Wellbeing: Are your feet summer-ready?
Day in, day out, our feet take the greatest load of any body part, yet we tend to take them for granted. As the days get warmer and we think of bare feet in strappy sandals, it’s a good time to pay attention to those neglected but vital extremities.
If you have any foot or ankle problems, book in with a registered podiatrist (the modern term for chiropodist) who can first treat minor conditions such as dry, cracked heels, ingrowing toenails, corns and calluses, before advising on a course of action for problems such as athlete’s foot, fungal toenails and bunions. To find a local podiatrist, visit scpod.org.
Podiatry for long-term conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or peripheral arterial (vascular) disease should be available on the NHS , so discuss this with your GP.
Lower level laser therapy (LLLT) is a recent addition to foot treatments. Podiatrist Margaret Dabbs advises it for a range of painful or inflammatory conditions including bunions, plantar fasciitis (heel pain), tendonitis and wear and tear. A colleague with a catalogue of chronic foot problems was so impressed with the Margaret Dabbs medical pedicure that she is booking in for the course of three to six laser treatments, as well as a three-monthly medi-pedi for routine upkeep. ‘My fungal nails look so much better and the gentle laser eased my arch pain,’ she says. She also reports that Margaret’s Foot Hygiene Cream, £20, has cleared her athlete’s foot, while daily applications of the Intensive Hydrating Foot Lotion, £25, are combating rough, dry skin.
Margaret Dabbs Medical Pedicure from £85; LLLT from £80. For more information and to buy products, visit margaretdabbs.co.uk.
If your feet are in good shape already, buff away any hard skin with a foot file: Scholl Dual Action Foot File, £4.99; Margaret Dabbs Professional Foot File, £24 with replacement pads. Or try an electric system such as Micro Pedi with two grades of roller both containing an antibacterial agent, £39.95, micropedi.co.uk. Always buff on dry skin – twice weekly should be enough. After washing, dry feet thoroughly, including between toes, and be diligent about applying hydrating foot cream daily. If your feet are really hard, moisturise before bed and then put on cotton socks.
• To avoid infection, don’t go barefoot in public places such as swimming pools, gyms or even beaches. Instead of ordinary flip-flops try foot-healthy FitFlop Iqushion Super-Ergonomic Flip Flops, £23.95, fitflop.com.
I’ve become a fan of a squidgy bolster to support my back while driving.
The filling uses bead and memory-foam technology so you can mould it to your shape but it remains quite firm. It is good for any back problems and also for breastfeeding. £29.99, goodlifeguide.co.uk.
Evidence is mounting that magnesium supplements can help depression, as well as restless legs, muscle cramps, aches and pains, fibromyalgia, constipation, sleep problems and headaches. This vital mineral also helps your body to absorb vitamin D. Since stress increases magnesium loss and there are virtually no side effects caused by taking magnesium (except possible diarrhoea with some formulations), it makes sense to top up, especially as many people are depleted owing to modern food productionand poor diet. The best timeto take magnesium is an hour before bedtime. It is also well absorbed through the skin. Recent researchused magnesium chloride, the basis of Better You Magnesium Oil Original Spray and Magnesium Oil Sensitive Spray (for children and sensitive skin), both £12.20, victoriahealth.com.