Looking After Your Feet during the Cold Season
Winter can be a challenging time for our feet and it’s easy to forget about them when they’re out of sight! But the right care and attention will help to minimise any problems and ensure that they are ready to face the world again in spring.
Keep feet and ankles warm
Cold temperatures reduce circulation and lead to increased risk of chilblains. If you are planning to ski this year, remember that frostbite is also a very real possibility if your skin is exposed. Always wear suitable wool socks in a winter grade thickness to provide a breathable layer of warmth and cushioning. If it is icy or snowy outside, make sure that you also wear quality winter footwear that will keep your toes toasty and prevent any slips or falls. Now is not the time to be wearing your summer sandals or lightweight trainers!
Check shoe size
It is vital that you wear shoes and boots in the right size, or you can find yourself with blisters or more serious problems. Carefully measure your feet and look for footwear that provides the right level of support and a comfortable fit, with room for your winter socks.
Choose natural fabrics
Although the weather is cold, your feet will sweat as usual. So make sure you wear breathable and natural fabrics such as woollen socks and leather shoes to avoid issues with athlete’s foot and fungal infections. Look for socks and hosiery which incorporate bamboo, silver or copper; all of which help to avoid sweat build-up and bacteria.
Your heels can get very dry in winter, so use a thick and nourishing moisturiser specifically designed for the skin on your feet after you have a shower or bath.
Remove dry skin
If your heels do become dry, then smooth them gently with a pumice stone. Wet the stone first to soften it and use a gentle motion. A more specialist file can be used as advised by your podiatrist on any problem areas. Remember to go easy and avoid ‘scrubbing’ at your feet.
Take a break from nail polish
If you regularly wear nail polish on your toenails, give them a break over winter and go au naturel. This will help to strengthen and restore the nails. Try taking a multivitamin that contains biotin, which will help to ensure healthy nail growth. Another good supplement is blackcurrant oil, which contains an essential fatty acid to keep nails flexible.
Treat hard-working feet
Give your feet a relaxing Epsom salt bath at the end of a busy day. Add a large handful of the salts into a warm bath and relax for as long as possible for the maximum benefit. If your feet feel tired and sore, try rolling them gently over a cold aerosol can, as the rolling motion is soothing and massaging.
Exercise in winter is beneficial, but warm up your feet and ankles first with gentle rolling, flexing and stretching movements. This will prepare them for the activity to come and help to minimise any discomfort or the risk of injury.
Above all else, keep an eye on your feet, be respectful of the vital role that they play in our daily lives and contact your podiatrist if you notice any concerns. Have a healthy and comfortable winter!