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How to treat foot problems like cracked skin, blisters and ugly toenails

Beauty - By Mirror
Stick-on nails are a great solution for bad toenails

Perhaps you've got dry, cracked heels, blisters or peeling skin - whatever it is, it's easy to fear going barefoot when your feet aren't looking there best.

Thankfully you can fix your problems pretty fast and make them look polished, moisturised and preened to perfection.

We spoke to the experts to find out the best ways to do it.

Here's what they said...

‘I have three rules for healthy feet,’ says podiatrist Emma Supple of Supplefeet.com.

Follow them and you shouldn’t get hard skin building up and your feet should stay looking pretty and healthy...

1. Scrub them every day

‘Don’t just let water run over them in the shower, get down and scrub them with a bristled brush, like a nail brush.’

2. Moisturise daily

‘Use a proper foot cream (you wouldn’t put body cream on your face, so don’t put it on your feet either).

Choose something with urea in, which is able to penetrate the layers of skin on your feet effectively.’

3. Be shoe savvy

‘Avoid slingbacks, flip- flops and mules, which slap against the sole of your foot, and can cause hard skin to build up.

'High heels put a huge amount of pressure on the ball of your foot, and prolonged pressure will start to cause pain – gel insoles can help to alleviate this.

Just try to match your shoes to your occasion – don’t go walking in flip-flops and don’t wear towering heels more than you have to.’

In the hotter weather, when your feet get hot and swell, you might need a size up on your regular shoe size.

Avoid wearing heels for prolonged periods of time

4. Beat blisters before they appear

‘To prevent blisters, wear new shoes around the house with a pair of socks for a couple of weeks to get them used to your foot,’ says Tracy Byrne of Holistic Health.

‘Then when you wear them out for the first time, put plasters in hot spots where you're going to get blisters (don’t wait until you’ve got one) and take plasters with you.’

5. File your feet when they are bone dry

‘Not when you’ve just got out of the bath, or after a day in hot shoes,’ says podiatrist Tracy.

‘If you’re susceptible to hard skin (or wearing cheap shoes) you’ll probably need to file once a week.

Use a foot file, not a pumice stone – they harbour all sorts of bacteria.

'If hard skin builds up to the point you can’t get rid of it, see a professional.’

6. Go barefoot when you can

‘As long as it’s safe and hygienic,’ says Tracy.

‘It sloughs away hard skin from the bottom of your feet, and it allows your feet to move in the way they were intended, using all the tendons and ligaments - wearing shoes all the time makes your feet lazy.’

Scrub your feet with a foot file and avoid wearing shoes all the time

7. Faux nails for toenails

Wear fake toenails that are pre-glued, so you just press them into place.

Beauty director Lynne says: ‘I wrecked my toenails picking off a gel pedi and ripping half the nail away. Quick and easy to apply, these fakes did a brilliant job of making my feet instantly presentable.

'Fantastic, except they didn’t seem securely attached – I knocked my foot and a toenail pinged off.

'They’re fine as an emergency fix for a night out, but don’t expect an alternative to two-week gel nails.’

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