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Nail Care, Beauty Tips

Common Foot Care Problems: Expert Tips to Get Pretty & Healthy Feet Fast

Common Foot Care Problems: Expert Tips to Get Pretty & Healthy Feet Fast

Treat these common foot problems to your keep feet pretty and pain-free.

Athlete’s Foot

You may notice dry, peeling, or cracked and itchy skin, especially between the toes. It’s a fungal infection contracted from dressing rooms, pools, or hotel rooms. Untreated, it can spread to your nails.

Use an over-the-counter antifungal spray or cream, such as Lotrimin AF, twice a day for four weeks. Treat your shoes and the rest of the family’s feet — it can spread in your shower or around your pool.

To prevent future infections, wear flip-flops in public spaces, moisture-wicking socks, and shoes made of breathable material, such as leather or canvas. If the infection persists, your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication.

Calluses and Corns

Calluses and corns are a buildup of dead skin that forms along pressure points such as the heels, toes, and bony areas of feet.

To eliminate these pesky spots, use a pumice stone or foot file every day after showering and slather on over-the-counter creams that contain lactic acid, like AmLactin, to hydrate and exfoliate the skin.

Avoid medicated callus and corn remover pads, though, because they can actually burn and further aggravate your skin. For tough cases, your podiatrist can prescribe stronger moisturizing lotions.


Hammertoes are a deformity of the second, third or fourth toe. The middle joint starts to bend down, so the toe becomes clenched or claw-like. Painful calluses may form on the top of the joint as well.

Wearing tight or too-small shoes can also aggravate the condition. Hammertoes can occur at any age but tend to get worse as we get older — and if a family member had them, you might develop them, too.

To get relief, try wearing roomy shoes with a wide toe box. Surgery to correct this problem is also an option in some cases.

Ingrown Toenail

This painful condition is common if you’re a dancer, runner, or play sports since it can cause your toes to tightly jam against your shoe. Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of the nail grows into the surrounding skin fold — it’s most common on the big toe.

To treat an ingrown toenail: Soak your foot in an Epsom salt bath (for 15 minutes twice a day) to reduce inflammation and avoid restrictive footwear. But see your podiatrist right away if there’s swelling or drainage, or if the pain doesn’t improve in a day or two because you could have an infection.

To help avoid ingrown toenails, cut your toenails straight across — rounded corners on the edge of the nail are more likely to grow into the skin.

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts, usually found on the sole of the foot, look like a little piece of cauliflower with tiny dark spots. It’s a virus you pick up by walking barefoot at the pool or in the locker room.

Try an over-the-counter wart removing product containing salicylic acid. Or try this home remedy, keep the wart covered with a small piece of duct tape, changing it daily, until the area of infected skin peels off (at least two weeks).

The exact reason why duct tape works remains unclear, but it may be that duct tape diminishes oxygen to the area of skin. Sometimes warts can take months to go away, though, so if there’s no improvement after a few weeks of home care, see your doctor who can remove it by freezing if off (or using other chemicals).

Wait until the area is fully healed before going for your next pedicure.


A neuroma is a burning or tingling pain in the front of your foot, between the toes or in the ball of the foot. It can feel as if you’re walking on pebbles. It’s often caused by wearing very high or pointy shoes that squeeze the foot and compress the nerve.

To feel better fast, keep off your feet, wear roomy shoes, and pop some ibuprofen. But if it doesn’t improve in a week, see your podiatrist, who may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication. Custom orthotics may also help if a neuroma is caused by an abnormal gait.

Foot Odor

Closed shoes and sweaty feet can lead to some pretty powerful foot odor. If you’re prone to smelly feet, wear sandals when possible for better air flow. Or if you are a runner or an outdoor enthusiast, wear sealskinz socks to keep feet dry.

Rub cornstarch or antiperspirant directly on the soles of feet, wear moisture-wicking socks and avoid wearing the same shoes two days in a row so they can dry out. Best tip: A quick spray of Lysol in your shoes knocks down the bacteria that cause the odor.

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