Keep Your Feet Healthy This Winter With These Tips
Your feet are hidden away in socks and shoes all winter, so it’s easy to forget about them. But the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) warns that foot problems and injuries are common during the colder months. Issues such as cracked heels, frostbite, athlete’s foot, and even foot injuries can threaten your foot health as well as your overall well-being.
You can reduce your risk of developing foot problems by practicing certain cold-weather precautions. A foot care specialist (podiatrist) can assess your individual needs and help you create a routine that protects your feet during winter weather conditions.
Dangers to Your Feet in Winter
There are several dangers to your feet during the winter season:
Dry, cracked heels are a common problem during the winter. The lack of moisture in the air combined with wearing shoes can make cracked heels worse. To prevent cracked heels, use a heel balm or cream every day. Be sure to apply it after showering or bathing when your skin is still damp. This will help lock in moisture. You should also avoid wearing open-back shoes such as sandals or flip-flops since they can further dry out your skin.
Frostbite is a real danger in cold weather. It occurs when exposed skin freezes. Frostbite most often affects the extremities such as the toes, fingers, ears, and nose since blood flow is reduced in these areas when you are cold. To prevent frostbite, dress in layers and be sure to cover all exposed skin when you go outside. If you start to feel numbness or tingling in any extremity, go inside immediately and warm up gradually.
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that thrives in warm, moist environments—exactly the kind of environment you might find inside your boots or shoes! To prevent athlete’s foot, keep your feet clean and dry and don’t wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. If you notice any redness, itching, or burning on your feet, call your podiatrist right away.
Winter is a slippery season which means you have an increased risk of falling and injuring your feet or ankles. To prevent falls, wear shoes with good traction—avoid smooth-soled shoes such as dress shoes or high heels. Be extra careful on icy patches outdoors and take your time walking downstairs or getting in and out of vehicles. If you do fall, see your podiatrist right away if you notice any pain, swelling, bruising, or deformity in your foot or ankle area.
By taking some simple precautions this winter season, you can protect your feet from common problems such as dryness, infection, and injury. Talk to our podiatrist at Premier Foot and Ankle Center about developing a foot care routine that’s right for you and helps keep your feet healthy all winter long!