You might be dreaming of the long sunshine-filled days of summer, but we still have plenty of winter to go (Thanks a lot, Punxsutawney Phil!). The cold weather can make us all feel pretty miserable, and your feet are no exception. While every season comes with its own unique challenges to your feet’s health, winter can be awfully taxing on them. Healthy feet are vital to your overall health, so make sure you take good care of them and give them the pampering they richly deserve with these 8 tips!
Keep Them Clean and Dry
It really goes without saying that you should wash your feet every day, but it’s even more crucial during the cold months of winter. Clean them thoroughly each day with soap and water, and always remember to dry them thoroughly afterward to prevent potential fungal issues. While you’re on their level, carefully inspect your feet, toes, and toenails for any unusual cuts, markings, bumps, or discolorations.
Give Them a Nice Soak
If there’s any season that your feet deserve extra care, it’s in the winter. Why not treat them to a nice foot soak once in a while? Prepare a wide, shallow basin and fill it with warm (not hot) water. Sprinkle some Epsom salt and let them soak for 10-15 minutes. This is especially soothing if you suffer from heel pain! Up your TLC game by exfoliating your feet with a pumice stone, which helps remove dead skin cells and impurities from your feet, at least once a week.
Choose the Right Socks
Winter calls for thick, warm socks to keep your feet dry and protected from the cold. Unfortunately, wet or sweaty feet can often lead to skin issues or a greater susceptibility of fungal infections. Choose moisture-wicking socks made from wool blends to keep your feet dry. Regardless of what kind of socks you’re wearing, always make sure you take off your socks and shoes as soon as possible after they become wet. There’s no rule saying you can’t change socks a few times a day, especially when you’re out in the snow, ice, or rain!
Moisturize Them Daily
Dry skin is so common in the winter since most of us are inside our homes where the heat is on and the humidity is low. It’s not unusual for us to hear that our patients are suffering from painful cracked skin, especially on their heels. Well, now you’ve heard it from us: break out that foot cream and start moisturizing your feet every day! It will help keep your feet supple and soft all season long. Prone to dry skin? Don’t forget to stay hydrated, especially if you suffer from diabetes.
Be Smart When Choosing Boots
Boots are essential in the cold months. When picking out your next pair, keep the following things in mind:
- Look for waterproof material to keep your feet dry in the snow and rain.
- Make sure you accommodate for any thick socks you’ll be wearing. It might be wise to size up. The smartest thing you could do? Wear those socks when you try on boots to see which size fits best.
- Before you slip your socks and boots on, consider using foot powder to keep your feet from sweating too much and ward off potential bacterial or fungal infections.
Protect Your Feet From the Elements
Maybe you’re stepping out of the house for “just a minute” to snag the mail or run an errand a block or so away and you toss on sandals or flip-flops to help you get the job done. A word of advice from us: don’t. Exposing your feet to extreme temperatures and cold, bitter wind can easily (and quickly) harm your skin, nerves and blood vessels. Keep your summertime footwear back in the closet for now and protect your feet with boots or other appropriate wintertime footwear to keep your feet warm, dry, and supported.
Keep Them Moving
You know how your body feels sluggish and slow to warm up in the winter? Your feet are like that, too. Cold weather can easily make us – and our feet – less flexible, so take the time to stretch them out, especially before exercising. Try calf exercises and leg lifts, curl your toes and stretch them out, and move your feet in circular motions. This will help get fresh blood flowing into your feet, helping to keep them warm, flexible, and healthy (oh, and less prone to injury, too)!
Be Smart When Exercising
Do you enjoy skiing or snowboarding? Make sure you partake in your favorite winter activities in the proper footwear (and ensure that your shoes fit correctly!). For those who enjoy running or walking headlong in the brutal winter winds, remember to wear warm, lightweight, moisture-wicking socks to stay warm and dry. If you come across any icy patches, shorten your stride to remain stable and help prevent injuries. Want to take the best care of your feet this winter? Schedule an appointment with the friendly and knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center. Our experts can keep your feet in tip-top shape in one of our six convenient locations. Call us today at (314) 487-9300 or request an appointment online!