Smart Solutions for Your Feet This Summer

"GMA" has smart solutions for your feet this summer.

July 17, 2009 — -- Find out how you can keep your feet sandal ready this summer with tips from Real Simple magazine editor Elizabeth Graves.

Graves discusses the most common foot ailments women experience and offers smart tips on how to treat them effectively.

Get her tips below.

Battling Bursitis

Bursitis is often known as pump bump because the heel bone can become irritated by wearing a shoe like a pump with a stiff back. It happens when people have a genetically enlarged heel bone, which is not as uncommon as that sounds. When the unforgiving shoe rubs against the bone, you can inflame the bursa, the protective sac of fluid in the tissue.

To avoid it wear an open heel shoe like a sling back. If you have a condition that already exists, use a donut pad like Dr. Scholl's Foam Ease Callus Cushions.

Place one over the bursa to alleviate pressure. At the end of the day, ice the area to soothe the inflammation. If you're experiencing chronic problem go to the doctor.

Battling Bunions

This is another form of bump, this one coming out of your big toe. It's your body's way of protecting itself, and you can also develop them if you have low arches.

If the bump is just emerging, try gel pads to pad it. Also choosing the right shoe is important. Pointy shoes won't cause bunions but can speed the development.

When the bone starts to be unaligned or if you're having trouble fitting into shoes, you need to see the doctor, who will shave down the bone, which can take you off your feet for several months. So be sure to choose the right shoes. Specifically, pick pairs with a wide toe box and a low heel.

Keep Soles Dry

Friction and moisture are the enemy of the feet. There's an old army trick, using antiperspirant on your feet.

Your feet have an abundance of sweat glands. To prevent the odor, the slick soles and the moisture that can lead to blisters, coat the bottoms of your feet with a potent antiperspirant, like Dove Clinical Protection, at night or in the morning. Also, you can use powder on your feet.

Remove Rough Spots

Anytime a rough spot emerges it's your body trying to protect itself. Friction is what causes it.

If you have an existing callus, Real Simple recommends Sally Hensen Intensive Gel Callus Remover, which contains moisturizing urea, aloe, jojoba and tea-tree oil.

Exfoliate and Soften

Instead of slathering on lotion, (which can make feet slip around inside shoes and lead to blisters), try Barielle 60 Second Mani-Pedi right in the shower. An oil-based salt scrub, it sloughs off flakes and lightly hydrates skin. It helps them not just look but also feel good.

It's a great way to keep your feet clean. It exfoliates without being too rough, and also it moisturizes without making your feet so slick that they move around in your shoes with surface moisture. This is one of my favorite products. I think half the battle with feet is to keep them moisturized.

Heal Painful, Cracked Skin

Dry, cracked skin can happen when you haven't been exfoliating your feet. You get a buildup of dry skin and then it cracks, and it can be unsightly.

The Heel Glaze is rich in honey, which has great healing properties. It's a great fix. It comes with a brush that looks like a makeup brush. You want to paint on a layer of the glaze, which fills in the cracks so they look better and helps heal them.

Prevent Blisters

Swipe Band-Aid Active Friction Block Stick over the backs of heels, the tops of toes, or any other places shoes or sandals rub. The protective balm minimizes blister-causing friction.

The deodorant trick will help prevent blisters as well, but the Block Stick just slows down friction. You can put it over places on your feet that are starting to feel tender.

It's a great way to break shoes in.

Styles That Are Hard On Feet

Women like to wear shoes that look good and make them look good, so we're not going to say that you can't wear any particular shoe. But choose your time wisely. You don't want to wear pumps for too long.

Heels taller than three inches increase the pressure on the balls of the feet, so if you wear them, limit the time.

Platforms are great and very trendy right now, but they don't allow your foot to bend at the ball of the foot. The stiffness of the sole prevents natural foot movement.

And the problem with flats is that most of them don't offer much arch support. So you want something that has arch support in it. And it helps if it has a little bit of a heel. If you have a pair of flats that you love, you can add an orthotic.

Low Heels, Open Toe Sandals

In general a lower heel is good. Two inches or lower is best, and at two inches you still get the benefit of the appearance of an elongated leg, and it doesn't alter the way your muscles work.

Also, a stacked heel really helps stabilize your feet and reduces the risk of straining ligaments.

A chunky heel is a good bet, or a wider toe box, or a rounder toe, or even open toe sandals. Anything that allows more toe movement helps avoid those lovely things like bunions mentioned about earlier.