? This is a step that goes a long way in preventing the onset of athlete’s foot. It’s equally as important to dry your feet thoroughly afterward to prevent fungal infections.
Cut Toenails Correctly
When it comes to men’s toenail care, a lot of people make the mistake of cutting their toenails in an arc shape. This often leads to ingrown toenails. Instead, sterilize your clippers with rubbing alcohol and cut your toenails straight across without going too short; otherwise, you could weaken or infect the nail bed.
Wear Clean Socks
Podiatrists highly advise that you change your socks once or twice a day to keep your feet dry and free of odor and infection — especially if your feet are prone to excessive sweating. If this is the case, wear breathable materials that regulate your temperature and keep your feet cool.
Wear Properly Fitted Shoes
Shoes are meant to protect your feet while you work and play. Ill-fitting shoes do the opposite, so your feet are more likely to develop calluses, ingrown toenails, hammertoes, stress fractures, corns, and plantar fasciitis. If your shoes aren’t comfortable, you probably need to size up or down — or add gel insoles to give your feet more support.
Don’t Walk Around Barefoot in Public
If you frequent locker rooms, never allow your feet to touch the bare floor. Public places are breeding grounds for fungal infections and bacteria. Bring a pair of flip flops to wear in public showers and, when putting shoes back on, sit on a bench and put your shoes on one at a time so your feet don’t touch the ground.
Moisturize Your Feet
Yes, your feet need moisture, too! If you have dry, thick, callused skin, a hydrating foot balm can deliver much-needed moisture to the deeper layers and relieve rough, cracking feet. Apply a non-greasy moisturizer once a day to clean, dry feet — preferably before bed. For best results, put clean socks on afterward to ensure maximum absorption.
Get Professional Pedicures and Massages
A professional pedicure will exfoliate and remove the dead outer layers of your skin to reveal soft, smooth, polished feet. A nail professional will also treat your nails and give you a light massage to promote circulation and alleviate pain.
Common Foot Conditions in Men
Now that you’re familiar with some of the most basic foot care tips, let’s go over what can happen if you ignore them. The following conditions are common foot ailments among men:
- Athlete’s foot: This is an agonizing fungal infection characterized by itchy, burning rashes, blisters, and more — usually between the toes and on the sole of your foot. It’s contracted through warm, damp places like public swimming pools and even the inside of your sweaty shoes. It can be treated with over-the-counter medication or prescriptions in extreme cases.
- Calluses: These aren’t necessarily an irritating or painful condition, but calluses are unattractive and usually contribute to rough, weathered-looking feet. They’re caused by repetitive rubbing from your shoes and can easily be treated via exfoliation, better-fitting shoes, or a doctor’s intervention.
- Plantar fasciitis: Your plantar fascia is a tissue band that serves to support the arches of your feet and your toes to your heel. If your shoes don’t fit properly or you overexert yourself athletically, you are prone to tears in this band of tissue that can cause pain and swelling. This condition can be treated with orthotics, pain relievers, physical therapy, or a splint.
- Nail fungus: This is a secondary condition that arises with the onset of athlete’s foot. The fungus spreads from the skin to the nail bed and causes unsightly discoloration, crumbling, and pain. It can take several months to get rid of it when treated at home with over-the-counter remedies, but a podiatrist’s intervention can clear it up in a few weeks.
- Warts: These are caused by viruses and can be contracted in public places or passed directly from person to person. Keep your feet clean and covered and don’t wear second-hand shoes, if possible. Warts usually go away on their own, but if they cause you any pain, a dermatologist or podiatrist can remove them for you.
Best Products for Men’s Foot Care
For optimal foot health, we recommend having toenail clippers, cushioned insoles, antifungal medications, and a callus buffer on hand at all times, as well as a disinfectant for spraying your shoes. You may not need them every day, but you should use them on occasion for prevention and have them available to save yourself from pain and discomfort if you develop a foot condition.
The DefenAge skin care line is also complete with a 10 Luxe Hand & Body Cream that hydrates skin all over the body and uses age-repair defensins to encourage the formation of new skin cells for fresh-looking feet.
When to See a Podiatrist
Despite your best efforts, some foot conditions can still arise and make life insufferable. If you’ve developed any of the following conditions, you’ll probably need to visit a podiatrist for a medical-grade solution:
- Brittle or discolored nails: Fungal infection, injury, psoriasis, and eczema can all contribute to discolored or brittle nails. If the discoloration doesn’t grow out, a podiatrist may need to rule out melanoma. A podiatrist can strengthen your nails with a good trimming and shaping and diagnose any underlying conditions that you may not know about.
- Foot pain and/or swelling: If you’re suffering from swelling or persistent foot pain, don’t wait to visit a podiatrist. You could have an edema, undiagnosed injury, preeclampsia, or other condition requiring swift treatment.
- Ingrown toenails: Don’t try to dig out your own ingrown toenail if your toe is draining or inflamed. You could inadvertently cause a nasty infection that makes the condition even more painful. Instead, visit a podiatrist who can safely perform a minor surgical procedure to alleviate the pain.