With summer well and truly here, we offer some summer foot health tips.
In the summer, many of us like to wear sandals and jandals. However, some types of jandals and sandals have no heel or arch support and expose our skin to the elements, putting the structure of the feet under greater stress. This can lead to pain and the risk of dry, cracked heels.
Blisters occur more often in hot weather too, often caused by the toe-stops of jandals rubbing between the toes or by sandals rubbing on bare skin. Try wearing in sandals by wearing them round the house first with socks on to stretch them a little. If you do get a blister, don’t pop it. Cover it in a plaster (you can buy specialist blister plasters), and if it bursts apply some antiseptic.
Other foot complaints more common in warmer weather are fungal infections like athlete’s foot, which can lead to intense itching and cracked, blistered or peeling areas of the skin. If left untreated, athlete’s foot can spread to the toenails causing thickening and yellowing of the nail. Fungal infections are highly contagious so avoid touching them and try not to use the same towel for your feet as the rest of your body. You can buy topical over-the-counter remedies, but if it persists you might need oral medication, so see a podiatrist if it doesn’t clear up.
Our toes are much more on show in summer, so trimming and polishing are carried out more frequently. To avoid ingrown toenails, which pierce the flesh of the toe and can be extremely painful and lead to infection, give your toe nails a trim after a bath or shower, when the nails are softer. Cut straight across, not too short, and just file the corners rather than cutting them.
Nails need a break to breathe from time to time, so give them a rest from nail polish about once a month for a few days to a week to help prevent discoloration or possible infections, which you wouldn’t be able to see under the polish. Alternatively wear clear varnish instead of colour. There are also some newer types of nail polish available that are more breathable and kinder to nails. Nail can also look just as glamorous with a good buffing, to get a natural, healthy shine.
The tops of bare feet (like the top of our heads and our shoulders) are at risk of the damaging effects of harmful UV sun rays, so remember to put lots of sun cream on the tops and soles of feet when you are out in the sun and re-apply frequently if it isn’t a once-only application sunscreen or after swimming.
If you’re a water baby and love to paddle or swim in the sea, try to wear flip-flops or other lightweight beach shoes to avoid injury from sharp shells or stones, sea creatures or other sharp objects like broken glass.
If you have diabetes, it is even more important to be especially careful in the summer. If you know that you have numbness from peripheral neuropathy (or even if you don’t know), take care not to tread on stones or get blisters from wearing summer footwear without socks. Check your feet every day to make sure you don’t have any cuts or abrasions. Try and avoid walking around barefoot, and if you do get a wound clean it and put a dressing on it, and if it isn’t healing after 3-4 days have it checked.
For all your foot care needs, contact us today.
0800 473 776