Mumbai: Our hands and feet never stop working. One famous artist one said that the human feet are the masterpiece of engineering and a work of art. The feet deserve special care at all times and extra special care during the monsoons. Monsoons are the worst for the feet and they lead to smelly, crinkly looking feet. The humid, wet and sticky climate translates into wet shoes, sweaty feet, cracked toes, fungal infections, itching, athlete foot and other allergies. The most common foot problems in monsoons are
- Stinking feet
- Swelling around the nail folds
- Fungal infections
These problems can be easily taken care of by some simple foot care habits that you need to incorporate in your daily life
- Don’t jump in the puddle: The roads are full of dirty rainwater, which is mixed with all kinds of muck lying on the roads and is filled with virus causing bacteria. The best way is to avoid walking in rain and especially avoid stepping in any puddles.
- Dry and dry: The golden rule of foot care is to keep them as dry as possible. If by chance your feet get wet then dry them as soon as you reach home. If you keep wearing wet and dirty shoes in the office, you will end up with swollen and unclean feet that are vulnerable to cracks and infections. Keep an extra pair of shoes and socks in the office.
- Do not walk barefoot: As tempting as it sounds to walk barefoot on the cold floor or on wet grass in monsoon, you should refrain from giving into the temptation. Waking barefoot increases the chances of getting warts and makes the feet a fertile ground for bacterial infections and fungal infections, which is hard to treat.
- Wash the wet feet: Sounds strange but inculcate the habit of washing the feet as soon as you get home from work or even from an outing. Add some antiseptic liquid in lukewarm water and dip your feet in it. Let it sit for 10 minutes and wash your feet. Pat dry with a towel.
- Invest is a good antifungal talcum powder: Apply powder on dry feet and keep your feet in air for some time before wearing shoes or socks.
- Moisturize: Invest in a good foot cream that will keep your feet hydrated and prevent allergies and keep the heels soft and smooth. Apply the cream on dry feet twice a day, morning after the shower and night before going to bed.
- Trim the toenails: Overgrown nails are an invitation to the dirt and grime to accumulate under them and a breeding ground for fungal infections. Keep your toenails short and filed.
- Get some breathable footwear: Switch your heels for simple foot wear such as flip-flops, slippers, rubber boots, sandals etc. as they are easy to care dry and the water washes out easily. Avoid wearing closed shoes. Gumboots are a perfect choice for a walk in the rain. They keep the feet away from dirty water, and they are easy to care for. Never wear wet shoes. Dry the shoes overnight if you have been out in the rain.
- Cover the nicks and cuts with a waterproof bandage so that water does not enter the wound in any way.
Use the following simple home remedies to give your feet the extra dose of care that they deserve:
- Ground up some camphor into a fine powder and add it to the talcum powder. Sprinkle some of this mix on your feet before wearing shoes or socks. This will prevent smelly feet.
- Exfoliate: Once a week set aside some time for foot pampering. Soak your feet in hot water with salt or mild shampoo for 15 minutes. The salt will kill the bacteria and remove the bad smell. Take a pumice stone and gently scrub away the dead skin cells. Wash and dry your feet and apply a good foot cream.
- You can also use a papaya mask on the feet for exfoliation. Papaya softens the skin and improves cell turnover.
- To control sweating, add a few drops of lemon to hot water and soak your feet twice a week.
- Apply henna paste on the cracks on heels, crevices between the toes. Leave the pack to dry before removing. This will help curb the fungal infections.
- Mix apple cider vinegar with water and lemon and apply to the areas affected by fungal infections. Leave for half an hour and then dry the area. This mix will help control the itching too.
- Massaging onion juice between toes also helps in relieving itching.
- For soft and supple feet, make a mix of 3 tablespoons of rose water with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of pure glycerine. Apply this daily after washing and drying the feet.
- Use tea tree oil around the toes to get rid of the fungal and bacterial infections. Mix tea tree oil with aloe vera gel or juice for better results.
- Make a refreshing foot soak by adding 1 tsp of peppermint oil in half a bucket of water along with some neem leaves and half cup of coarse salt. Soak your feet for 10-15 minutes. Pat dry and apply talcum powder on feet.
- A foot mask made up of fullers earth, neem power, turmeric water and honey is excellent for feet health. Apply this mask once a week and soon you will see the results. You can replace multani mitti with ground orange peel. Wash the mask with water and massage your feet with olive oil. This will help relieve of the cracked heels too.
- Massage your feet with olive oil and wear cotton socks over them for a few hours as you relax. This will help soothe the aches and pain.
Written by Dr. Rinky Kapoor, Cosmetic Dermatologist & Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics (Views Are Personal)