1. Let nails go nude
It’s a well-known fact that podiatrists don’t like polish. “It forms a barrier over nails and contains chemicals that can harm the nail plate,” Miltchin says. “Nails become brittle and change colour with long-term use.” And lack of sterilization at salons spreads common infections, such as nail fungus. Leave nails au naturel in the cooler months, and see a podiatrist if you notice any white or yellow patches.
2. Make feet a family affair
“Does your family doctor ever tell you to take off your socks or walk around?” asks Miltchin. “No. And that’s why it’s important to have your family’s feet examined.” Although it’s never too late, if a podiatrist sees children before age six and corrects any imbalances, they may never develop foot problems in adulthood.
3. Go shoe shopping
Miltchin’s feet are comfortably encased in lace-up running shoes. “I’m not going to say everyone has to wear sneakers, but they are the best shoes.” A study by the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society found 88 percent of women wear shoes that are too small and 55 percent have bunions. “Women shouldn’t wear heels every day,” says Miltchin. A recent study in Foot & Ankle International found the higher the heel, the greater the pain and risk of deformity. (Heels should be 3/4 inch or less.) Not that ballet flats are much better. “They offer no support or shock absorption and should only be worn if you’re actually doing ballet,” Miltchin says. See some great examples of the types of shoes here.
4. Consider Botox
Mexican researchers recently discovered Botox may be better for relieving the pain of plantar fasciitis than steroids. Miltchin doesn’t use steroids or Botox but has had good results with lasers. (A study in Lasers in Medical Science found lasers help with both pain and healing in people with plantar fasciitis.)
5. Put your feet up
Rest, elevation and compression are the best ways to soothe sore feet. Miltchin also recommends using drying sprays in the morning to reduce sweat and moisturizer at night to keep skin supple. “Moisturizing your feet will help you avoid many problems, such as calluses,” he says. “Just use specifically formulated products, because the skin on your feet is up to 20 times thicker than on your face and body.”