Winter Foot Care, According to Your Prescott Podiatrist

You may be in full holiday mode, but what about your feet, asks Prescott Podiatrist Dr. J. Todd Cox.

By the time most Americans reach 50 years old, they will have walked nearly 75,000 miles. Though an impressive number, that’s much mileage accrued, opening the possibility for a range of foot and ankle issues, particularly pain affecting daily activities, such as exercising, walking, or even standing for extended amounts of time. Stresses like these not only affect your paws but your overall body, too, says the past president of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), Matthew Garoufalis, D.P.M. “Each season presents unique challenges to foot health,” he says. “Protecting feet all year long is vital to our overall well-being.”

Prescott Podiatrist Dr. J. Todd Cox couldn’t agree more. This especially includes winter, and considering Yavapai County’s distinct, seasonal diversity, it’s crucial now more than ever to protect your feet and ankles while the elements alter. Follow Dr. Cox’s recommended steps for smooth, transitional sailing into winter. 

Wear fitted, waterproof winter boots.

Owning a pair of trusty winter boots is a must, but fit can make all the difference, for yourself and your children. Specialty winter boots may seem ideal — used in skiing and otherwise — but when those shoes appear one size too large (especially for the child you expect will “grow into them”), blisters, chafing, and foot/ankle injuries can arise. (Properly fitted socks also matter. If too small, they can cause corns, painful areas of thickened skin triggered by friction.)

Also, your boots should immobilize the ball of your foot, heel, and instep, as this can help you stay stable on wet, slippery surfaces. As always, leave wiggle room for your toes.

If you need help picking out the right boots for you, make an appointment with your Prescott Podiatrist today.

Invest in dry, warm socks.

Our feet and other extremities are most susceptible to the winter cold, so it’s sensible wanting to “bundle up.” But warming up this way can cause sweat, creating the perfect environment for bacterial infections and fungus on your feet. Help avoid these issues by dashing foot powder into your socks or adding more warm foot baths to your winter foot care routine.

If you’re an athlete whose feet tend to itch, pour in some white or apple cider vinegar to your foot bath. (Don’t do this, though, if you’re diabetic or have open sores or wounds on your feet.)

Purchase socks fashioned out of natural fabrics, such as wool or cotton, to ward off moisture even further. (Wool especially works to keep your feet warm and dry.) Synthetic fabric blends tend to intensify moisture.

Runners don’t need to stop; just adjust your stride.

Icy road conditions and snow can put a damper on many people’s plans but not on those of runners. You can solve this by changing how your feet strike the ground: shorten your stride to optimize stability.

Along with your cold-defeating activewear, stretch your muscles before you run. Winter can diminish your flexibility, so warm up your muscles (and feet) for the best workout.

Wash your feet daily.

During winter, placing your feet in dry, warm shoes is a priority. But as we mentioned previously, wet socks can lead to bacterial infections and fungus. By cleansing your feet daily, you can better combat this irritating issue.

Pedicure properly.

Take a break from your normal pedicure routine. By regularly removing nail polish, you can help dodge the potential bacteria and fungus living on your toenails.

Also, clean underneath your toenails, as soap and other debris can easily collect. After your next shower or bath, use a soft toothbrush in an upward motion to remove the possible grime.

For those people whose feet just can’t get warm.

In circular motions, apply foot cream between your heel and toes.

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