Tips to keep your feet healthy during the summer.
Summer is here and so is the urge to toss our cooler weather shoes and boots to the curb! Shoes protect our feet in more ways than you might think. Sandal weather may feel freeing, but it actually opens up our feet to the risk of infections and other avoidable conditions.
Follow these simple podiatrist-approved tips, and your feet will thank you!
Limit walking barefoot. Venturing out with feet al fresco exposes you to sunburn, plantar warts, athlete’s foot, and other infections, not to mention injury. Going barefoot is especially dangerous for those with diabetes, as nerve damage can make it difficult to detect an injury.
Wear shoes or flip-flops around the pool, to the beach, in the locker room and in your hotel room to prevent injuries and limit the likelihood of contracting any infections. (Exposure is high in the summer, when everyone else is walking around without shoes too.) Rinse your feet with clean water after pool or beach activities to prevent bacterial infections.
Wear the right socks. Did you know that your feet have 250,000 different sweat glands? Acrylic and synthetic blend socks work best to wick away perspiration that can lead to fungal infections. If you take part in summer activities that cause your shoes and socks to get wet, they should be dried out completely before your next wearing to prevent bacteria or fungus from growing.
Remember to apply sunscreen all over your feet and ankles – an often-overlooked area! Don’t forget to reapply after you’ve been in the water. Up to 15% of melanomas, the most serious type of skin cancer, develop on the feet.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day to minimize any foot swelling caused by the heat. Keep blood flowing with periodic ankle flexes, toe wiggles, and calf stretches.
Remove nail polish periodically to give the nail bed some oxygen, allow them to replenish moisture, and keep them healthy.
It’s important to step into summer with some strategies to keep your feet healthy and problem free. If you are concerned about conditions of the feet and toenails, an injury or are experiencing foot pain, making an appointment with a podiatrist is a great first step.
Dr. Michelle Castiello is board-certified in primary care in Podiatric Medicine. To make an appointment in Scarsdale, please call 914-723-8100.