The onset of winter brings snow, freezing temperatures, and ice. During this time, you will most likely exchange your cute summer sandals and/or flip flops for closed shoe boots and warm socks. This of course is one way to keep your feet protected from the harsh elements, which is vital to preventing damage to your feet. The following are a few tips to ensure you keep your feet as healthy and safe as possible throughout the winter season:
How to Take Care of Feet in Winter
Keep Feet Dry
It’s common sense that you will want to keep your feet warm and toasty during the frigid months of winter. However, while wearing hefty, extra-thick socks will keep your feet warm, if they make them too warm and your feet begin to sweat, this can become a real problem. Not only can wet, sweaty feet make your feet get too cold in winter, they can also lead to other more problematic issues like bacterial infections, such as fungal toenails or athlete’s foot. A good way to prevent this is to wear socks that are warm but also have a moisture-wicking property to prevent sweating.
Wash Feet Regularly
It’s always important to take time to properly wash and dry your feet regularly. This is just as true in winter as in the summer when feet get sweaty and nasty from wearing sandals. Make sure you wash your feet regularly with soap and water and pay special attention to the areas between your toes. Dry your feet completely before putting on socks. Also, occasionally you can soak your feet in Epsom salts to prevent infections and reduce any discomfort you might have. As a general rule, don’t soak them longer than 10 minutes.
Wear Well-Fitting Boots/Shoes
Another important step you need to take to ensure your feet are protected from the winter elements is to wear well-fitting comfortable boots and/or shoes. Tight, ill-fitting footwear can reduce the blood flow in your feet, which will make your feet get too cold in winter. This, of course, increases the risk of frostbite. Having shoes that are too loose can cause toe blisters in winter. Therefore, aim for a proper fit to prevent these issues.
Avoid Dry Skin and/or Dry Heels in Winter
When you first read this tip, your mind might have questioned it saying, wait, didn’t you just say to keep your feet dry? Well, yes, but not too dry. You have to aim for something in between. If your skin gets too dry, especially in your heel area, it can split and cause many issues, such as painful fissures, and possible infections. Make sure your skin is properly moisturized to prevent your feet from drying out.
Keep Feet Warm
Protect your feet from exposure to frigid temperatures. Wear the right footwear, that protects from moisture. Make sure you wear moisture-wicking, warm socks and check the temperature regularly. When temperatures are in the single digits, it only takes a mere 15 to 30 minutes of exposure to get frostbite, which can cause irreparable damage, leading to injuries to the blood vessels, nerves, and skin. Your toes are especially susceptible to damage from the cold.
Keep these winter weather foot care tips in mind to ensure your feet stay safe throughout the season.
Having Foot or Ankle Pain? Contact Red Mountain Footcare in Mesa, AZ
Dr. Hardy is a Board Certified podiatrist in Mesa, Arizona who specializes in custom orthotics for heel and arch pain, ingrown toenail treatments, and forefoot surgery to fix bunions, hammertoes, and neuromas. Make an appointment online.