Each year, I pack up my suitcases full of my favorite strappy sandals, colorful platforms, swimsuits and sarongs and head south with the college co-eds for spring break. You might be raising an eyebrow, dear reader, as you know well that I am in an age group more often associated with bunions than keg parties, but judge not, lest ye be judged.
Destinations like Cancun are packed with toned, oiled up men who are ready to party, not to mention some of the best, most generous bartenders on the planet. So, why should I let my age get in the way of having a little spring break fun? I will say that baring my bunions and hammer toe in front of these 20-somethings does make me a touch uneasy, which is why I have a stringent pre-vacation foot grooming regimen.
The most important part of this routine is wearing bunion splints every night while having a glass of Merlot, which gently eases my foot pain. After a particularly stressful day, I'll also ice the bony bugger to alleviate inflammation and discomfort.
As for my hammer toes, I find that they become less noticeable when I remember to use my orthotics every night. I've discovered that the pricey custom varieties aren't really worth the price tag, which is roughly $300, depending on your podiatrist. My favorites are the Splayfoot Hammer Toe Insoles by Alpha Orthotics, because they allow me to adjust which areas of my foot receive support with a removable foot pad.
The trouble with bony deformities – aside from the obvious – is that they tend to develop calluses as a result of rubbing against shoes all day. While these rough patches of skin are protective to an extent and should not be sanded away too often, it is a good idea to exfoliate them every now and then if you want pretty feet.
Begin by soaking your feet in warm, soapy water for 20 minutes or so before taking a pumice stone and gently exfoliating dead skin away in a circular motion. Rinse and dry your feet before applying a thick moisturizer to toes, heels and bunions.
You may also want to consider getting a professional pedicure. You don't have to be self-conscious in front of these spa professionals – they've surely seen much worse – and polished toes can take the eye's focus off bony deformities.