You aren’t washing your feet properly, and it’s going to damage them

Science and Health

If you thought it was enough to splash feet in soapy water in the shower, you’re wrong. In fact, you’re causing health damage by not washing your feet thoroughly. This is how to prevent problems.

The mistake in the washing technique is understandable since most people don’t actually wash their feet but think that if they kick them around in the soapy water at the bottom of the shower stall, that’s enough. Now, doctors say that this habit must change, and it’s time to give feet the care they deserve. Remember, they carry the weight of our bodies while we run around all day.

Dermatologist Dr. Rosmy Barrios explained that the minimal effort of wetting feet with the soap left over from washing the body isn’t enough and that not thoroughly washing feet can lead to serious infections. 

Rozmi told Reader’s Digest that washing feet is an essential aspect of good hygiene. It’s important to wash your feet thoroughly with warm water and soap, paying special attention to the areas between the toes. If feet aren’t washed properly, this will lead to various problems.

Possible problems if you don’t wash properly

Bad smell: Smelly, stinky feet won’t harm your health, but you definitely want feet that are clean. Rozmi said that feet tend to accumulate sweat and bacteria, which causes unpleasant odors. She added that bacteria that live on the skin and shoes actually eat sweat and make feet smell bad. Cleaning feet well will keep bacteria under control and prevent unpleasant odors and infections.

A woman’s feet after a pedicure (Illustrative) (credit: WALLPAPER FLARE)

Fungal or bacterial infections: Because bacteria thrive in moist, dark places like inside shoes and socks, fungal, bacterial, or viral infections can be an unfortunate result. A common fungal infection is athlete’s foot. Fungal nail infections can occur if toenails aren’t properly washed and trimmed, which leads to cracked and black nails. 

Although bacterial foot infections are less common, some can occur due to poor hygiene, like eczema. Barrios stated that some infections have serious consequences. Untreated foot infections can lead to foot amputation, especially in people with weakened immune systems or conditions like diabetes. So it’s essential to prioritize foot care as part of a hygiene routine.

Dry and cracked skin: While dry, cracked skin on feet, especially around the heels, isn’t a sign of unwashed feet, it shows that dead skin has accumulated there and that the feet aren’t moisturized enough. Feet quickly dry out if one sits in hot water for a long time. The amount of moisture that seeps out will take time to replace.

As recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), apply moisturizer to your feet after showering. AAD claims that the best foot moisturizer formula should contain 10% to 25% urea, alpha hydroxy acid, or salicylic acid and should be applied immediately after showering.

Wash feet the right way:

First, make sure to wash your feet daily. Rub the feet and the areas between the toes well. It’s not enough to just walk on soapy water! Then dry feet well, especially between the toes.

While washing feet, check for cuts, wounds, swelling, or dryness. If any of the above four appear, take care of it before the situation gets worse.

Keep toenails trimmed and clean. Change socks at least once a day, more if sweat accumulates. Wear pairs of shoes on alternate days to give time for each pair to dry out.