Sandal season will soon be upon us. But if your toes are in need of more than a pedicure before you're willing to step out in style, what should you do? Kate Whiting asks the experts

When was the last time you you treated your tootsies to a little TLC? Feet often lose out in the beauty stakes, because frankly, when we're curled up on the sofa, they're out of sight and out of mind.

But as we get older (groan), our feet change, and can often cause pain or discomfort, says podiatrist Dina Gohil.

"As you age, your feet are affected just like the rest of your body. Skin can become more dry, nails more brittle and the fatty padding in the balls of your feet can migrate up, making them feel more exposed to the ground. Arthritis is not guaranteed for everyone, but is seen frequently with age."

Dina reveals the common foot ageing issues and how to deal with them...


These are one of the symptoms of a fungal nail infection, with 1 in 10 people suffering from the condition. Older people can be more susceptible to such an infection, due to factors such as a weaker immune system and symptoms of the menopause.

Dina says: "Fungal nail isn't caused by menopause but can come as a result of other problems linked to it. If menopausal women suffer from hyperhidrosis, this could include potential sweating of the feet, where the excessive moisture creates a warm and friendly environment where fungal nail can develop. If you suffer from brittle nails, you may also experience nail traumas, which can cause discomfort, and if your nails are not strong, it can be easy for fungal nail to easily set in."

Treatment: If you think you do have a fungal nail infection, try Canespro Fungal Nail Treatment Set (£29.99, Boots) which can remove the infected part of the nail in two to three weeks.


Most women (71%) have hard skin and cracked heels, according to research. But as you age, the skin dries out even more due to less collagen, a lifetime of placing pressure onto your feet, and even ill-fitting shoes.

Dina says: "Looking after your feet from an early stage in life will dynamically improve and maintain the health and 'foot age' of your feet. Using moisturisers specifically for feet can help maintain flexibility, reduce discomfort from dry skin, and the amount of hard skin that builds up too. Your skin is like a sponge and hydration is needed, so be sure to have enough water each day. The ingredient in foot cream that is most effective is urea."

Treatment: Try using a trusted heel balm, such as Flexitol Heel Balm (£5.49, Lloyds Pharmacy), which hydrates dry, cracked heels and feet, and contains 25% urea.


Due to a loss in collagen, the impact of each step can be more intense. Your feet have more than 30 joints which can deteriorate with age, so another cause of foot pain is arthritis.

Dina says: "Footwear is pivotal; wearing shoes that are supportive, comfortable and padded will definitely reduce any pain that can be associated with age. Any form of exercise is always seen as good thing, the same applies for your feet. Small exercises for your feet can help strength, mobility and flexibility."

Treatment: Products such as Movelat Relief Gel and Cream (£7.99, Boots) are effective for local relief of pain and inflammation caused by mild arthritic conditions, stiffness, sprains and muscular pains.


The water content of nails decreases as you get older, so you might find yourself getting brittle nails, which may peel, split, crack or become ridged as the nail dries out and loses its flexibility.

Dina says: "Brittle nails can be due to hormonal changes as well as diet, or other underlying medical conditions. Using almond or tea tree oil is a great way to replenish the nails. Making sure you are eating well-balanced meals is also important."

Treatment: Try Holland & Barrett Skin Hair & Nails Formula Caplets (£16.74 - currently reduced from £33.49 - 240 caplets), which help maintain healthy nails and support the vital nutrients required as part of a balanced diet.