WATCH: Podiatrists reveal five things they wouldn’t do as podiatrists
From using peeling masks to wearing shoes without socks, two podiatrists have revealed the five most important things you should never do. It seems we all make some common faux pas.
Podiatrists Louise Reaney, 57, and Emily Sharp, 30, run a clinic together, and spend their days up close and personal with feet.
So whatever bad habit you can think of, they’ve seen it all before, making them all the more equipped to warn others against making the same mistakes, shared in a TikTok video that has surpassed 800,000 views.
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The duo, from Sheffield, say the number one rule is that you should never wear shoes without socks, which Reaney says is like “wearing the same pair of socks day after day without washing them”.
“Feet are designed to sweat a lot,” she adds.
“They have millions of sweat glands and the skin on your feet needs sweat to lubricate it in order for the skin to function.
“Wearing socks helps you soak up more sweat. Without socks, it can create a moist environment for your feet, leaving you open to fungal infections.”
Sharp also says she would never wear flat ballet shoes if she was out walking.
“There’s nothing for your feet to hold onto when you’re wearing ballet-style flats,” she explains.
“You need shoes that your feet don’t have to claw at.
“They’re so narrow and there’s no room for your toes to touch the ground, and people wear them without socks too!” Now that would be a double fault.
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Perhaps most surprisingly, Reaney, a podiatrist of more than 25 years, also encourages people to never use foot exfoliation masks (not to be confused with regular foot moisture masks).
“If you go into a drugstore, there will be a whole section of foot and face masks, and they’re great for moisturizing your feet,” she says, distinguishing the difference.
“But they also make foot peeling masks that look the same and they’re not as good.
“They contain salicylic acid—which can be good for removing calluses—but these masks often remove more than just the calluses.”
Apparently, they can do more harm than good.
“It actually continues to strip away good skin, and that can make people feel really concerned,” she explains.
“They continue to peel even after the peeling mask is done.
“It really dries out your skin, and then your foot naturally sweats, which can result in cracks and fissures and become quite sore.”
She adds that “so many” people have commented on the new TikTok, saying things like: “I’ve used a foot scrub mask – never again!”
The mother-daughter foot experts explain that perhaps the most controversial advice they give is to never let anyone remove your cuticle (the thin, hard piece of skin at the base of your finger or toenail) during a manicure or pedicure (or indeed, alone).
“Many manicurists remove the cuticle to make the nails look pretty,” they explain.
“I would just be very hesitant to do that, as the cuticle is a barrier to prevent infection from the skin to the nail.
“Nail tissue is constantly moving microscopically forward, so the skin layer is there to protect against infection.”
If you push the cuticle too far back, you are at risk of creating infections.
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And last but not least, they strongly advise against using a blade on your own feet. While the reason for this may seem obvious, Reaney and Sharp confirmed that they’ve still had people come in with “sores and infections” after trying DIY surgeries.
“We use scalpels a lot to remove calluses and thick skin, but we’re very trained to do that,” adds Reaney.
“Your feet are right under my nose in my line of sight, so it’s much safer.
“When you do it yourself, it’s at the other end of the body and it can be very dangerous.
“People come in with sores and infected areas after trying to do it themselves.”
The top five things the couple say they would never do as podiatrists are:
Would not wear shoes without socks
Would not wear flat ballet shoes all day to walk in
I wouldn’t use a foot peeling mask – the skin falls off the feet
I wouldn’t let someone remove the cuticle as part of a pedicure or manicure
I wouldn’t take a blade to my own foot