Summer is just around the corner. And, if you live in or around Sacramento, then you already know what that means – four months of 90+ degree temperatures!
As the heat rises, you may already be planning vacations, picnics, beach walks, and many other summer activities. But don’t forget about your feet while you’re at it – did you know that during this time of year foot problems tend to escalate?
Though summer season may be an exciting time for you and your family, your feet can easily fall prey to painful sunburns, blisters, calluses, puncture wounds, and many other complications that might keep you from enjoying summer to its fullest.
There is no need to panic, however, because the foot and ankle experts at McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry are here to make sure your summer fun is spent doing the things you love – and not dealing with achy, itchy, or smelly feet!
So let’s get right to it. We know you are eager to get out there in the sun.
Common Summer Foot Problems
When was the last time you actually “worried” about your feet? Chances are it has been a while – if ever. So why would you start now, right?
Well, the truth is that, with temperatures spiking, your feet will inevitably be exposed to some more-than-unwelcoming environments—and the chances of developing painful conditions (and even injuries) will be peaking right alongside those rising digits. From being stuffed in sweaty socks all day to being barefoot and exposed to bacteria and harmful objects, your feet will be going through a lot this season.
Some of the most common summer foot conditions include:
- Heel pain. Since we tend to be more active in the summer, heel pain can start to develop. This increase in activity puts our feet (especially our heels) under more strain than they are used to.
- Sunburn. The main reason feet have a greater risk of sunburn is that people simply forget to apply sunblock to their feet.
- Swollen feet. The combination of increased activity levels and high heat and humidity mean that there is an increased risk of experiencing swollen feet during the summer months.
- Athlete’s foot. This condition is common year-round, but the greater concern in summer comes from the increased risk of spreading the disease because of all the extra bare feet running around, as well as sweatier conditions inside socks and shoes.
- Corns and blisters. All the sweating, swelling, and sunburn that are common in the summer can lead to other foot health issues, such as corns and blisters.
How to Avoid Common Summer Foot Problems
As it is the case for most other health problems out there, prevention is key when it comes to foot conditions – no matter what time of year it is. And, fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take in order to steer clear from annoying and even painful foot problems this summer.
Avoid walking barefoot
Yes, we know – walking barefoot can be quite tempting, especially when it’s so hot out. But it’s not the best idea. Athlete’s foot, toenail fungus and other common skin and nail infections can easily be found in moist areas like public showers, locker rooms and swimming pools.
Being barefoot also increases your chance of injury, and it can cause foot pain in other ways, too. For instance, if you have normal or high arches, going without the arch support you would otherwise get in supportive shoes can be very uncomfortable and even lead to heel pain.
Wear the right shoes
One step up from going barefoot in the summer is wearing unsupportive flip flops or sandals. These types of footwear can cause foot pain in their own right – most flip flops are too flat and cause the forefoot to work harder to grasp the shoe in an attempt to keep the shoe on, and sometimes they may even cause painful blisters.
For better foot health, look for sandals that offer support and protection to your feet, and make sure that the shoe stays in place whenever you take a step (shoes that move around the feet a lot can easily lead to blisters).
Don’t forget about the socks
Choosing the right pair of socks can be just as important as the shoes you wear.
In fact, being mindful of what type of socks you use can mean the difference between having healthy feet and developing a nasty fungal nail. To ensure that your feet are in a comfortable and safe environment (and one that is moisture-free), opt for socks made of cotton or other moisture-wicking materials.
Also, make sure to change your socks whenever they become damp – whether that means every day, or even multiple times per day. Either way, you should avoid letting your feet soak in its own sweat where bacteria can fester and cause harm to your skin and/or nails.
Moisturize your feet
Your feet can get dry during the summer season. Sometimes this can be due to being exposed to the elements more often, or even because of excessive sweating.
No matter the reason, it’s important to keep your feet moisturized. Dry skin can result in painful cracks and fissures in the skin. So make sure to apply moisturizing lotion to your feet twice a day (preferably after thoroughly washing and drying them), while avoiding those areas between the toes.
Trim your nails the right way
Making sure your nails are properly clipped will help prevent infections from taking hold or worsening.
Clip your nails regularly, and be sure to cut in a relatively horizontal fashion. You may think it’s natural to give your nails a sort of curved shape, especially given the shape of nail clippers, but this can cause the sides of your nails to grow into your skin and develop an ingrown toenail.
Find Expert Summer Foot Care at McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group
We certainly hope that, armed with these helpful tips, you will be able to steer clear from annoying, and even painful, foot problems this summer. That said, we also understand that these can sometimes happen despite all preventative measures taken – and if that is ever the case for you, then you can count on us to get your summer back on track.
All you have to do is schedule an appointment at our office by calling us at (888) 447-0733 or simply filling out our handy contact form online.