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Exploring Womanhood > Mind, Body & Soul > Beauty Channel > Hands, Feet & Nails

How to Have Happy Feet for the Summer
Doctor Offers Tips for Healthy, Attractive Feet for the Barefoot Season

Summertime means bare feet. At the beach, at the pool or just walking in sandals, it's the season where your feet get to breathe. But how do you keep your feet healthy as you expose them to dangers like athlete's foot and other maladies that can make your feet itch, swell or just look ugly?

Dr. Maureen Jennings, podiatrist and spokesperson for Pedinol Pharmacal's Fungoid Tincture (www.fungoid.net) - a foot fungus remedy - says healthy feet are always important, but even more so during the summer.

"It's not enough just to keep your feet clean," said Dr Jennings. "A lot of people tend to ignore their feet, and as a result they expose them to all kinds of infections and problems that can cause them to be both unhealthy and unsightly. The last thing you want during the summer is to be forced to hide your feet because they're red, itchy or inflamed.

Dr. Jennings says there are 11 simple rules to follow for healthy, happy feet.

  1. Proper hygiene and regular inspection of the feet and toes are the first lines of defense against fungal infections.

  2. Clean and dry feet resist disease.

  3. Washing the feet with soap and water, remembering to dry thoroughly, is the best way to prevent an infection.

  4. Shower shoes should be worn when possible in public areas.

  5. Shoes, socks, or hosiery should be changed more than once daily.

  6. Toenails should be clipped straight across so that the nail does not extend beyond the tip of the toe.

  7. Wear shoes that fit well and are made of materials that breathe.

  8. Avoid wearing excessively tight hosiery, which promote moisture.

  9. Socks made of synthetic fiber tend to "wick" away moisture faster than cotton or wool socks.

  10. Disinfect home pedicure tools.

  11. Don't apply polish to nails suspected of infection--those that are red, discolored, or swollen, for example.

"Another thing to watch for ladies, is the nail salon," she said. "As times get tough, some salons are cutting corners on the sterilization of their tools and soaking tubs. Ask your salon attendant if they've washed their equipment before they start working on your feet. Germs and bacteria can grow in the tubs they use to soak your feet, so if it looks dirty, insist they clean it with soap and hot water before they refill it for your session."

Dr. Jennings also recommends being extra careful about foot care when visiting the gym. "Those showers and locker rooms at the gym are breeding grounds for all kinds of fungus and bacteria, but you can fight it if you make sure you dry your feet thoroughly after you shower, and put on a pair of clean socks after your shower. You wouldn't put on the same shirt you used for your workout after showering, so why would you want to wear the same socks from your workout after you cleaned up?"

About Dr. Maureen Jennings
Dr. Jennings has been a podiatrist in private practice for 23 years, and is also a well-published expert in the field of podiatric medicine. She is also the Executive Director of the Jennings Institute for Clinical Research and former Dean for Research at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. Dr Jennings was a fellow at the National Institutes of Health Fellow in Clinical Pharmacology at Cornell University Medical College (1985-1988), and is currently an adjunct professor in the Department of Science at Ocean County College.

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