Summer Foot Care

WebMD Live Events Transcript

It's time for those tootsies to step out in sandals. Are your feet ready? Before you walk the boardwalk, stroll along the sands, or play in the park, talk with podiatrist Oliver Zong, DPM, about the best way to care for your feet in the summer heat. He joined us on June 23, 2005.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

MODERATOR:
Welcome to WebMD Live, Dr. Zong. Thank you for joining us today. It's that time of year -- everyone wants pretty feet.

ZONG:
It's good to be here. Thank you for having me.

MODERATOR:
What are the most common complaints you get this time of year?

ZONG:
This time of year our most common complaints come mainly from women and it has to do with wearing open toes, sandals, and going to the beach and showing off their feet. Most complaints are cosmetic rather than medical at this point. They range anywhere from fungal nails to corns and calluses and include cracked heels; they can range also to deformities such as bunions and hammertoes.

MODERATOR:
Let's start with corns and calluses -- what do you suggest to deal with these?

ZONG:
You'll have your garden-variety corns and calluses that are relatively minor that women will complain about, and for that you can visit your local nail salon to have a pedicure and that will usually take care of minor corns and calluses.

For thicker, more severe corns and calluses you can visit your local foot doctor who will be able to address these more severe problems appropriately. But at home, you can try different types of moisturizers and creams. One can also utilize pumice stones after a shower, bath or after soaking your feet in a foot spa, which tends to feel very good in the summer.

"A nice trick is to take a heavy cream such as Vaseline, and I've even heard of people using Vick's VapoRub, on their heels. The way you would use this is to apply a thick coat of the cream on the heels and wear a pair of socks over the cream while you sleep."

MEMBER QUESTION:
I heard that there is an infection you can get from a nail salon, so I haven't gone for a pedicure for a while. My cousin in California told me about it. What can you tell me about this infection?

ZONG:
The most common infection you can get from visiting the nail salon is fungal nails. This often will arise from salons that do not adequately sterilize their instruments.

One way you can protect yourself is to try to find a salon that is reputable and does sterilize their instruments. If you cannot assure this, you can also purchase your own instruments and bring them to the salon and have them perform their services with your instruments. That should help reduce your risk of catching a fungal infection of the nails.

MEMBER QUESTION:
Is it OK to use a callus shaver? My heels get so callused that a pumice stone won't help and neither do creams. My heels get dry and sometimes even crack. How can I avoid this?

ZONG:
Generally it's probably not a good idea to use a sharp instrument on your feet because it's difficult to control the instrument on yourself as opposed to when a professional is performing a service on your feet.




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