Foot Care

Did you know your feet grow and change throughout your life? Weight gain, weight loss, and normal aging can change the shape of your feet. Healthy feet are important to overall health. Take steps toward healthy feet by giving them daily care and wearing shoes that fit comfortably.

If you are diabetic, follow your doctor's advice about foot care. People with diabetes and poor circulation are at greater risk of foot problems. Corns, calluses, and blisters, can quickly become serious medical problems.

Daily Foot Care

Take a close look at your feet. Examine each toe, your heels, the top and bottom of your feet. If you cannot see the bottom of your foot, use a mirror. What do you see? Are there any calluses, coms, bunions or sore spots? Most foot problems are the result of shoes that do not fit properly.

Feet are often forgotten in the shower. Scrub you feet each time you bath or shower. Keep your toenails clipped in a square shape. Be careful not to cut nails too short, or they may become "ingrown toenails". Gently massage feet with a mild lotion. Wear shoes that fit and pay attention to special problems.

Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are usually minor problems. They are thick layers of dry hard skin. Friction and pressure on your feet cause them. Most disappear with care and shoes that fit properly. Wear soft leather or cloth shoes with plenty of toe space.

Treatment - To soften skin, soak feet for 15 minutes in warm soapy water. Using a pumice stone or wet wash cloth, gently rub the area. Regular treatment will reduce the thickness of callused skin. Repeat often until the skin feels normal. Scrub feet with a soapy wash cloth each time you shower or bath.

Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail is when the sharp end of the nail grows down into the toe. This happens often with the big toe. It can be the result of curved toenails cut too short and/or tight shoes.

Treatment - If the area is infected, see a doctor. If not, let the nail grow out, then cut it straight across. Your toenails should be cut square, not round. Avoid pressure on the toe by wearing shoes with a wide toe box. You should be able to wiggle your toes inside the shoe.


A bunion happens when the big toe overlaps the second toe. The place where the bone sticks out is the bunion. Bunions can be inherited. Women have bunions more often than men do. Forcing toes into tight high-heeled pointed shoes can cause them.

Your feet should not hurt when you walk. Constant pain can be a sign of more serious problems. If this happens, you may need to see a doctor or podiatrist. Podiatrists are not medical doctors. They are professionals licensed and trained to treat foot problems.

Proper Shoe Fit

  • Have your feet measured when you buy new shoes. Put both shoes on an dwalk around.
  • Buy Shoes toward the endo of the day when feet are larger from walking.

Prepared by Drusilla Banks, Nutrition and Wellness Educator, University of Illinois Extension.

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