Foot Care Tips: The Benefits of a Pedicure and Finding a Good One

Ah, spring is finally here and that means summer is right around the corner. And of course with the change of the season also comes a change of wardrobes � or they will once the weather cooperates. People will be wearing short-sleeve shirts and tank tops, shorts and cropped pants and of course sandals.

People are dieting and working out getting their abs tight and their biceps and triceps ready to be shown off. Some will also be off to get a pedicure to ensure their feet look good in those sandals.

Why a pedicure? Because according to Foot Care Direct (http://www.footcaredirect.com) during a typical day, feet endure a cumulative force of several hundred tons and because healthy feet are vital to overall health. The average person walks approximately four miles every day or 115,000 miles in a lifetime. When someone is engaged in strenuous activities, the miles increase.

So pedicures can be a good way to help keep your feet healthy, looking and feeling good. And while the rest of may not feel good just because your feet do, the rest of your body won’t feel good if your feet don’t. A pedicure cleans feet, provides nail care and foot massages. A good pedicure can be very relaxing and if you have foot problems it can be very therapeutic.
Nails help protect the ends of our fingers and toes from trauma. Nails are made up of keratin, a hard protein. Protein is a building block for organs.

There are some things too consider when looking for a good pedicure. All instruments should be new or sterilized prevent the spread of fungus or disease. A pedicurist should be licensed and accredited and make you feel comfortable. If you are not at ease with your pedicurist, you should not proceed with the pedicure.

“Everybody’s feet are different and a pedicure should be specialized for you,” manicurist and pedicurist for LA Hairport Brenda Grasse said. “Tell your pedicurist what you want before they begin and if they do something you don’t like, tell them. A pedicure is a way to relax as well as a way to take care of your feet, if you don’t like something, aren’t comfortable with something or something hurts you’re not going to relax.”

According to Grasse, a pedicure should consist of soaking the feet, clipping and filing the nails, pushing the cuticles back, getting off the dead skin, applying lotion, a deep intense massage and polish (if wanted).

Grasse adds toenails shouldn’t be cut too short to help prevent ingrown toenails and says acrylic should never be applied to toenails.

Dr. Jason LeVitre, DPM podiatrist at Evanston Family Foot Care agrees with Grasse about cutting toenails too short and never applying acrylic to toenails.

“Toenails need to be able to breath and applying acrylic to them suffocates them and can lead to numerous problems,” LeVitre said.

According to LeVitre there has been a heightened awareness of the importance of exercise in America over the last 10 to 15 years meaning Americans are on their feet more. There is also more concrete in the country which puts more ware and tare on feet.

“Running increases stress on feet which adds to the stretching of feet and ware and tare on the joints,” LeVitre said. “Obesity also puts additional weight, strain and stress on feet. Our joints also become less flexible after our 20’s.”

To avoid problems with feet such as bunions, there are preventive methods such as having a podiatrist evaluate what type of foot you have, wearing supportive shoes or arch supports, wearing good shoes.

“Having a podiatrist evaluate what type of foot you have is a good idea because there may be a type of shoe that isn’t good for your foot,” LeVitre said. “The doctor may discourage someone from running or doing certain sports because they may be more prone to a foot injury because of the type of feet they have.”

According to LeVitre, the best time to buy shoes is at the end of the day because feet will be swollen and the shoe will fit better. He added there are three tests to determine if a pair of shoes is good:

1. Test the heal by squeezing it – it should be firm.

2. Test the sole by twisting it in the middle – it should not move

3. Where the big toe joint would be, bend the sole of the shoe – if the center buckles, it is not good. Only the toe of the shoe should bend.

“Running shoes are probably the best shoes out there,” LeVitre said. “Companies such as Brooks, A Six Gels and New Balance, put a lot of research into their shoes.”

Shoes should always be broken in and a person should be able to wiggle their toes to prevent hammer toes (curling of toes), toenail problems and metatarsalgia (painful ball of foot).

Soaking feet is a good way to keep them soft and clean but LeVitre warns that not drying your feet really well, especially in-between the toes can lead to problems like athletes foot and other foot funguses. Adding lotion afterwards is good too.
“Fungal toenails and athlete’s foot develop by not properly washing feet and by not keeping feet dry,” LeVitre said.
Podiatry has come a long way over the last 20 years. Podiatrist are in residency after medical school for two to three years, where in the past podiatrists did not have to do a residency.

“Podiatry has come a long way in the last 20 years, we don’t’ just treat your toes anymore, we treat your whole foot and ankle.”
According to Foot Care Direct, more than 70 percent of all people in the United States will have painful foot problems at some time during their lifetime. Foot pain is not normal.

LeVitre added foot care is also very important to people with diabetes. Tingling and numbness of toes and in the foot should be warning sign for everyone.

“Neuropathy is the leading cause for amputation in the nation,” LeVitre said.

Taking care of your feet is an important way to stay active and healthy. Buy shoes that are comfortable and have good support and are the right size. If you walk or run, stretch your feet first and always break in shoes before extensive use. Now, get ready for summer and treat yourself to a pedicure and start taking care of your feet today.

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