by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac. ~

Summer is the time when our feet are most exposed to the elements. So now, more than ever, is the time to take care of those tootsies! Bones form the basic structure of our feet. There are 26 bones in each foot alone. Here are some good general tips for all feet:

* Wash your feet daily. Rinse off all soap and dry thoroughly, especially between toes.

* Trim nails straight across, and not too short. Don’t cut out or dig at corners.

* Do not trim, shave, or use over-the-counter medicines to dissolve corns or calluses

* Wear clean socks or stockings, changed daily. Don’t wear any that are too short or too tight.

* Wear shoes that fit.

* Wear shoes made of leather or canvas – not synthetics. Sandals are good.

* Switch shoes from day to day.

* Use foot powder.

* See your doctor if severe problems persist.

* Get a manicure –Set aside twenty dollars or so to get a manicure AND pedicure. It is so worth it!

* Scrub those feet –Make sure you are exfoliating the tops, sides, and bottoms of your feet at least twice a week in the shower. You want your feet soft for the summer sandals.

* Tan hands and feet –If you use a self-tanner on your hands and feet,use a make-up sponge to blend well around the fingers and toes. If you take your time in applying carefully, it will look very natural.

* Foot refresher –After soaking feet in warm water, massage feet with a mixture of 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon crushed dried peppermint. Remove with a warm, damp washcloth.

* Hangnails –Pierce a 400 IU-vitamin E capsule and massage a drop into hangnail to soften and speed healing.

* For nails that are nourished from the inside out –Try supplementing your already healthy eating plan with MSM. This natural sulfur source from the sea speeds the growth of your hair and nails.

* Exfoliate your feet! –Use a loofah sponge to exfoliate tops, sides and bottom of your feet. Remember to scrub all of your toes too.

* After drying with a fluffy towel, apply your favorite moisturizer generously and then put on a thick (warm from the dryer) pair of socks on for a pampered feeling.

* Give your nails a break –Take off your acrylic nails and let your fingertips breathe. It will take a while for them to recover, but it is a healthier (and less expensive) way to maintain your nails.

* Bath Trim! –After showing or bathing, trim your toenails and smooth any rough edges with a file.

* Use a pumice stones on calluses and make it a habit to use a foot file on the bottom of your feet and heals at least once a week. This will keep your feet ready for any sandal at any time.

* Natural nail file –Use a popsicle stick to file your natural nails.

* To help your nail polish glide on –Dip a cotton ball in a facial astringent to remove any excess oil on your nails. Your polish will go on much smoother.

* Foot calluses –Always use a pumice stone. Do not use razors or other cutters.


Exercise for your feet

Your feet have a big job to do. That is why it is important for your feet to always be supple and flexible, no matter what age! Exercises for your feet can be done practically anywhere… so you have no excuse.

Yoga therapy has wonderful exercises to keep the feet smooth, flexible and pain free! Yoga can develop proper alignment of the knees, ankles and feet. It can help to prevent such foot problems as bunions, plantar fasciitis and shin splints.

1. Increased flexibility, relieves hammertoe and bunions : Sitting in a chair, rest your heels on the floor. Be sure the heels are in line with the knees. Inhale as you flex your toes, so there is space between them, them, slowly lift them up toward your knees, flexing the angle of the feet. Exhale and press through the center of the feet as you place them back on the floor. Toes are the last thing to touch the floor. Keep your heels on the floor the entire time. Repeat 15-20 times. Improve the flexibility of your feet, click here.

2. Strengthens ankles and calves : Face the wall with your feet together. You can use the wall for balance only. Press up through the feet, lifting your heels as high as possible. Slowly lower. Repeat 15-20 times. For additional help with this pose and variations, click here.

3. Relieves plantar fasciitis, strengthens arches: While sitting, place your foot on a towel on the floor and scrunch the towel toward you with your toes. Scrunch the towel inch by inch, so it bunches up under your arch. Repeat 15-20 times. For more plantar fasciitis exercises, click here.

4. Relieves symptoms from bunions: Weave the fingers of one hand between each of the toes of your opposite foot. With a firm grip, massage and stretch the toes and ball of the foot. Open the space between the toes and work on the mobility of the foot. Repeat 15-20 times. Relieve symptoms your feet experience, click here.


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