Perhaps even more than the summertime, wintertime is especially rough on our feet. Humidity drops and temperatures grow harsh, making our feet dry, cracked, achy, and prone to infection. Keeping your feet healthy and happy during the winter means less work getting them spring and summertime ready.
Step 1: Moisturize to prevent infection.
Taking warms baths and showers after spending time in the cold air can cause feet to become dry, which leads to cracking skin. Your skin is the first line of defense against infection, and just like cracks in the foundation of your house, cracks in your feet allow unwanted guests to infiltrate your body.
Stay away from moisturizers that are fragrance-filled or frilly, as they further dry your skin out. Look instead for lotion that contains water, glycerin, which keeps moisture in, and allantoin, which breaks down the rough barrier, allowing water to get into the skin. All of these ingredients help the skin heal itself. You will find the best moisturizers not in the beauty aisle, but in the health aisle or home improvement store. Men who are on their feet all day use O'Keefe's for Healthy Feet, which was designed to stimulate the skin's natural healing process by retaining moisture to hydrate the skin, altering pH levels, and increasing blood circulation.
Step 2: Protection from the elements
Going outside, even to quickly bring the garbage out to the curb, means exposure to bone-chilling winds, icy rain, and blowing snow. Brr! Choosing the right protective gear keeps feet healthy.
Invest in a good pair of boots that keep your feet warm. Fashionable boots don't mean they will keep your feet warm- they are more likely to cause you to slip on icy walkways and in parking lots. Boots should be waterproof to keep out rain and snow, and have a good sole with thick treads to help grip slippery surfaces. Wear your winter boots to work, and then change into work shoes. Consider wearing several pairs of socks to insulate feet and keep moisture away.
Step 3: Understand frostbite.
Skin exposed to extremely cold temperatures for prolonged periods can get frost bite. Even when wearing thick socks and boots, moisture present in skin cells and tissues freezes. Frost bite can happen quickly, especially when skin is directly exposed to the cold, and there are varying levels of severeness.
Frost bite symptoms include numbness, pins and needles sensations, hard, pale skin when cold and red, and painful or blistered skin after warmed. If you suspect you have frost bite, never put feet in hot water, always warm water between 104 to 107.6 degrees F to gradually warm skin. If the symptoms continue after soaking in warm water, call a podiatrist immediately.
If you believe have a foot problem and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
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