Helping you get through the winter blues!
This the time of year… The temperature is falling, and we're ready to hide away for the Winter season. It is time for boots, our warm bed socks, and slippers! We want you to stay warm and cosy; however, it’s essential to know that this attire can contribute to conditions including dry feet, callus formation, corns, tinea, bacteria, fungal infections, and sore feet.
As Podiatrists, we see a lot of these conditions regularly throughout the winter months. Below we have listed some top tips to keep your feet healthy this Winter:
- No nail polish
Your toenails have been polished from Spring to Autumn; it’s important to give them a break! Keeping nail polish on for long periods can increase your chance of fungal infections. Nail polish doesn’t allow the nail to breathe, which creates the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to grow. Make sure you’re monitoring your nails for any colour changes. Coconut oil is a perfect natural ingredient that you can apply nightly to help strengthen your nail bed through the cooler months. Tea tree oil also has antifungal properties, which also helps minimise the spread of fungal on the nail bed, including discolouration of the nail bed.
- Stay moisturized
When our feet get cold, the blood supply to our feet reduces, which preserves heat but makes our skin dry and sometimes may cause dry skin and painful fissures. It’s important to consider a moisturizer with the ingredient 15% urea applied nightly.
- Get some woollen socks.
Now that the warmer months are coming to an end put your cotton blend socks away and start looking at a woollen blend. Synthetic fibres, including a Polyester blend, provide no insulation and leave your feet feeling cold and bare. We recommend buying socks with a higher percentage of wool, precisely, merino to aid in heat retention. Ensure you change your socks daily to ensure no bacteria or fungi spores are forming!
- Adequate winter shoes
We all love a trendy style boot in Winter! When looking at boots, it’s important to look out for a cushioned or supportive shoe, preferably with leather material. Properties of leather include durability and breathability, which helps prevent bacteria and fungi spread. Other poorly insulated materials can cause your feet to sweat, which creates the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to grow. Make sure your shoes have a ‘deep and wide toe box’; this helps prevent pressure on the toes and feet which will help reduce the formation of painful callous and corns.
If you want something to slip on at home, look at orthotic slippers, including Archline slippers. To increase the warmth, consider sheepskin liners to insert into your shoes. These can be purchased from most large pharmacies.
Change your shoes regularly to ensure they don’t become damp and moist! If they start looking damp, dark or smelly, it’s time for a new pair.
- Daily foot checks
Ensure you're doing daily foot checks to monitor any change in:
- Skin colour – Blue or red skin colour appearance may indicate signs of poor circulation
- Minimal or no hair growth – May indicate signs of poor circulation
- Cold or hot feet – May indicate signs of peripheral vascular disease or poor circulation
- Red and/or itchy spots may indicate Chilblains, which are quite common in the cooler months among all age groups.
When to See a Podiatrist
If you're suffering from the colder weather, see one of our friendly Podiatrists. We are highly trained to conduct ankle and foot assessments, including a vascular assessment that helps assess blood flow quality to the feet.
Prevention is always better than treatment; rug up and stay warm this Winter!