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Primary & Secondary Lymphoedema Online & in the Community

Healthy Feet

I am always being asked about feet and it is difficult to give answers when your are not a health care practitioner or Podiatrist. 

Those of you who have lymphoedema in your feet should be seeking professional help this also 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.

Foot Hygiene

One of the first places that an infection can get into your body is through your feet. Therefore, it is very important to wash your feet every day.

  • 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 including heels, knees and legs daily to keep the skin in good condition
  • Use non-scented soaps and moisturisers
  • See a Chiropodist or Podiatrist regularly

The above scrunchy helps me reach my 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-management.  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 antifungal cream or antifungal powder.  On cracked broken skin use antiseptic cream with a clean dressing.


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

This could be from a stubbed toe or simply not moisturizing the tips.  Every part of your foot needs to be moisturized as part of your daily routine. If your feet are exposed then you will need to moisturize 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 manicure and have been going to the same place for 25 years.  However, these days I tend not to go for a pedicure.

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

Manicures and pedicures do pose a risk to health if the beauty salon is not scrupulously clean and the tools are not sterilized after every customer. Beauty Salons are not trained to deal with infections and their work however good they might be is only cosmetic.  Which is why you should visit especially for your feet a qualified chiropodist or podiatrist.


Whether you have arm, leg, head or neck lymphoedema, elevating that part of the body is essential to allow the fluid to drain.

Thank you to L-W-O member for allowing me to use this photograph.


If you are more likely to wear socks in winter to keep your feet warm then make sure you change them every day.  This will prevent bacteria building up and being transferred to your feet.  Preferably use cotton socks.

If you prefer to wear tights, ankle or knee highs, they should also be changed everyday. Good shoes are also important to give your feet the support they deserve.

Make sure your socks and hosiery are not too tight and that they do not leave indentations.  If possible wear socks that are seamless.


Foot Care

  • Wear well-fitting footwear for support and to protect your feet and 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 and use anti-fungal powder to prevent athlete's foot, or if you have symptoms of it, such as peeling skin
  • Wear clean socks or stockings 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

​Visit our Foot-care page for more in depth information on how to take care of your feet.


First published July 2017

Page last updated 05/06/2019