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Foot-care should be everyone's number one priority as part of your self-care and skin-care program.  It is highly likely that through your feet the first signs of infection occur. Your feet are important because along with the rest of your lower limbs they carry your body weight whether you are super fit or live with limited mobility, please take care of them.

I am always being asked about feet and it is difficult to give answers when you are not a health care practitioner or Podiatrist. Those of you who have lymphoedema in your feet should be seeking professional help, this includes those of you who are diabetic.

What's the difference between a health practitioner and a podiatrist?


A Foot Health Practitioner (FHP) is qualified to provide routine foot care and help you to maintain healthy feet. They can assess the condition of your feet give the appropriate treatment and if necessary, make a referral.

Podiatrists are health care professionals who have been trained to prevent, diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate abnormal conditions of the feet and lower limbs.  They also prevent and correct deformity, help to keep patients mobile and active, relieve pain and treat infections.

Image hands holding foot to depict self-care of feet

Foot Hygiene

One of the first places that an infection can get into your body is through your feet

  • Wash and dry your feet every day

  • ​Test the water temperature

  • Wash and dry between your toes carefully, it is so easy for an infection to start between the toes

  • If you can't reach your feet to dry them use a hairdryer on a low setting

  • Moisturise your feet daily including heels, knees and legs to keep the skin in good condition

  • Use non-scented soaps 

  • Use a non scented low pH moisturiser

  • See a Chiropodist or Podiatrist regularly

​There is often some controversy over whether to use scented or non-scented soaps and moisturisers. Our support group members prefer to use soaps and moisturisers that are chemical free. The amount you pay for a product isn't the issue whether its cheap, in between or expensive. Therefore, while I can give tips and advice in the end the choice is yours, but do wash your feet everyday and please don't forget to moisturise, good skin-care is essential.

Image Portable footbath

Portable foot bath if you have difficulty getting in and out of a bath or just need to soak your feet.

Image Toe towel

Foot Towel - dry between your toes. Essential to keep this are dry to stay infection free.

Image Lotion applicator

Lotion applicator - If you have limited mobility this handy tool helps to moisturise your feet.

Foot Infections

There are so many things that could go wrong with your feet so it is important that you look after them.  Signs to look for when foot health is deteriorating.

  • cracked or peeling skin

  • ​thickening of the skin

  • athletes foot

  • discoloured or thick toenails

  • ​ingrown toenails

  • ​numbness in your feet

  • ​deformity of the toes

  • cramp

  • ​swollen feet or legs

  • losing your balance


This is by no means the most comprehensive list of things that could go wrong and the tips and advice are to help with self-care.  You should always consult your own health care professional and see a foot health practitioner or podiatrist regularly.

If you do find an infection treat immediately by using an anti-fungal cream or anti-fungal powder.  On cracked broken skin use antiseptic cream with a clean dressing.


Puffy foot or ankle oedema may indicate underlying health issues and should be taken seriously, especially if the swelling has persisted for more than three months. While not all oedema is lymphoedema, the continued presence of oedema indicates that the lymphatic system is under strain. Speak with your general practitioner.

Wear your compression garments if they have been prescribed. If you do not wear compression on your lower limbs, make sure your shoes, socks, or stockings do not cause indentations. Ankles/feet need mobility so build the following into your #GetMoving routine.

  • ankle circles

  • toe to heel rocks

  • toe pointing and flexing 


Image painful cracked toe

When washing, drying and moisturising your feet, don't forget the tips of your toes

This could be from a stubbed toe or simply not moisturising the tips.  Every part of your foot needs to be moisturised as part of your daily routine. If your feet are exposed then you will need to moisturise several times a day.  Thank you to the L-W-O member for allowing me to use this photograph.

Pedicures and Manicures


I love to go for a pedicure or manicure and living with lymphoedema hasn't stopped me. There are a lot of myths saying that you shouldn't have a pedicure/manicure however, there isn't a reason for not going.  What I would advise is that the beauty salon you use is scrupulously clean and that they sterilise their equipment. I would further advise that you check out that your beautician has recognised qualifications and usually you will find these displayed in the reception area.

For those of us living with lymphoedema or diabetes one of the first places an infection can get in is through the feet.  Sadly, several years ago I caught a nail fungal infection by having a pedicure.  Luckily then I didn't have any health issues.  Clearing fungal infections takes a long time.

Beauty Salons are not trained to deal with infections and their work is only cosmetic.  Which is why I would recommend you should visit a qualified chiropodist/podiatrist for your        feet.



  • Wear well-fitting footwear for support and to protect your feet to avoid getting blisters.

  • New shoes - break in before wearing to a special occasion

  • Please do not wear flip flops, mules they are inclined to cause stress fractures not good for lymphoedema

  • Blisters can cause cellulitis

  • Regularly check your feet for signs of infection

  • Don't walk around barefoot in case you step on something or stub your toe

  • Don't walk around barefoot as you are more likely to pick up fungal infections

  • Wash and dry between your toes carefully

  • Use anti-fungal powder to prevent athlete's foot, or if you have symptoms of it, such as peeling skin

  • Cutting your own toenails? Use a Nail Clipper

  • Cut nails straight, leave some of the nail above the skin

  • Do not risk infection by cutting nails too short

  • Best time to cut nails is after a bath or shower

  • Moisturise your feet everyday 

  • Wear clean socks/hosiery everyday

  • Wear cotton socks but make sure they are not too tight

  • Make sure socks don't leave indentations

  • If you can, see a chiropodist regularly

Elevate your legs and feet to allow the fluid to drain.

Elevated legs on specially designed pillow
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