Deep into the warmer months, many of us have shed the Uggs and warm boots in favour of sandals and open-toed summer shoes. Whether you spend your days with your toes in the sand or relaxing with your feet up, here are a few tips to keep those feet healthy in the heat.
Moisturise your heels daily
Open-backed shoes and sandals cause the fat-pads on our heels to expand. Another issue is anhidrotic skin which means that as we age our skin loses moisture and becomes very dry; this can lead to the skin of the heels cracking. Cracked heels are not just painful, they can also lead to infection. Use a moisturiser cream daily before bed to keep the skin soft and supple. If you notice a deep crack with dried blood, your best bet is to apply an over the counter (OTC) cream from your pharmacist or refer to your GP and cover with a small bandage.
Reduce sweaty feet
Summer temperatures can certainly lead to increased moisture in shoes, and sweaty feet aren’t good for anybody. Excess moisture can increase the likelihood of skin infections. Wearing dry, synthetic, moisture-wicking socks and changing them whenever they get wet is the best prevention. For even more protection try a drying foot powder before going out in the elements.
Watch out for blisters
Brand new sandals may look great in summer, but can also be the cause of painful foot blisters. To cut down on blisters look for sandals made from soft natural fabrics or leathers. The more forgiving the material the less chance of blistering. Try wearing those sandals at home before taking them out on the town. Any areas of friction or pressure can be lined with felt or lamb’s wool to prevent blistering.
Ladies are likely to want to beautify their feet to compliment summer sandals. Avoid the temptation to apply nail polish as it reduces the nails’ ability to ‘breathe’ and can mask more serious dermatological problems including fungal infections and subungal melanomas. The condition of the nail including the colour, thickness and strength is also indicative of overall health and wellbeing and therefore it is important that your podiatrist is able to see it!
Reconsider those thongs
Typical Aussie thongs provide little, if any, support and can end up causing a multitude of foot problems and are a significant falls hazard. If you absolutely must wear them, look for thongs with a thicker sole and curved arch support. And remember, the more straps the better – extra support beneath your foot and more than two straps will decrease the pressure exerted on your foot while walking.
Keeping these few tips in mind should help ease the pain of summer feet. Now let’s get out and enjoy the weather!
Rob Mullins, BSc(Hons), DPM(Hons)