We spend so much time thinking about skin care for our face, neck and décolleté, but what about our lower extremities?
“There are more than 7,000 nerve endings in each foot,” says celebrity aesthetician Tammy Fender, whose onsite reflexology team provides reflexology during her signature holistic treatments. “Our feet are so connected to our physical well-being, and I’ve seen over many years how reflexology can help release our stuck emotions and offer powerful cleansing. On a physical level, it can create deep relaxation, but it also releases emotional tension and helps us clear energetic blockages.” Maybe that’s why foot care has moved to the forefront of our minds in the last year, and with more pampering treatments and aesthetic procedures in this category, foot relief has become a leading form of self-care.
To de-stress and treat your feet at home, Fender says to grab an ultra-rich lotion and begin by massaging your feet to alleviate pain and stress. “You simply can’t go wrong by doing what feels good. Pay attention to your ankles, and also your big toes. Throughout your day, walk barefoot as often as possible, exploring pressure points by rolling your feet against the floor. Go up on your toes, and then rock back onto your heels.”
Common Foot Treatments
According to Miami podiatrist Abraham Wagner, MD, aesthetic foot procedures are more common than most people think. He’s built an entire practice around solving unsightly and sometimes painful foot concerns for people who fear open-toe shoe season. “I would say 75 percent of the cases I see are aesthetic. We perform a lot of surgery for bunions and hammertoes, and right now, toe shortening is at the top of the list,” he notes.
Summer weather can exacerbate hyperhidrosis, which can present as perspiring feet. A 20-minute soak in warm water with 3 to 4 tablespoons of baking soda or black tea can help, as well as antifungal powders and foot antiperspirants. “We can also inject the undersides of the feet with neurotoxin to block the nerve signals responsible for sweat,” advises New York dermatologist Julie Russak, MD. “This will stop those glands from overproducing sweat.”
Overuse, strain and inflammation on the plantar fascia ligament that connects the heel to the toes can cause plantar fasciitis, a common source of heel pain. “Cortisone injections can often help, but I prefer platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments,” says Dr. Wagner. “Minimally invasive percutaneous procedures and low-level shockwave therapy can work well, too.” Some doctors also address this with off-label Botox Cosmetic injections.
Bunions + Hammertoes
Unfortunately some common foot concerns such as bunions—the bony, painful bumps at the inside of the big toe—and hammertoes, which are caused by a bend in the toe’s middle joint, tend to look as bad as they sound. Dr. Wagner says minimally invasive techniques with very small incisions allow him to get patients’ feet ready for their close-ups again. “We do not use any pins, plates or screws. We also implement intricate and delicate splinting and bandaging techniques postoperatively—we don’t want to leave noticeable scars. The end result should be to show off your feet, not hide them even more.”
About 5 percent of people worldwide—that’s 367 million people—deal with issues related to extreme sweating.International Hyperhidrosis Society
Believe it or not, toe reshaping is a thing, and Dr. Wagner says in addition to shortening or lengthening toes, he’s also been tasked with slenderizing toes that are thicker, wider and/or stubbier than the patient would like, or in true fairytale fashion, to fit better in narrower shoe styles. “A toe tuck is basically just debulking the toe and removing excess fat or tissue—think of it like a tummy tuck for the toes.”
The shock-absorbing fat pad on the bottoms of the feet can shrink and shift with age, making walking, running and wearing high heels extremely painful. “They protect the feet’s bones, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and nerves,” explains Dr. Wagner. “Filler has been a viable solution for years, but it’s temporary. What we’re doing more of now is autologous fat transfer to the feet. I work with a board-certified plastic surgeon who extracts the fat, which is then mixed with platelet-rich plasma and reinjected into the foot.”
Foot care just got a major upgrade. Try these new must-haves to smooth and beautify feet from heel to toe:
Smooth, baby-soft and callus-free are how the StarSkin VIP Fab Feet Fast Treatment Kit ($33) leaves feet feeling in less than 10 minutes.
The witch hazel in Megababe Toe Deo Foot Spray ($14) helps minimize sweat production, while deodorizing lavender and mint keep feet smelling fresh.
To gently exfoliate and peel in just one to two weeks, apply Nature Love Lavender Mint Exfoliating Foot Masks ($15), put your feet up and relax.
Kniepp Calendula & Orange Foot Repair Butter ($22) harnesses the soothing effects of calendula, as well as the hydrating and nourishing properties of shea butter and essential oils to soften feet.
Slip on dpl Slipper Foot Pain Light Therapy ($169), which feature strategically placed LED lights, on days when your feet feel tired, achy and sore.
Antioxidant-rich and formulated to draw impurities out of the feet, Naturally London Refuge Cleansing Foot Soak ($22) doubles as an instant de-stresser.