Watch: Foot doctors reveal five things they wouldn't do as podiatrists
Two foot doctors have revealed the five most important things you should never do, from using peeling masks to wearing shoes without socks. It seems we're all making some common faux pas.
Mum and daughter podiatrists Louise Reaney, 57, and Emily Sharp, 30, run a clinic together, spending 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 off making the same mistakes, shared in a TikTok video surpassing 800,000 views.
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".
"Out 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 to allow the skin to work.
"A sock on helps you soak up more sweat. Without socks it can create a soggy environment for your feet, which leaves you open to fungal infections."
Sharp also says she would never wear flat ballet-style shoes if out walking.
"There's nothing for your feet to hold on to when wearing ballet-style flats," she explains.
"You need shoes on that your feet don't need to claw on to.
"They're so narrow and there's no space for your toes to get contact with the ground, and people wear them without socks as well!" Now that would be a double mistake.
Read more: What does your poo say about you?
Perhaps most surprisingly, is that Reaney, a podiatrist of more than 25 years, also urges people to never use foot peeling masks (which shouldn't be confused with regular foot moisturising masks).
"If you go in to a pharmacy, there'll be a whole section of foot and face masks and they're great to moisture your feet," she says, distinguishing the difference.
"But they also do foot peeling masks which look the same and they're not as good.
"They contain salicylic acid – which can be good for the removal of hard skin – but these masks often remove more than just the hard layer of skin."
Apparently, they can do more harm than good.
"It actually keeps removing good skin and it can make people feel really distressed," she explains.
"They continue to peel even after the peeling mask is finished.
"It really dries out your skin, and then your foot sweats naturally which can result in cracks and splits and get quite sore."
She adds that "so many" people have commented on the new TikTok saying things like: "I've used a foot peeling mask – never again!"
The mother and daughter foot experts explain that perhaps the most controversial piece of advice they give is to never let someone remove your cuticle (the thin, hard piece of skin at the base of the finger or toenail) during a manicure or pedicure (or indeed, by yourself).
"A lot of manicures do remove the cuticle to make the nails look neat," they explain.
"I'd just be really hesitant to do that as the cuticle is a barrier to prevent infection from skin to nail.
"Nail tissue is constantly moving forward microscopically, so the layer of skin is there to protect from infections."
If you push the cuticle too far back, you're in danger of creating infections.
And last but not least, they strongly advise against using a blade on your own feet. While the reason for this might seem obvious, Reaney and Sharp confirmed they've still had people come in with "wounds and infections" after trying DIY surgery.
"We use scalpels a lot to remove callus and thick skin, but we are trained extensively to do it," adds Reaney.
"Your feet are directly under my nose in my eyesight so it's a lot safer.
"When you do it yourself it's at the other end of the body and it can be really dangerous.
"People come in with wounds on and infected areas after they've tried to do it themselves."
The top five things the pair say they would never do as podiatrists, in full, are:
Wouldn’t wear shoes without socks
Wouldn’t wear flat ballet style shoes all day to walk in
Wouldn't use a foot peeling mask – skin sheds off feet
Wouldn't let someone remove the cuticle as part of a pedicure or manicure
Wouldn't take a blade to my own foot