Winter can be just as tough on your toes as it is on cars and houses. Don’t neglect ‘em just because they are hidden away! Good foot health contributes to your overall health, no matter the season.
Below, podiatrist Kory Miskin, DPM, shares a few tips on how to be sweet to your feet during the cold weather:
- DON’T IMPROVISE WINTER SPORT SHOES: If you snowboard or ski, it’s important to only wear boots specifically designed for that purpose. Make sure they fit properly. This means that you should be able to wiggle your toes and the boots should immobilize the heel, instep, and ball of your foot. You can use orthotics (support devices that go inside shoes) to help control the foot’s movement inside ski boots or ice skates.
- BE “SIZE-SMART” WHEN BUYING NEW: It may be tempting to buy pricey specialty footwear (like winter boots or ski boots) for kids in a slightly larger size in hope that they’ll be able to get two seasons of wear out of them. Unlike coats that kids can grow into, footwear needs to fit properly right away. Properly fitted skates and boots can help prevent blisters, chafing, and ankle or foot injuries. Likewise, if socks are too small, they can force toes to bunch together, and that friction can cause painful blisters or corns.
- KEEP YOUR TOES COZY, BUT NOT TOO COZY: Boots are must-have footwear in winter climates, especially when dealing with winter precipitation. Between the waterproof material of the boots themselves and the warm socks you wear to keep toes toasty, you may find your feet sweat a lot. Damp sweaty feet can chill more easily and are more prone to bacterial infections. To keep feet clean and dry, consider using foot powder inside socks and incorporating extra foot baths into your foot care regimen this winter.
- IT’S OKAY TO RUN IN THE COLD: If you’re a runner, you don’t need to let the cold stop you! A variety of warm, light-weight, moisture-wicking active wear available at most running or sporting goods stores helps ensure runners stay warm and dry in bitter temperatures. Try and shorten your stride to help maintain stability during icy conditions instead of altering the way your foot strikes the ground. Always remember to stretch during the cold!
- KEEP YOUR FEET HYDRATED: Remember to keep your feet moisturized on a daily basis, but do not moisturize in between your toes. After bathing and/or showering, make sure to dry your feet in between your toes to avoid cracking/fissuring which can lead to bacterial infections.
As a final winter safety-reminder, remember not to tip-toe through winter snow, ice, and temperatures in summer footwear. Choose winter footwear that will keep your feet warm, dry, and well-supported to avoid exposing your feet to frostbite or injury. The good news is, there are plenty of options out there that meet THE criteria (and are fashionable as well).
Dr. Kory Miskin joined the OCH Health System in December. He is available to see patients Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the OCH of Gravette facility. Dr. Miskin can provide medical diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems. He received his education from Brigham Young University – Provo and from Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine. He is currently is a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association and American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. To contact the OCH of Gravette Specialty Clinic, or schedule an appointment, call the office at 479-344-6870 or fax 479-344-6865.