The colder months can bring on many new and common foot complaints. As a Podiatrist we see an increase in the presentation of corns, ingrown toenails, dry/cracked skin and lower limb pain. Follow our top 7 tips to make sure your feet stay happy and healthy this Winter.
The cold winter air or excessive artificial heating can dehydrate our skin. To avoid dry, flaky or painful cracked skin we recommend applying a moisturiser daily. If this isn’t doing the job, try a urea based heel balm. This will more actively hydrate your skin cells creating better skin integrity. Most heel balms contain 25% urea, but the higher the percentage the better. If this still isn’t effective, you may need a Podiatrist to deride away some of the hard skin (callous) to get you started.
What are Chilblains you ask? Chilblains are red, swollen, itchy or burning skin lesions typically affecting the hands and feet that are caused by sudden changes in extreme temperatures. Keeping your extremities at a consistent temperature through Winter can prevent these from occurring. You can do this by staying clear of scolding hot showers to warm up and avoiding barefoot. If you suffer from Diabetes, heart issues or vascular disease you may find yourself more susceptible to this complaint and should seek professional advice.
Just because they’re covered more, doesn’t mean you can forget about them! With more enclosed footwear on during the winter it is important to keep your nails trimmed to prevent trauma to the adjacent skin and painful ingrown toenails. This also provides a great opportunity to have a break from nail polish to let your nails breathe and ensure there are no lurking fungal nails underneath.
On those wet and rainy days it is essential to properly dry your shoes out before re-wearing them and avoid wearing wet shoes/socks all day. Longterm excessive moisture exposure can cause skin maceration and fungal infections. Swap out your normal wardrobe for moisture wicking socks and shoes with water resistant properties.
Maintaining exercise will help reduce swelling in the legs, reduce joint stiffness and encourage circulation to your lower limbs. So throw the cozy blanket away and keep your body warm by moving your body for a minimum of half an hour a day. This might even help keep off the extra winter kilos lurking around the corner.
People with poor skin integrity, circulation issues or sensation loss from conditions such as diabetes should be mindful to sit a safe distance away from heat sources. This can prevent the risk of sustaining superficial skin burns, which pose a risk for ulcerations and infections if not attended to promptly. Visually checking on your skin is a crucial part of daily foot care for high risk patients.
Many enclosed shoes can be too narrow or shallow through the toe box. When we consider how any hours we spend in enclosed shoes during Winter, it is no wonder we see more cases of corns and foot pain coming through the clinic. Making sure you have correctly fitted shoes is essential! However if you are noticing painful areas on the balls of your feet or around your toes, a consult with a podiatrist can help diagnose and treat it appropriately.
All of these tips should keep your feet in tip top shape throughout the Winter months. If you’re local to the Central Coast and looking for a local Podiatrist, our friendly team is here to help!
Contact us today!