It’s the one part of the body as many as three-quarters of people don’t wash regularly in the shower.
But health officials are urging people to pay more attention to their feet and start scrubbing them with soap at least once every other day.
They say regular care can help someone avoid fungal infections — like athlete’s foot — and problems with nails.
It comes after experts warned that fungal infections, including athlete’s foot, are becoming more common worldwide as they pick up resistance to treatments.
Health officials have urged people to wash their feet more often (stock image)
Many people often avoid washing their feet, assuming that the soapy water that naturally washes over them in the shower is enough.
There is even a subset of people — called Podophobes — who are so grossed out by feet they can’t bare to look at their own, let alone wash them.
But with up to a quarter of people in the US and Britain alone now infected with athlete’s foot, it may be prudent to take more care of your feet.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the US national health agency —says online that people should wash their feet every other day using soap and water.
They should also ensure to scrub between the toes and dry the feet completely before putting on socks and shoes.
People who have diabetes — one in ten Americans and six percent of Brits — should wash their feet daily, the agency said, and check them for sores, cuts and red blisters.
This is because the condition can reduce blood flow to the feet by narrowing blood vessels, leaving them at greater risk of foot problems.
A survey by grooming products brand the Dollar Shave Club revealed that many people refuse to wash their feet.
They found that 50 percent of men and women do not wash them ever, while a further 25 percent said they don’t do it everyday.
Other suggestions from the CDC to boost foot health include clipping toenails on a regular basis, about every six to eight weeks, to keep them short. They also suggest changing socks daily.
Failing to take good care of feet can raise the risk of suffering several problems in the area.
One of the most common of these is athlete’s foot, scientifically named tinea pedis, which is triggered by a fungal infection of the skin — especially between the toes.
The fungus can easily be picked up from warm and damp surfaces, such as locker rooms, public showers and the sides of swimming pools.
Once contracted, it spreads quickly in the warm and moist environment provided by shoes and socks.
The infection may trigger an itching or burning sensation on the feet, and could also cause skin to begin to peel and crack.
Treatment typically involves using antifungal medications, which can be applied as creams, powders or sprays to the affected area.
Other problems that can develop on the feet include fungal nail infections — affecting 14 percent of Americans and up to eight percent of Brits — that causes nails to become thick, discolored and break.
This can be triggered by picking up fungi from the environment which can then get into the nail via a small break or tear, causing an infection.
People who don’t wash their feet regularly may also be at higher risk of contracting hookworm, or a parasitic worm.
The infection can occur when the feet come into contact with contaminated soil where worm larvae or thriving, typically that is moist.
When you walk barefoot, the larvae can penetrate the skin of the feet, normally through the soles, and trigger an infection.
Regularly washing the feet can help to avoid the infection because any eggs or larvae present on them are quickly removed.