Winter Footcare Tips
During the winter, feet are tucked away in boots which can lead us to neglect them. Just because our toes are hiding, doesn’t mean they should be ignored. During the winter season, cold damp weather can lead to things like fungal infection, cracked heels and chilblains. Tight enclosed footwear also increases the likelihood of an ingrown toenail & we tend to see an influx of people with ingrown toenails in the Autumn when people start wearing full shoes and winter boots.
Read on for some top tips for footcare through the colder months.
1. Choose appropriate footwear
All footwear should fit well, with space for the toes to move freely. Enclosed, water resistant footwear helps prevent cold related problems. In winter, a sole with good grip is important. Ice and snow grips can be pulled over shoes in extreme conditions to help prevent slips, trips and falls. These can be bought online for less than £10.
2. Keep feet warm (but not sweaty!)
Wearing closed toe shoes and waterproof boots combined with socks that trap moisture against your skin may lead to foot perspiration which can cause fungal and bacterial skin problems such as athlete’s foot and fungal nails. Damp, sweaty feet can also have a chilling effect on the skin.
Choose materials that are moisture-wicking such as merino wool or bamboo. You may need to change your socks a few times a day if you are someone who suffers from sweaty feet. Take off your shoes and socks when coming in from cold, damp weather, let your feet dry out and put on a new pair. Astringents such as surgical spirit or witch hazel can help to dry the skin between the toes.
Alternate footwear to allow shoes to dry out in between wear.
3. Keep feet clean
Excess moisture combined with dirty feet is the perfect environment for infection and foot odour. Wash feet daily using a gentle cleanser but don’t be tempted to soak them for more than a minute or 2 as prolonged soaking can affect the skins natural moisture barrier.
4. Avoid dry skin
During the winter, indoor heating and low humidity levels can increase skin dryness, callus build up and cracked heels. The skin is a natural barrier against infection, but this barrier function is reduced if the skin is dry and cracked.
Use a foot cream containing urea once or twice a day to keep skin healthy.
5. Have a foot MOT with your podiatrist
A podiatrist can assess your feet for potential problems such as testing circulation and nerve sensation, assessing the skin and treating any issues before they become severely problematic. This is particularly important if you have diabetes. Cold weather can aggravate circulation problems and if you have poor nerve sensation, heat sources such as hot water bottles or warming feet by a fire can cause burns.
Winter warming foot treatments at Ayres Health
During the colder months, you may wish to treat yourself to some time out with a relaxing treatment incorporating heat to sooth aching muscles and joints.
Warm paraffin wax
Feet are massaged with a warm oil and warm wax is gently applied to the feet with a soft brush. The feet are then enclosed in heated booties to allow the heat to take affect. An additional benefit is the wax leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth. Great for dry skin.
Hot stone foot massage
A relaxing foot and leg massage incorporating heated basalt stones.