Winter can mean skiing, ice skating, or simply trudging through snow. Our feet take a pounding during the coldest months. Podiatrists see an uptick in a variety of ailments during this time of year including broken bones and infections. Here are some steps you can take to keep your feet healthy during the winter.
Winter sports enthusiasts should wear the proper foot equipment
Millions of people enjoy skiing and snowboarding during the winter. Foot and ankle injuries are common in both sports. Podiatrists see an uptick in the number of patients with sprains, strains, dislocations, and fractures of the foot and ankle.
Many of these injuries can be avoided by simply wearing appropriately-fitted footwear. Boots should allow you to wiggle your toes while keeping your heel, instep, and the ball of your foot in place. For extra comfort, orthotics can be worn as well.
Even an expert skier or snowboarder can fall victim to injury. If you're tired or feel any pain, listen to your body. It's time to stop for the day.
Avoid bacterial infections
Rain, sleet, and snow make boots a necessity in winter. While it's important to keep feet warm and dry, be aware that your feet will also sweat more. Sweaty, damp feet are more prone to bacterial infections. One way to combat bacteria is by using a foot powder before putting on your socks. As an extra measure of protection, foot baths are a good idea as well.
Diabetics should be particularly vigilant in cold weather
Diabetics need to be extremely cautious about their foot care any time of year, but winter poses even greater health threats. With the cold weather, numbness and lower circulation become more of a problem. In order to avoid foot ulcers or infections, wearing comfortable footwear is crucial. Winter boots should provide warmth and dryness, without being too tight. Socks that wick moisture away from feet are another good idea.
Diabetes can cause nerve damage in feet, making it difficult to gauge when something is too hot. Be very careful if using an electric blanket or taking a dip in a hot bath. Always check hot water with your hands or a thermometer and don't put a heating instrument, such as space heater, too close to your feet.
With a few precautions, winter can be a fun, active time of year. Take care of your feet and you'll be dancing into the spring. Ask a professional like Family Foot Center Podiatry Group Inc for more information.
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