Feet shouldn’t be neglected, says podiatrist Dr. William Knudson, but care for the lower extremities can be confusing. Here, Dr. Knudson sets the record straight on foot care.

Most feet require only basic care, explains Dr. William Knudson. But, how that care is carried out can mean the difference between dry, cracked feet and feet that deserve an audience.

According to Dr. William Knudson, washing feet daily with an anti-bacterial soap helps keep germs and unpleasant odors at bay. He recommends following this up with a weekly soak in warm water, a quick exfoliating treatment, and a coat of shea butter for soft and supple ankles, toes, and heels. Excessively dry/damaged feet may benefit from heel pads or a humectant balm, which helps retain moisture. Dr. William Knudson also suggests using sunscreen on the tops of the feet to protect from UV rays and burning.

Feet prone to athlete’s foot will fight irritating fungus when adequately guarded with an antifungal treatment. Dr. Knudsen regards proper foot hygiene as the best weapon against this ugly, itchy condition and reminds patients that feet must always be dried thoroughly, especially between the toes. Dr. William Knudson also cautions that toenail fungus isn’t quite as responsive to over-the-counter treatments and typically requires a medical diagnosis and doctor-supervised care.

Dr. William Knudson lauds a properly performed pedicure as a delightful relaxation experience that has the dual benefit of keeping feet healthy. He cautions, however, that an inexperienced salon may not follow best practices and says anyone interested in this indulgence should inspect the pedicure platform for the proper tools and cleanliness. Nail clippers should be curved to match the natural shape of the nail and a salon should use cuticle pushing techniques instead of removal to reshape the skin around the nail.

Supportive shoes are paramount to overall foot health, concludes Dr. Knudson. He says that the addition of good insoles can make comfortable shoes an even better fit.