Insights from a leading podiatrist

Expert insight from leading podiatrist ahead of National Feet Week 2022 (7-13 March): Did you know that a shocking 40% of Brits do not change their socks every day, with 5% admitting they change them less than once a month, a new survey out reveals.

  • Nearly half of Brits don’t change their socks every day, putting them at greater risk of fungal foot infections
  • More than a third of Brits are unhappy with their feet – being voted as our ‘least favourite’ physical attribute
  • Podiatrist warns of the risks of neglecting our feet and says we should look after our feet in the same way we do our teeth

The survey, which was commissioned by Nailner for National Feet Week (7th – 13th March), also highlighted that 39% of Brits check the health of their feet and toenails less than once a month, with more than 1 in 10 (13%) admitting they never check the health of their feet and toenails.

Well over a third (40%) of all Brits do not realise that problems with feet such as cracked heels, dry skin, odour and verrucas could be a sign of a health condition including low immunity, diabetes or poor circulation.

Podiatrist Dina Gohill, says “It’s shocking to learn how little care people are taking of their feet as they are great indicators of your overall health and wellbeing. Changing your socks every day is one of the key steps to keeping our feet and toes in great condition. It’s normal to have a certain amount of fungus and bacteria living on our feet, but when this gets out of control, it can cause infections which can linger for months and months. The longer you wear your socks, the more you are creating an environment to encourage growth. Socks should be worn for no more than 12 hours before being washed and changed.”

More than a third (34%) revealed they are not happy with their feet, with this being voted Britain’s least favourite physical attribute.

And while it will come as no surprise that most people look after their feet during the Summer months, we completely neglect them throughout Spring and Autumn, which can cause long-term conditions that are harder to treat, warns Dina.

“We should give our feet the same care and attention we give our teeth or skin, and people should be looking after their feet all year round – after all, they carry us everywhere! While I understand the reasons people pay more attention to their feet in the Summer, forgetting about them for the rest of the year is likely to increase your risk of fungal nail infections, brittle nails and veruccas which can take longer to treat.”

But despite feet not being top of our priority list, we’re not afraid to give someone else “the boot” when it comes to feet and our love lives.

Nearly 4 out of 10 Brits (39%) say that it’s very important or somewhat important that the person they are dating has nice feet, with almost a third admitting they’d consider breaking up with something because they had horrible feet or bad foot health.

Dina says, “As a nation, we really need to start practising a regular foot health regime – similar to our dental or skin care regime. Ideally, for soft and supple feet, you should apply a specially formulated foot cream every day. In addition, people should try to practise a self-care “ritual” on their feet at least once a fortnight. This includes a warm foot soak (in the bath or an at-home spa), filing away dry skin, keeping nails short and a gentle foot massage with a nourishing foot cream to keep skin supple and reduce cracked heels. Not only will your feet thank you for it, but it’s a great excuse to take some time out to relax and unwind too. It’s also important for people to check out any concerns about their feet with a GP or podiatrist – as problems such as overly sensitive or extremely dry or cracked feet could indicate a wider health issue such as poor diet, low immunity or even diabetes.”

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