Foot Health 101: Learn How to Treat Your Feet

If the shoe fits, wear it – and other tips for happy tootsies.

Woman legs on green grass
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4. Fungal infections: Thick, yellowed, crumbling nails – that's fungus, Brenner says. And it's caused by anything that lifts the nail plate from the nail bed like shoes that don't fit (notice a theme here?). Treat a fungal infection by soaking feet in a bath of Epsom salt and tea tree oil for 15 to 20 minutes followed by a topical antifungal medicine. Then, see your podiatrist every two to three months to have the nail cut to remove the fungus.

5. Calluses: Often caused by how someone walks, calluses can be treated with orthotics to correct a person's gait, Brenner says. Some people don't mind the extra padding on their feet, she says. For everyone else, she advises having the calluses shaved down by a podiatrist every two to three months. Also, moisturize your feet with a good cream and seal it into your skin by wearing a sock for 40 minutes to an hour, she says. "The more you moisturize your feet, the stronger the integrity of the skin is, so it's harder to break down." Finally, you can help to scrub away calluses twice a week with an exfoliant, especially one that contains pumice, she says.

The bottom line, so to speak: When it comes to foot health, pain will alert you to a problem. Pay attention and, if pain persists, see a doctor.

[See: 11 Health Habits That Will Help You Live to 100.]