10 tips on foot care

Read our top 10 tips on how to look after your feet, with special advice for the over-60s.

Your feet take the weight of your whole body, so foot problems can quickly lead to discomfort and affect the way you walk. This can in turn cause knee, hip and back pain.

Research from The College of Podiatry shows that nine in 10 of us experience some sort of foot problem, with one in five admitting to suffering with foot pain often or constantly.

Podiatrist Lorraine Jones says: "What this research shows is that a huge amount of people are willing to put up with sore, aching and painful feet.

She adds: "Your feet shouldn't hurt on a daily basis. If you are experiencing discomfort it is usually because you aren't wearing the right footwear. You don't need to put up with it so do seek professional advice."

Here are 10 tips from the College of Podiatry to keep your feet in good condition and prevent problems:

Foot facts

  • Each foot contains 26 bones and more than 100 ligaments.
  • Your feet contain more than a quarter of all the bones in your body.
  • The skin on your feet has more than 7,000 nerve endings.
  • There are more than 125,000 sweat glands on each foot, more than anywhere else in the body.
  • Your feet produce an eggcup’s worth of sweat each day.
  • Wash your feet often

    Keep your feet clean by washing them every day in warm soapy water, but don't soak them, as this might destroy your skin's natural oils.

    Dry your feet well

    Dry your feet thoroughly after washing them, especially between the toes which is where fungal infections such as athlete's foot can develop.

    Moisturise and file

    If your skin is dry, apply moisturising cream all over the foot, except for between the toes. Gently remove hard skin and calluses with a pumice stone or foot file – don't overdo it though or skin will grow back harder than ever.

    Cut toenails carefully

    Trim your toenails regularly using proper nail clippers. Cut straight across, never at an angle or down the edges. This can cause ingrown toenails.

    Shoe shop in the afternoon

    Shop for shoes in the afternoon. Your feet swell as the day goes on and if shoes fit in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest, you can be assured they will always be comfortable.

    Footwear tips for work

    If you have to wear heels at work, wear comfortable shoes to and from the office and only wear your smart shoes once you're in the office. Also, try to vary the heel height, between low, medium and high. Read how to choose the right footwear for work.

    Limit time wearing high heels

    Be shoe savvy. Wear high heels and pointed shoes for special occasions only, and always wear the right shoes for the job (so no sandals for mountain climbing). Read this survival guide to high heels.

    Change your socks often to avoid foot odour

    Change your socks daily to keep your feet fresh. Read advice from the Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists on buying socks.

    Read how dirty socks can cause smelly feet.

    Watch out for foot bugs in communal changing areas

    Wear flip-flops to avoid catching athlete's foot and verrucas when you use public areas such as gym showers, swimming pools or hotel bathrooms. 

    Take care with flip flops

    You can't wear flip-flops all the time. They don't provide support for your feet and can give you arch and heel pain if you wear them too much.

    Foot pain advice for over-60s

    If you're over 60, foot care becomes even more important. Age takes its toll: your skin thins, your joints begin to stiffen and your feet become more vulnerable to the cold.

    Not only that, but as podiatrist Emma Supple says: "Physically, it gets more difficult for us to get to our feet, and failing eyesight doesn't help."

    Emma says: "Go to see a professional for a foot MOT every six months and never put up with foot pain as if it is normal. Your feet shouldn't hurt."

    Read footcare tips for older people.

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