In the spring and summer we’re generally more active since it’s “pretty feet and no shoes” weather. As the temperatures drops though, we hide our feet inside thick socks and boots. Did you know that not caring for your feet and ankles during the colder months can actually lead to annoying and even painful foot and ankle problems? It is true and Dr. Goldstien and the staff of the Foot Pain Center of Kansas City treat patients every year who suffer from winter-induced: cracked dry skin, calluses, chilblains, frostbite, sprains, broken bones, etc… We thought you might like to see some of the tips we believe will help you avoid painful foot and ankle issues this winter.
Whether you plan to be out shopping, your kids are playing in the snow or you work in the outdoors the most important tip we have is invest in the proper shoes.
- Water Proof – combine cold and wet and your feet are susceptible to a number of painful cold-injury problems. Having water proof shoes and boots ensures your feet stay dryer and if your boots are insulated then warmer too.
- Room for Sock – insulated or not, you need thicker socks to help keep your feet warm so make sure you have “sock room” in your boots. Too snug can cause blisters or excessive sweating and too loose can cause poor support which increases your chance of twisted or broken ankles.
- Adequate Grip – traction is everything when it comes to avoiding slips and falls. Make sure the sole of your shoes provides with the grip you need for the terrain you walk on.
With or without the fireplace, one of the best feelings in the world might be warm, fuzzy socks on cold feet. When your feet are cold, your body will be cold, because your head and feet are the two biggest outlets of body heat. If you keep them warm and cozy, the rest of your body will feel the same way.
- All Natural – socks that are 100% natural fiber (wool, cotton…) is best. If your feet are cold and sweaty, put on a thin synthetic (wicking) sock to absorb moisture and a thicker natural fiber sock on over it to keep in the warmth.
Treat your feet like its summer all year! Keep them warm and pamper them because feet dry out in the winter and cracked skin is painful.
- Pamper Your Feet – a few times a week, apply a good skin moisturizer like Gold Bond Ultimate Healing. This will help you avoid dry cracked skin, callus growth, etc.…
- Protect Your Feet – soaking your feet to warm them up is okay once in a while, but soaking too frequently can actually lead to excessive dryness and cracking.
Important Note: people with diabetes should be especially careful of warming their feet near space heaters and fireplaces. Poor sensation on the bottom of their feet could lead to a burn. Sustaining a burn on the bottom of the feet is not conducive to an active lifetstyle!
No matter how good the grip or the fit of your shoes, one false step and you can break or sprain your ankle in an instant.
- Improve the Grip – consider traction cleats that easily attach to most shoes for improved safety when it is slick outside. Sprains and ligament tears are VERY common during the winter months
- Carry to the Side – instead of stacking all the presents, coats, groceries in front of you make smaller loads, multiple trips and carry items to your side so that you may see where you are going
We all tend to sit more when it is cold, but this actually makes you colder. Get up and move, find a reason to get up from your desk or get off the couch and keep your feet moving. The increase in blood flow will keep you warmer and improves proper circulation in your feet. Lack of foot circulation can lead to a number of serious problems, especially for those with diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and high cholesterol.
So this winter, remember to take care of your feet and ankles! Just a little TLC goes a long way to avoid future feet and ankle pain. Foot Pain Center of Kansas City wants you to have happy feet all year long!