Feet: They take us anywhere and everywhere we want to go, but they also take lots of abuse. A typical day of walking exerts a force equal to several hundred tons on your feet.
One of the best ways to revive your tired toes is a pedicure - either at home or at the spa. Because when your feet feel good, your whole body feels refreshed and energized.
According to a recent American Podiatric Medical Association survey, 25 percent of women perform at-home pedicures, while 34 percent have indulged in salon or spa pedicures. Whichever way you pamper your feet, do it safely. Here are some tips from APMA member podiatrist Dr. Marlene Reid:
1. Soothe your soles. Smoothing away calluses on the heels, balls and sides of your feet will make them feel better. Use a pumice stone, foot file or foot scrub. You can make your own scrub by combining olive oil and sea salt. Avoid using a foot razor, which can remove too much skin and cause infection and permanent damage if used incorrectly.
2. Dry up. After soaking feet, make sure to thoroughly rinse off the scrub or other products and pat feet dry. Pay close attention to moisture between the toes, which can can lead to athlete's foot or other fungal infections.
3. Snip the tips. Toenails should be trimmed to just above the top of each toe. Use a straightedged toenail clipper to ensure nails do not become curved or rounded in the corners.
4. Make a clean sweep. Run a wooden or rubber manicure stick under nails to remove any dirt trapped underneath. Be very gentle and never use a sharp tool to clean under your nail or you may puncture the skin, leaving it vulnerable to infection.
5. Shape them up. Smooth nail edges by filing toenails with an emery board. File lightly in one direction to smooth the edge of the nail without drastically rounding the corners of the nail; don't saw back and forth.
6. Care for cuticles. Moisturize cuticles with a cuticle cream or hand cream, and then gently push them back with a rubber cuticle pusher or manicure stick. Cuticles serve as a protective barrier against bacteria entering the body and should never be cut.
7. Polish up. Nail polish locks out moisture and doesn't allow the nail or the nail bed to "breathe." Paint toes only if you have healthy nails and remove polish regularly with a non-acetone nail polish.