Blossoms are popping up all over, which means summer is on its way and it’s time to say goodbye to socks and shoes. But are your feet ready for summer? Ballito podiatrist Nelfrie Kemp looks at the naked truth.
Discolouration on your nails is not normal – it could be as a result of damage to your nailbed, a fungal infection, a deficiency, or underlying health condition. Don’t hide the discolouration by covering it up with polish, gel or false nails. I suggest you give your nails “breathers” in between nail polish applications. In fact, during winter I don’t use any nail polish, which enables me to monitor my nail health. Consult a podiatrist for treatment.
Are your nails thick and have they changed shape? This could be as a result of damage/trauma to the nailbed or certain health conditions, but treatment can restore your nails to their youthfulness.
To prevent ingrown nails keep them cut short. Longer nails in closed shoes can dig into other nails or become ingrown. The best treatment is to identify the cause and seek professional help. Having the entire nail pulled off is not the solution.
Heels require continual TLC to prevent and treat dry cracked heels. Apply cream daily and use a foot file.
In summer I suggest applying cream and wearing socks for about half an hour before putting your sandals on, which allows the cream to be absorbed. Apply cream before putting on your trainers – even if you’re only training for an hour. It’s better than nothing. Avoid going barefoot or wearing open-back shoes which just aggravate the problem. Painful cracked heels? Seek professional help.
Corns and callouses
These develop in areas where there is an increase in pressure or friction. This could be caused by your shoe shape, foot mechanics or foot structure. Identify the cause and treat. Medicated corn plasters can cause more damage and discomfort when not used properly. Seek professional help by visiting a podiatrist.
Plantar warts, verrucae, moles and changes in skin.
Plantar warts and verrucae are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), and your body needs to build up an immunity towards it to get rid of it. Both topical and internal treatment is often needed, and surgical excision is not always successful as it may leave scar tissue which can be sensitive.
Skin moles can be found on your feet, in between your toes and under your nails – which is why it’s so important to know your feet and examine them. Consult with a professional if you notice anything new or change in colour, size or texture. Your skin is your biggest organ and is an indicator about your overall health. Don’t ignore changes in your skin. If topical OTC treatments don’t work, seek medical advice.
TOP 10 TIPS FOR HEALTHY FEET
1. Cut your nails “straight” following the contour of your nailbed.