Winter foot care tips
You may have the “stockings hung by the chimney with care” part down,
but there are a number of other details to pay attention to when it comes to foot care during winter.
Boot-season gives millions of people the idea that it’s ok to neglect their feet, but just because those tootsies are in hiding doesn’t mean they should be ignored. In fact, it’s more important than ever to take care of your feet and toes during the winter season, when things like cold weather, damp socks and heated air can lead to cracked skin, fungal infections, "winter heels," and maybe even frostbite. So read on for the best winter foot care tips that will keep your feet happy throughout the season so they’re ready to shine come summertime!
Choose Appropriate Winter Footwear
Whether you’re walking to work on snow-covered sidewalks or swooshing down the ski slopes, it’s important to choose proper winter footwear that keeps your feet warm, dry and protected. Wintertime shoes should have ample padding but be roomy enough so as not to cut off circulation in the feet and toes. Avoiding man-made materials and other non-breathable fabrics can help control foot sweat, which could create an extra chill that can lead to frostbite on super cold winter days.
Cover Your Feet With Proper Socks
During the cold months, it’s best to choose breathable socks that will keep your feet both warm and dry. Wool or other moisture-wicking socks can help control foot sweat that can make your feet freeze. Interested in knowing whether or not your feet are sweating too much during the winter months? Extreme paleness and wrinkly toes are common signs of over-saturation.
Take Off Wet Shoes and Socks Right Away It’s pretty tough to avoid shoe and sock dampness during the winter, so it’s important to remove wet shoes and socks as soon as possible. Keeping them on leaves your feet susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections. You should also make sure that shoes are thoroughly dry before wearing them again. If they're not fully dry, choose a new pair to help keep your feet fresh and dry. Try to carry an extra pair of socks for emergency situations, such as when you just can’t say no to jumping into a giant snow drift.
Use Hydrating Foot Cream
Skin tends to dry out during the cold months when dry air and heaters zap moisture from the body. Avoid corns, calluses and cracked heels by keeping your feet properly moisturized with good quality foot creams.
Don’t Slack On Exercise During Winter Months
It’s pretty easy to blow off exercise when it’s cold outside; it’s much cozier to stay inside where it’s warm rather than go for an icy-cold walk or jog. But sitting around all day can lead to foot and ankle swelling. If you must stay inside, then be sure to do a few basic leg exercises to keep your blood flowing. If you brave the cold, be sure to allow time for extra stretching, as winter weather can make you less flexible and therefore prone to more injuries to your feet and the rest of your body.
Take A Toenail Polish Break
If there ever was a time for your toenails to go polish-free (gasp!), it’s right now, when your tootsie are covered by boots and socks. Going polish-free allows the nails to better soak up creams and lotions, and not using polish remover for extended periods of time will help fight against nail dryness. Meanwhile, if you use nail lacquers that contain yellowing agents like formaldehyde, going polish-free will allow the discolored nail to grow out so you’ll be perfectly ready for summertime shoes and sandals.
Treat Yourself To Warming Winter Foot Soaks
Wintertime can be a busy, stressful season, so treat yourself to relaxing, warming foot soaks once a week or so. Because having happy feet means having a happy winter season!
Summer foot care tips
Use these 10 summer footcare tips from the College of Podiatry to get your feet
in shape for summer.
1. Trim your toenails for summer
Use proper nail clippers and cut straight across – not too short, and not down at the corners, as this can lead to ingrown nails. File them, if that’s easier.
2. Go barefoot
Go barefoot or wear open-toed sandals whenever you can in the hot weather (except when you’re in a communal shower or changing area) to help stop your feet getting sweaty and smelly.
3. Forget flip-flops
Don’t be tempted to wear flip-flops or flimsy sandals all through the summer. They don’t provide support for your feet and can give you arch and heel pain if you wear them for too long.
4. Change socks daily
If you have to wear socks in hot weather, change them once a day and choose ones that contain at least 70% cotton or wool to keep your feet dry and stop them smelling.
5. Remove hard heel skin
Hard, cracked skin around the heels is very common in summer, often caused by open-backed sandals and flip-flops rubbing around the edge of the heel. Use a foot file, emery board or pumice stone to gently rub away the hard skin, then apply a rich moisturising cream to soften the skin.
6. Banish blisters
Blisters strike more often in hot weather. They’re caused by rubbing, especially between the toes if you’re wearing flip-flops with "thongs".
Prevent summer blisters by stretching out sandals. Wear them with socks and walk around indoors to loosen them up, or use foot balm to protect your skin from chaffing.
If you do get a blister, don’t pop it. Cover it in a plaster and if it bursts, apply some antiseptic.
7. Take a break from nail polish
Nails need to breathe from time to time, so have a break from nail polish about once a month for a few days to a week. This can help prevent discoloration, particularly if you like to use dark-coloured nail polishes.
8. Watch out for foot infections
The floors of communal showers and changing rooms at open-air and hotel swimming pools are hot spots for infections such as athlete’s foot and verrucas. Don’t wander around public pools barefoot. Protect your feet by wearing flip-flops in the changing room and at the pool edge.
9. Tackle sweat
If you have sweaty feet in the summer, it’s even more important to wash your feet each morning and evening in
warm, soapy water, then dry them thoroughly. You can also use an antibacterial wash, which deals with foot odour. Then wipe them with cotton wool dipped in surgical spirit and dust them with talc.
Here's more advice on how to stop smelly feet.
10. Use sun cream on your feet
Don’t stop at the ankle – put sun cream on the tops and soles of your feet as well. Not only does the skin on your feet and toes need protection, but nails are made of protein and are therefore as vulnerable to sun damage as your skin.