The leaves are turning red, and the temperatures are dropping, signaling that winter will soon be upon us. While you may be used to hearing about care tips for your skin and hair in the dryer colder months, many fail to recognize that other parts of the body, such as your feet, require additional care too.
You can take several preventative measures to maintain the health and integrity of your feet throughout the colder months. Dr. Robertson recommends the following actionable steps regarding your feet, shoes, and safety.
Maintaining Your Feet
A proper foot care routine is critical to maintaining the health and integrity of your health. Your foot care should vary according to different factors, such as your age, activity, and shoes. For example, a foot care routine in the summer months, when people are more likely to go barefoot and wear sandals, will look different from one in the winter when our feet are bundled up in socks and boots.
Year-Round Recommendations: Maintaining Your Feet
The following tips should be included in your self-care and hygiene routine:
- Keep showers short and mild to prevent completely drying out your feet. If your feet cannot hold onto the proper amount of moisture they will dry out, leading to cracked, painful, and swollen feet.
- Wash your feet daily to prevent odors and diseases from developing.
- Moisturize your feet daily as you would any part of your body. People often remember to moisturize their faces and bodies but neglect their feet. Your feet benefit significantly from moisturizing.
- Keep your toenails trimmed to prevent ingrown nails, torn nails, and pressure from your toenail hitting your shoes.
Winter-Specific Dangers & Recommendations: Maintaining Your Feet
The following are winter-specific dangers to your feet and recommendations for avoiding them:
- Cold temperatures pose a significant risk for those with diabetes or neuropathy.
- Dryer months lead to dry, cracked feet. Many individuals crank the heat up in their homes to keep the cold at bay. While this is essential in the winter, heating systems such as fires and furnaces dry out the air in homes.
- Long toenails are riskier in the colder months when closed-toed shoes are frequently worn. Toenails that are too long are more prone to hit the toes of your shoes and lead to runner’s toenail, a condition caused by repeated trauma to the toenail area, leading to nail discoloration or loss, swelling, discomfort when standing or walking, blisters, and more.
Maintaining Your Shoes
Proper shoe usage and maintenance are critical to maintaining the health and integrity of your health.
Year-Round Recommendations: Maintaining Your Shoes
The following shoe tips will help you get the best protection and support out of your shoes:
- Wear shoes with proper support and consider custom orthotics. While everyone can benefit from custom orthotics, individuals who stand for hours a day, experience discomfort and pain in their feet, suffer muscle fatigue doing everyday tasks, or have corns and calluses should seek out custom orthotics immediately.
- Wear shoes with socks to give your feet an additional layer of protection and comfort. Wearing socks with your shoes prevents swampy feet and reduces the risk of blisters, calluses, corns, and bunions.
Winter-Specific Dangers & Recommendations: Maintaining Your Shoes
The following are winter-specific dangers to your shoes and recommendations for preventing and avoiding them:
- Cold temperatures pose a significant risk, especially for those with diabetes or neuropathy. Individuals with poor circulation or nerve damage are more susceptible to extreme weather conditions, such as extreme heat or cold.
- Cold and wet footwear are breeding grounds for various foot diseases, including rashes, trench foot, frostbite, and sores and blisters.
- Ill-fitting winter boots present serious risks to maintaining your safety on slushy, snowy, or icy grounds and can impact the health and integrity of your feet if they are not providing the necessary support. Boots worn to participate in winter sports such as snowshoeing, skiing, or ice skating should be held to similar, if not higher, standards, given the expected wear and tear on your boots and feet when wearing them.
Maintaining Your Safety
Maintaining your safety should always be a priority. Unfortunately, slip-and-falls and trip-and-falls tend to increase in the winter months.
Winter-Specific Dangers & Recommendations: Maintaining Your Safety
The following are winter-specific dangers to your safety and recommendations for preventing and avoiding them:
- Leafy walkways and grounds pose serious slip-and-fall risks. Leaves have a waxy coating that makes them extra slippery when layered or wet. Prevent leaf-based slip-and-falls by keeping your walkways and driveways clear of leaves, and avoid walking through uncleared areas.
- Icy walkways and grounds pose serious slip-and-fall risks even if you wear the proper footwear. Slushy, frozen, or snowy walkways cause slip-and-fall accidents every single year. Prevent slip-and-falls on icy or slippery grounds by keeping your walkways and driveway salted to melt the ice and cleared to prevent refreezing.
- Ground decor poses serious trip-and-fall risks. While putting out your decorations for the holiday season is often very exciting, be sure to leave the grounds of walkways and common areas clear of decorations and wires.
- Winter sports are especially risky if you do not adequately warm up your muscles and stretch your body beforehand. Cold weather reduces the flexibility of your muscles, making it easier to strain, pull or tear a muscle doing otherwise routine tasks.
New York City’s Trusted Foot Doctor & Surgeon
New York Foot Center is the practice you can trust for premier, state-of-the-art podiatric care.
Our experienced team specializes in high-quality podiatry care for residents in NYC and the surrounding areas. For more than 30 years, we have provided effective care to patients so they can get back on their feet for good. Our friendly experts genuinely take the time to understand and listen to your concerns so we can come up with the best treatment plan personalized to work best with your lifestyle.