Dad tried to ingrain foot care into us. Maybe it was because the athleteís foot he caught in an army shower led to him meeting Mom. But as with so many things, I didnít actually Ďget ití until much later. Itís part of taking care of myself, and, as Iíve written before (and will continue to!) most overweight people have trouble with that step.
Itís not a matter of vanity, as I used to think. Itís about health and comfort. Shoes fit better, there are fewer holes in the socks, fewer ingrown toenails, fewer runs in the stockings. Bottom line, walking is more comfortable. But perhaps most important, especially for those of us with a history of deep vein thrombosis [blood clots in the leg] or diabetic foot problems, soft feet mean fewer infections. Those nasty little cracks in un-cared-for feet let infections in, and we all know where THAT leads Ė antibiotics, and maybe a hospital stay. Soft feet donít develop cracks; youíll have to step on a nail to break the skin.
So, take the time to give yourself a pedicure. You donít have to run to the nail salon (although itís a wonderful experience). Soak your feet Ė in a basin, or after a shower Ė then trim your nails, and file them so that there are no rough spots. Use something to scrub away the dead skin, either a pumice stone or a yummy foot scrub. There are many on the market, but you donít have to spend a lot of money on them. Making your own is easy, and you can dress it up or down with essential oils or herbs.
The basics: either sea salt or Epsom salts plus some kind of oil Ė baby oil is fine. So is sweet almond oil. Iíve even heard of people using olive oil, but that gets a bit greasy in the tub. I knew one woman who used a sugar-baby oil combination, but sugar crystals generally have sharper edges than salt [itís the chemical structure of them] so I prefer salt.
Use about equal parts of salt and oil, although you can certainly make it Ďsaltierí or Ďoilierí if youíd prefer. Use this as is, or add some wonderful essential oil or chopped fresh herbs – lemon, lavender, mint, whatever suits your fancy. Mix it all in a jar, and itíll last for weeks.
To use, scoop up a couple of good tablespoons, and scrub it all over your feet. Pay special attention to the rough spots like the heel. (My tough spot is the outside of my feet.) Rinse well, and rub a good, thick moisturizer all over your feet. Stick your feet in some white cotton socks if youíre going to bed and want to keep the moisturizer next to the skin.
If you want to paint your toenails, go right ahead, but be sure to wipe the moisturizer off the nails with a bit of nail polish remover so that the polish will stay on.
This may sound like a major undertaking, but it really takes only a few minutes. Concocting the perfect scrub fragrance and proportions will probably be the hardest part. Youíre worth it. Remember that!