Spring Cleaning 101: A How-to Guide on Whipping Your Feet Into Shape for Summer

Although it may not feel this way for many, summer is, in fact, just around the corner. The days of snow and cold will be swept away for an abrupt affair with spring, and then summer will come barreling in just in time to expose your toes.

With the whirlwind of seasons in high gear, it’s time to think about getting your feet ready for their grand appearance in festive footwear when summer finally strikes. Take a look at some of the ways you can give your feet a full makeover in time for fun in the sun.

Callously Remove Calluses

Calluses are the thick, hardened areas of skin found on the hands and feet where the skin experiences too much friction or pressure, such as when walking. The calluses are your body’s (ugly) way of protecting the area from damage.

Thankfully, there’s hope. Calluses, while unsightly, are easy enough to remove within a couple of weeks.

  1. Soak your feet nightly in a mixture of warm water and baking soda or Epsom salt to break down dead skin cells and soften the callus
  2. When you’re done soaking, dry your feet thoroughly (unless you enjoy fungal infections) and moisturize your feet, preferably with a lactic acid–based foot cream
  3. Put socks on to keep moisture in and cream off of your floor
  4. In the morning, take a callus remover to the area—such as a foot file or pumice stone—until the skin is smooth, but be careful: Overdoing it can result in torn skin
  5. Wear callus cushions, which can be found in most stores, to absorb pressure and prevent the callus from reforming while the skin heals

However, if you find that your calluses keep rearing their ugly heads despite your best efforts, you may want to consider having your feet checked out by a specialist. They can tell you if the structure of your foot is the cause of your constant callusing, and what footwear you can wear to combat it.

Kick Corns to the Curb

Basically, corns are calluses with a funnier name found on a bony protrusion of the toe or between the toes. Corns can be hard or soft, and the soft ones are seen more often between the toes and are white/gray in color.

These painful little inconveniences are usually the result of ill-fitting footwear that causes pressure and friction, such as high heels or flip-flops. So, in addition to wearing the proper footwear, there are a few steps you can take to keep corns away:

  • Apply lactic cream or ointment to help soften the hard corns
  • Gently grind away at the corn with the pumice stone you bought for your other calluses
  • Insert foam wedges between the toes to relieve pressure
  • Invest in customized shoe inserts that are professionally fitted to your feet
  • Reduce sweat between the toes by applying astringent or powder

Should all of these methods fail, you may need to consult a podiatrist about surgical intervention to realign the bones so pressure and friction are alleviated. DO NOT attempt to cut a corn from your foot—unless you want to know what a missing toe looks like on a foot.

Banish Bunions

Bunions are bony bumps that form at the base of the big toe, typically forcing the big toe to point toward the second toe. There are a number of things that can cause a bunion to form, including injury and certain types of arthritis, but most nonsurgical treatments only relieve the pain and pressure. Therefore, if you have a bunion, you might need to delay your feet’s warm-weather debut for just a bit in order to undergo a bunionectomy (bunion removal).

Nail Your Hammertoes

Hammertoe is a term used to describe a group of bone deformities in one of the toes (typically the one next to the big toe) that leaves it bending awkwardly. This condition is typically the result of poor footwear, certain nerve conditions or trauma to the toe(s).

Though hammertoes can leave your feet looking a little gnarly, there are remedies for getting your toes back in line, including:

  • Certain exercises that stretch and strengthen the toe muscles
  • Purchasing roomier shoes
  • Using pads or shields to reposition the toe and relieve pain
  • Utilizing different splints or slings to correct toe position

In certain situations, there are certain types of arthroplasty surgery that can correct hammertoes if nothing else works. On the bright side, the downtime following arthroplasty is minimal, so you’ll be romping through the sand in no time!

Time for a Re-Mole-Val of Your Moles

Removing moles on any part of the skin—including the bottoms of your feet—is less about beauty and more about safety, especially if you notice things like the mole changing shape or color.

If you think one of your moles seems suspicious (especially if it’s twirling an evil-looking handlebar moustache), let your podiatrist check it out to see if it needs to be removed.

Whack Warts Away

Plantar warts are rough growths located on the weight-bearing parts of the soles, such as the heel or ball of the foot. They are made up of callused skin over a defined spot or black pinpoint where the wart itself has grown inward. In most cases, they eventually go away on their own, but can also be treated with:

  • Cryotherapy to freeze the wart off
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Prescription-strength wart medications that contain salicylic acid

With so many treatment options available for whatever ails your feet, you can have your toes tapping just in time for the summer sun. Get started on beautifying your feet today!

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, contact us today.