Nearly everyone has foot problems at some point during their lives, and while those problems can happen at any time, winter can be especially problematic for many people. Colder weather, restrictive shoes, and dry air can increase your risks of pain, infections, and other problems.
Fortunately, the Forward Foot & Ankle team helps patients in Midtown Manhattan and Staten Island, New York, take essential steps to ward off wintertime foot problems with comprehensive foot care therapies tailored to each person’s needs. In this post, learn some simple ways to keep your feet healthy and comfortable this winter and beyond.
When you’re hot and sweaty in the summertime, it’s easy to understand why you need to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. The need is less obvious in the winter — but it’s no less real.
That’s because winter air is exceptionally dry, quickly sapping natural moisture from the inside out. Indoor heating increases dryness, too. Drinking water during winter moisturizes your skin, preventing dry, cracked skin on your feet despite the cold.
Moisturizing from the outside is also critically important. To prevent problems with your feet, apply a thick layer of moisturizer, especially after a bath or shower. Choose a thick moisturizer, slather it before bed, and wear a pair of cotton socks for deep moisturizing while sleeping. Keeping your feet well moisturized helps prevent painful, cracked heels that can also increase your risk of infection.
Winter shoes can feel especially constraining after a summer of sandals and flip-flops. Plus, since aging and weight changes can cause changes in your foot size, the shoes that fit last year may be too loose or too snug this winter.
Shoes aren’t the only thing that protects your feet during the cold winter. Socks play an essential role, too. Select socks that wick away moisture, and change them throughout the day when they get damp to reduce your risk of fungal infections and blisters.
Regarding fungal infections, watch for signs of athlete’s foot and fungal toenails. Wearing sweaty socks and shoes all day long provides an ideal breeding ground for fungi (and bacteria, too). Plus, dry weather makes your nails more brittle, which can also increase your risk of toenail infections.
Soaking your feet at the end of the day is a great way to relieve stress and improve circulation. Avoid hot water that can dry your feet, and opt for warm water instead. Afterward, use a pumice stone to remove dead skin, especially in the heel area, gently. Then moisturize your feet generously to help your skin stay smooth, soft, and healthy.
Finally, if you notice any foot symptoms, don’t put off scheduling a visit. That’s especially critical if you have diabetes or any circulation issues. Ignoring a foot problem allows any underlying issue to become worse, increasing the risk of permanent disability, not to mention the need for more aggressive treatment.
Taking time to pamper your feet is a great way to avoid problems and enjoy a little comfort during the long, dark winter days. Follow these simple tips for happier, healthier feet all winter, and by the time sandal season arrives again, your feet will be ready to be flaunted.
If you have a problem with your feet, we can help. Call 718-317-5215 or book an appointment online with the Forward Foot & Ankle team today.