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Q and A: How to keep your feet sandal-ready all year long

April 13, 2017

Jessica Knight, D.P.M., AACFAS, NCH Podiatric Surgeon

Is it OK to wear shoes without socks?

You can develop athlete’s foot when wearing shoes without socks, as fungus thrives in a dark, moist and warm environment, such as a shoe. Ensuring your feet are clean and dry before applying a shoe and avoiding walking barefoot can help reduce the spread of the fungus. If your feet sweat a lot you may want to wear shoes that allow for breathing and ventilation.

Does putting lotion on my feet cause athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis, is a fungal infection of the foot. Athlete’s foot usually produces itchy, dry, scaling skin. It is commonly seen on the soles of the feet and in between the toes. Antifungal powders, sprays and/or creams are often used to treat athlete’s foot. However, ensuring that your feet are clean and dry before applying any lotion could prevent any fungal or bacterial infection.

Are there foods I can eat to help keep my feet healthy?

Peripheral arterial disease and diabetes are two common conditions that significantly affect the function and health of your lower extremity. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a diet low in saturated fat, trans fats and sodium, and rich in fruits and vegetables can help reduce your risk of peripheral artery disease. In preventing diabetes complications, the NIH recommends a diet rich in whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits, lean meats and a limited amount of fats and sweets.

Does nail polish cause toenail infections?

Nail polish cannot cause toenail infections, or onychomycosis; however, polish can lead to keratin granulation. Fungal infections thrive in warm, moist areas of the body. Toenail polish acts like a sealant, preventing moisture in the nail bed from evaporating through the nail. Make sure your toes are completely dry before applying nail polish, and always disinfect pedicure tools.

How can people with diabetes protect their feet?

Approximately 50 percent of individuals with Type 2 diabetes demonstrate some form of peripheral neuropathy, while only 20 percent are aware of the diagnosis. The International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot has released several guidelines for those with Type 2 diabetes, including scheduling regular exams and wearing appropriate footwear.

Who should get annual checkups with a podiatrist?

Annual checkups benefit everyone regardless of their age or past medical history. Foot pain is not normal. See a podiatrist if you are experiencing persistent problems!