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To care for your feet:

  • Keep your feet clean. Wash your feet regularly.
  • Check your feet often (or ask a family member to do it for you). Look for cuts or any changes.
  • Make sure your feet are dry before putting on your shoes. Fungus thrives in warm, moist areas, so if you get a fungus infection, treat it immediately.
  • Keep blood moving to your feet. For instance:
    • Put your feet up when you are sitting down.
    • Stretch.
    • Walk.
    • Get a gentle foot massage.
    • Take a warm foot bath.
    • Don't sit for a long time or keep your legs crossed for too long.
  • The shoes you wear should:
    • Fit properly so unnecessary pressure doesn't hurt your feet. (To learn more, click here.)
    • Support your feet.
    • Be made of natural materials or materials that absorb moisture and let air pass (so your feet can breathe more easily).
    • Be alternated instead of wearing the same pair every day.
  • To prevent infections:
    • Keep your feet clean and dry - including the area between toes.
    • Consider dusting your feet every day with foot powder.
    • Change shoes and socks or stocks often.
    • Don't buy tight shoes.
  • Common foot conditions can often be treated at home or with an over the counter product you can purchase at a pharmacy. Some conditions and remedies are discussed in Common Foot Problems And What To Do About Them. Also ask your local pharmacist if there are over the counter remedies that can help.
  • If you have a continuing problem, call your family doctor or a doctor who specializes in treating feet (known as a "Podiatrist.") You can locate a podiatrist at: offsite link


Tips For Making Sure Your Shoes Fit

The following tips are from the National Institutes of Health:

  • Shoe size may change as you age so always have your feet measured before buying shoes. The best time to measure your feet is at the end of the day when your feet are largest.
  • Most of us have one foot that is larger than the other; fit your shoe to your larger foot.
  • Don't buy shoes by the size without trying them on first. The size marked inside the shoe may not fit you.
  • Walk in the shoes to make sure they feel right.
  • Choose a shoe that is shaped like your foot. Styles like high heels or pointed toes can hurt feet.
  • Stand up when trying on shoes to make sure there is about 1/2 inch between your toe and the end of the shoe.
  • Make sure the ball of your foot fits comfortably into the widest part of the shoe.
  • The heel of the shoe should not slide up and down on your heel when you walk.
  • Soles should give solid footing and not slip. Thick soles cushion your feet when walking on hard surfaces.
  • Don't buy shoes that feel too tight and hope that they will stretch.
  • The upper part of the shoes should be made of a soft, bendable material to match the shape of your foot.
  • Low-heeled shoes are more comfortable, safer, and less damaging than high-heeled shoes.

Common Foot Problems And What To Do About Them

Fungal Infections, such as athlete's foot
Fungal infections happen because our feet are in shoes most of the time. Shoes are warm, dark, and moist--the perfect place for fungus to grow. A fungus can cause dry skin, redness, blisters, itching, and peeling. It can be hard to cure.

Over-the-counter anti-fungal powders or creams can help.

If your foot does not get better within 2-4 weeks, talk to your doctor.

Dry skin

Dry skin can cause itching and burning feet. Use mild soap in small amounts and a cream or lotion on your legs and feet every day. Be careful about adding oils to bath water since they can make your feet and bathtub very slippery.

Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are caused by pressure when the bony parts of your feet rub against your shoes. Wearing shoes that fit better or using special pads may help.

You may feel better if you use some over-the-counter medicines, but they do not treat the cause of the problem.

See your doctor, especially if you have diabetes or circulation problems.


A wart is a skin growth caused by a virus. Warts are sometimes painful and may spread if not treated. Over-the-counter products rarely cure warts, so you may need to see your doctor.


Bunions develop when the joints in your big toe no longer fit together. They become swollen and tender.

If a bunion is not too painful, wearing shoes cut wide at the toes and instep (middle part of the foot), taping the foot, or wearing pads that cushion the bunion may help. Physical therapy and shoe inserts can bring relief. See your doctor. Medicines can help with pain. Sometimes surgery is needed to relieve the pressure and repair the toe joint.

Ingrown toenails

An ingrown toenail is caused by a piece of the nail breaking the skin. This can happen if you don't cut your toenails straight across so the corner of the nail can be seen above the skin. Use clippers made to cut toenails. Ingrown toenails are very common in the large toes. A doctor can remove the part of the nail that is cutting into the skin so the area can heal.


A hammertoe is caused by a shortening of the tendons that control toe movements. The toe knuckle grows and pulls the toe back. Over time, the joint gets bigger and stiffens as it rubs against shoes. This can affect your balance. More space in the shoe or stocking can help. In very serious cases, surgery may be needed.

Spurs are calcium bumps that grow on bones of your feet. They are caused by stress on the feet. Standing for long periods of time, wearing badly fitting shoes, or being overweight can make spurs worse. Sometimes spurs are painless. At other times, they can hurt. Treatments for spurs are foot supports, heel pads, and heel cups. Sometimes surgery is needed.

Swollen feet may be a sign of more serious health problems. If you continue to have swollen feet and ankles, see your doctor.