As stressed in Socks 101, keep your feet as dry as possible when wearing shoes or boots—your feet work hard and can sweat up to a cup a day from their hundreds of thousands of sweat glands. Moisture provides a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. It also softens the skin and causes fabrics such as cotton to compact and form wrinkles, all conditions that can lead to blisters and foot discomfort and diseases. Moisture can also lead to smelly feet, shoes and socks. If possible, air out shoes 24 hours between wearing. Try to find shoes that have mesh or vents to allow moisture to vent out of the shoes. You may want to dab antiperspirant on your feet or spray it into your shoes to slow perspiration.
Thoroughly dry your feet after showering and wear clean socks. Use flip-flops or such when using public gyms—the locker room floors are vast breeding grounds for germs. Don’t use other people’s manicure tools or nail clippers—they can also be germ carriers. If you have smelly feet, hit them with some disinfectant spray or apply some cornstarch or antifungal or antibacterial powder. If you get nail fungus—indicated by yellow or white spots on the nails, eventually destroying the nails, sterilize your clippers and manicure tools in alcohol before or after use, wear looser, breathable shoes or sandals, avoid cotton socks in favor of synthetics (sweat factor), or use antifungals early and late in the day. Bring your own sterilized tools to nail salons. Check with your doctor who may prescribe pills such as Lamisil or Penlac or even a photodynamic therapy to kill the fungus.
FOOT CALLUSES & CRACKING:
Save yourself some discomfort and a possible trip to the podiatrist. Use any of the types of pumice stones or callus abrasive tools to shave down foot calluses. Then apply a small amount of hand or body lotion to the callusing part of your foot. Both men and women will be pleasantly surprised at the results in a matter of days. If not, then maybe it will pay to see a specialist. Sometimes, just replacing the flimsy factory inserts in your shoes can reduce callusing. See below.
There are plenty of people who use or wear orthotic foot beds in their footwear. Excluding those with special medical conditions, we have found that there is a broad range of results from the use of such devices. So the first rule of thumb is to find a purveyor who is highly recommended by many customers. We have encountered people who have gotten good and bad results when sourcing through a podiatrist. Similarly, pedorthists are capable of the highs and lows. The bottom line is whether the source will stand behind their product, going so far as to refund your money if no benefit is delivered. Ask first about the guarantee and demand a good policy. Some in medicine think they are immune from standing behind what they prescribe. At $300-500, the buyer should be able to count on positive results. If not, move on. It is surprising that there should be such a range of results for common problems. One of our staff who had to threaten to sue to get a refund on a terrible set of orthotics, succeeded in getting a great set from a second highly regarded source, after a 10 day wait, then bought a pair is ski boots from a small retailer who custom made a fabulous set of inserts while he waited—the difference is probably the durability. One further comment is that the inserts sold in many boots and shoes are so flimsy that they will completely break down in a matter of months. Be aware that you can do your feet a big favor by replacing these inserts with a more substantial aftermarket inserts in fairly short order.