Tips for Taking Care of Your Feet This Summer
Summer is here and for many, it’s a time to restore the soul and enjoy life — family, friends, vacation time, and great weather. It’s also a time that can take a toll on your feet, whether through increased activity, stylish footwear, or prowling around barefoot. Keeping your feet in good shape is crucial to not only enjoying the summer months but to maintaining your daily responsibilities. When your feet are out of action, so are you.
While it’s typical to take your feet for granted, with a bit of awareness and care, you can have smooth sailing this summer. Here are some key tips to keep you on your toes.
The flip-flop flounder
Summertime, and the livin’ is easy, as the song lyric goes. It’s so tempting to slap on some flip-flops and rush off to greet the day. On the beach and in the change rooms of public pools, flip-flops are a great idea, since they protect the soles of your feet from injury and fungus in sandy and wet conditions.
However, as supportive footwear through the day, flip-flops are a failure. Few designs have anything approaching adequate arch support. Straining your toes to keep the flip-flops in place is not a sound way to walk.
Extended reliance on flip-flops for footwear is an invitation for problems with the mechanics of your feet. It’s easy to twist or sprain an ankle when wearing flat footwear with no support. Flip-flops are at the bottom of the support ladder.
Even those elegant, expensive sandals, with arch support and plenty of straps, can give your feet grief. New footwear is notorious for raising blisters as the shoes get broken in and your feet adapt. Reduce breaking-in problems by looking for soft materials and good fit when you make your purchase.
Even well-fitted shoes can create blisters, so take them for a test walk or two. This helps match shoe to foot and may aid you with recognizing trouble spots before that all-day trip to a theme park.
If you do raise a blister, leaving it alone is the best way to promote healing. Sometimes, though, the pain and pressure can be too much. Draining the blister with a sterilized needle may be necessary, but simply drain the blister and leave it otherwise intact, so that new skin has time to form properly. Use an antibiotic ointment and a bandage to protect the blister site.
Shoes and socks
You can’t go wrong with good shoes and a pair of socks, can you? Well, if they trap moisture around your foot for long periods of time, yes you can. The warm weather of the summer months provides excellent growing conditions for bacteria.
While shoes and socks protect you more than open-toed footwear, sweat can accumulate within your shoes, making another petri dish ready for a proliferation of microbial life.
Socks that wick moisture away from your skin are the best bet, and if you’re on the go all day, tuck away a spare, dry pair. That alone improves the environment within your shoes. If you can’t get a shower at the end of the day, take a moment to wash your feet, no matter what style of footwear you choose. Keeping your toes clean, dry, and blister-free means trouble-free breezing through the summer.
In the unlikely event you do develop a foot problem or have an injury, contact me at Next Step Orthopedics, by phone or online, and I’ll examine your feet and customize a plan to get you back on the beach.