Winter weather brings lower temperatures, damp conditions, and an increased chance of foot and ankle injuries, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS). To help ensure your feet stay safe and warm this winter, we have pulled together a few tips to keep in mind when buying new boots, dressing for the weather, or focusing on your daily hygiene.
Wear the Right Shoes
First off, wear the right shoes! If it is cold or snowing, don’t chance it by throwing on slippers for a quick trip to the mailbox. Instead, put on shoes and socks before going out into cold weather. Improper shoes can lead to slips and falls, resulting in a variety of injuries. For some people, direct skin exposure to cold air can cause itchy red patches called chilblains.
In extreme cases, prolonged exposure to cold air can result in frostbite. If you have the right shoes, it is also essential to make sure your shoes fit correctly with warm socks on. For winter shoes, purchasing a size up can help to accommodate thicker socks. When trying on shoes for the winter, make sure you bring along a pair of socks you usually wear in the winter months so the shoes can be fit accordingly. Shoes that are too tight can result in painful corns or blisters.
Keep Your Feet Dry
If you are wearing shoes out in damp weather or snow, make sure they are waterproof. Wet socks and shoes make your feet more prone to frostbite. On the other hand, you may also have sweaty feet if you have thick socks and waterproof shoes. For some, keeping sweaty feet in shoes for an extended period can lead to bacterial infections. To avoid sweaty feet and help keep your feet dry, try picking socks with moisture-wicking material, using foot powders to help absorb excess moisture, and using antiperspirant foot spray.
Take Care of Your Feet
The winter air is dryer than in warmer months, which means your skin is more prone to drying out. Ensure to regularly check your feet while bathing for any sores or cracks, especially if you suffer from diabetes or Raynaud’s, which can affect blood circulation in the outer extremities. Wash and exfoliate your feet to remove dead skin, and make sure to moisturize with lotion. After bathing, make sure your feet are completely dry before putting on socks and shoes. Routinely caring for your feet can help you catch any sore spots before they become a bigger problem.
Get the Right Help
Properly treating winter injuries makes a significant difference in avoiding complications. If your feet have been exposed to the cold for long periods, warm them up slowly in a bath filled with lukewarm water to avoid shocking them. If you have suffered a trip or fall, use the RICE principle: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. However, if symptoms persist following these recommendations, seek a professional! Delaying treatment for foot or ankle problems may lead to long-term complications.
If you are suffering from a winter foot issue, don’t hesitate to give our office a call at (717) 757-3537 or contact us online to schedule an appointment!