We've had our January thaw but February promises to be cold and snowy. You may not be seeing much of your bare feet in sandals and open-toed shoes, but foot care is just as important in winter months as it is in warmer weather.
Follow These Easy Steps for Good Winter Foot Care
- Select waterproof shoes and boots with good traction. Shoes made of breathable materials like leather and suede provide good air circulation and lace-up styles have greater stability.
- Add warmth with non-constricting socks that can wick moisture away from your skin. Choose natural fibers like wool that also promote air circulation.
- Dress your feet in layers for optimal warmth just like you dress your body. Wear 2 pairs of socks.
- After outdoor activities and sports, dry your feet right away and put on clean socks.
- Wash your feet every day and dry thoroughly, especially between the toes, to prevent fungal and bacterial infections.
- Apply an emollient moisturizer every night to help soften the skin.
- If you wear socks to bed, be sure to put on clean ones at bedtime.
- Look for winter or all-terrain running shoes for best traction if you are a year-round outdoor runner.
- While you are outdoors in cold weather, even just for a walk, exercise your calf and feet muscles to keep your blood circulating. Move your feet in circles in both directions. Rock back and forth from your heels to your tiptoes.
Be watchful for any frostbite symptoms. Frostbite can cause numbness, a change in skin color, waxy-looking skin and clumsiness because of muscle stiffness. If your feet have been exposed to the cold for lengthy periods, warm them slowly in warm - not hot - water and dry carefully. If you see any signs of frostbite, see your doctor immediately.
Special Winter Concerns for Patients with Diabetes
If you have diabetes, the Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A. recommends that you always protect your feet from the cold even if you don't feel cold. Because patients with diabetes often have neuropathy, or nerve damage, you may not feel that your feet are cold.
You should also avoid using hot water bottles and heating pads to warm your feet because you may not feel any excess heat.
It's very important to moisturize your feet every day to avoid excess dryness and skin cracks that can easily be infected. Check your feet each day for cuts, sores, bruises or punctures and be sure to call us right away if you see anything unusual.
Contact Us for Any Type of Foot and Ankle Problem
Dr. James M. McKee, DPM, board certified podiatrist has the right experience to expertly diagnose and treat your foot or ankle problem, including any foot problems caused by diabetes. Please call us at 410-224-4448 to make an appointment at our office in Annapolis, MD. You can also request an appointment at the website. Keep your feet warm and dry during winter activities to enjoy out-of-doors winter fun.