Healthy body

Tips on foot care

These tips from the College of Podiatry will keep your feet in good condition and help prevent problems.

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 like 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 or you could damage fresh skin underneath.

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'll always be comfortable.

Footwear tips for work

Depending on the type of work you do, you may need to wear specialist footwear, such as shoes with hard reinforced toecaps or anti-slip soles.

If you wear high heels at work, wear comfortable shoes on your way to work and change into your heels when you get there.

The College of Podiatry has more information and advice about footwear for work.

Limit time wearing high heels

Only wear high heels and pointed shoes for special occasions.

If you wear heels, try to vary your heel height. Wearing a heel that's higher than a couple of inches (about 5cm) on a regular basis can damage your feet.

Wear the right shoes

Always wear the right shoes for the job – so not sandals for mountain climbing!

The College of Podiatry has more information and advice about shoes for sporting activities.

Change socks daily to avoid foot odour

As well as changing your socks regularly, wear socks made of cotton, wool or bamboo.

These allow your feet to breathe and help keep them at the right temperature.

Specialist socks are also available for different sporting activities.

Wear socks that fit

Make sure your socks fit properly, paying particular attention to the width for your foot and ankle.

If you have swollen feet, look for socks designed to accommodate your swelling. Elastic-free socks are available to help prevent them cutting into your leg.

If you have difficulty feeling your feet properly (neuropathy), make sure there are no knobbly seams inside your socks that may rub and damage your skin.

Turning your socks inside out can help prevent rubbing.

Protect your feet in communal areas

Wear flip-flops or pool shoes to avoid getting athlete's foot and verrucas when using public areas such as gym showers or swimming pools.

Take care with flip-flops

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

A podiatrist can help with foot problems

A podiatrist can help if you have a problem such as unexplained foot pain.

It's very important to have your feet checked regularly by a GP, nurse or podiatrist if you have a health conditon that affects your feet, such as diabetes, poor circulation or a low immune system.

Find a podiatrist

Page last reviewed: 25/10/2018
Next review due: 25/10/2021