WE tend to forget about our feet, away down there at the end of your legs, but they are an essential part of almost everything you do.
Whether walking, running, exercising, or just standing, having feet that are comfortable and well-cared for (rather than aching or in pain) makes everything much more enjoyable.
When your feet do not get the attention they need, problems can develop, which may trouble you for years to come.
Hard skin is a very common problem on the feet, this does not cause pain, and more like a slight discomfort but can appear unsightly and may cause the development of other conditions.
The feet are put under a lot pressure each day, carrying body weight and absorbing impact, this is why the skin on the feet are thicker than anywhere else on the body making them more durable.
The first signs of hard skin developing are the appearance of dry patches on the feet. These patches are usually seen on the heel, ball and side of the big toe of the foot.
As it worsens, hard skin can take on a yellowish colour, sometimes becoming grey or light brown and will continue to thicken and harden through time.
If hard skin is left untreated, it can lead to the development of calluses and corns which can be painful, and more difficult. Heels can become cracked and painful, and can sometimes even bleed if they are left without treatment.
This can be prevented by getting into a routine, and doing simple treatments yourself. Let feet rest and relax by soaking them in warm water regularly, this will soften the skin making removal of the hard skin easier.
Using a pumice stone or pedi egg on the heels, ball and sides of the foot and toes will help to remove any dead skin cells before it develops into hard skin.
It is important to dry the feet properly and then apply a rich intensive moisturising cream as the skin on the soles of your feet does not have any oil glands in them, this will help to keep skin soft and prevent hard skin from building up again. Wearing soft cotton socks over the cream at night time will help lock in the moisture.
Exercise your feet by adding marbles to the foot bath, roll your feet around on top of them to stimulate nerve endings, pick the marbles up with your toes, flex and contract your feet and toes and then let go of the marbles. This will help arches and muscles of your feet to stretch.
Mary Ferry is the proprietor of the Genesis Skin Care & Laser Clinic in Upper Dore, Bunbeg. Tel 07495 32575, www.genesissalon.ie. If you have a query you would like answered in Mary’s column confidentially, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org