I don’t know about you, but I love the spring. I love seeing it rain instead of snow. I can’t wait for the trees to become green with flowers and leaves. I’m always glad to put my winter coat away. Although sweaters can be nice and cozy, I don’t mind trading them in for t-shirts and tank tops. And, of course, we can’t forget shoes!

Boots can be nice, but I love sandals and peep toe shoes or even flip flops. They allow your feet to breathe and be free from the insides of some dark, damp boot. To me the spring and summer are welcomed seasons for my feet. Sadly, there are many of my brothers and sisters who do not feel the same way. It could be the trauma caused by seeing or having jacked up, dry, crusty, dusty, yellow toe-nailed, old nail-polished, mangled feet. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I remember going for a pedicure once and the woman next to me was getting yelled at by the Asian woman doing her feet saying, “you don’t wash your feet? Use this [showing her a pumice stone]! This is how you wash your feet! Every day, use this!” I was mortified for that woman. The pedicurist was a little harsh, but she was right to a certain extent. You can fix your feet and you can start at home.

So to get you all ready for open toe season here are a few pointers to get your feet ready for the world. Since there’s so much information, this week we’ll start with foot fungus. Next week I’ll talk about softening your feet.

Getting Rid of Fungus

Foot fungus is probably one of the most common foot ailments. There are so many creams and potions out there to help take care of this problem. The two common ways foot fungus will manifest itself are toenail fungus and athletes foot. You can tell you have toenail fungus when your nails become discolored; usually yellowish to brown colors. Athlete’s foot symptoms are itching and burning sensations around your toes usually but can be anywhere on your feet. Fungus is also the main cause of “toe jam”.

Athlete’s foot is easier to treat than toenail fungus. You can get over the counter sprays and powders. The main thing is to keep treating it until it’s completely gone or for as long as the treatment says. Just because your feet don’t itch anymore or the toe jam is gone, doesn’t mean the fungus is totally gone. See the treatment through to the end.

A great home remedy that I’ve used for athlete’s foot is simple vinegar. It’s cheaper than most stuff for athlete’s foot and it works. Soak your feet in a solution of half vinegar and half hot water every day for one week. You just need enough to cover your feet. Make sure you throw the solution out after each use.

Toenail fungus is a tougher beast to slay. Most remedies will take a long time, sometimes up to a year. The reason is that you can’t fix the infected nail. You’ll have to kill the fungus and prevent it from spreading to new nail growth, so you have wait for the old, infected nail to grow out gradually. This can take up to a year. There are prescriptions you can take to get rid of the fungus internally, but they’ve been known to have side effects. You can go to the podiatrist and have it removed with laser or microdermabrasion.

If you have the patience, you can remove the fungus yourself with vinegar. Take a cotton swab and coat your nails with vinegar. Pay special attention to the cuticle. Do this in the morning and before bed every single day. It only takes a minute. Toenails grow pretty slowly so you’ll have to be patient. After about a month, you should start to see healthy nails start to grow. Gradually cut off the old infected nail as your nails grow. The key is to do it every day! Don’t give up.

The main thing is to prevent fungus from happening in the first place or prevent it from coming back. Fungus thrives in damp and dark places. Keep your feet dry. Change your socks daily or if they become wet. Wear ventilated shoes. Clean your shoes. Wash your socks in hot water. Get new socks more often. Remove nail polish often and allow your toe nails to get light.

Next week, I’ll talk about pointers on softening your feet. In the meantime, if you have funky feet or know someone who does, handle those feet before the summertime rolls around and it’s too late!

Until next time, cheers to a better you!

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