Now that the weather is really getting warmer (and sometimes hot), it’s time to put away the covered shoes and pull out all of the fun, stylish sandals! Women especially love to be able to show off their newly pedicured toes in the summer. But oftentimes there are other aspects of our feet that we don’t want to show off, including dry, flakey heels, corns, calluses, and blisters. So how can we prepare our feet for the summer and help them remain healthy and looking great all year round?
If the thought of getting a pedicure makes your heart race, you may want to consider scheduling a visit with a foot doctor. AllCare Foot & Ankle Center specializes in a variety of foot and ankle conditions, from diabetic foot care to nail fungus treatment. Sure, we offer our patients treatments and surgeries for larger issues, including stem cell therapy and neuroma treatment, but we also take care of smaller conditions that can make wearing open-toed shoes in the summer uncomfortable, like bunions.
Your feet, especially when wearing sandals, are just as exposed as your nose or shoulders and deserve a good layer of sunscreen. Look for a sunscreen that offers both UVA and UVB protection and has ingredients like ecamsule, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide.
When your feet sweat, it can cause a variety of issues, including the growth of bacteria or fungus, athletes foot, and callouses. To help keep your feet dry, wear socks with shoes and make sure they’re made with a wicking material and not nylon or cotton. Use cornstarch or a foot powder on your feet to prevent moisture and any odors from occurring. When you wear water shoes or get your shoes wet, take them off as quickly as possible to prevent your feet from staying moist for a long time.
No matter what season it is, your feet need support. Whether you look for a sandal with good arch support and padding, or a casual sneaker, these shoes will help support not only your feet and ankles, but also your knees, legs, and back. Wearing the right type of shoe is especially important if you’re a runner or hiker. The more support you have for your feet and ankles, the better.
While on the topic of shoes, it’s also best to avoid flip flops and high heeled shoes. Neither of these styles provides your feet with any support and high heels will put your feet in positions that can cause long-term issues. Flip flops can lead to stress fractures, heel pain, and tendonitis. Shoes with straps, especially when they are new and not worn in, can rub and dig into your skin. Broken skin, mixed with moisture and dirt from the road, is a recipe for infection.
One of the best parts about summer is the opportunity to walk barefoot through sandy beaches. However, this is a foot doctor’s worst nightmare. Wherever you are walking, be sure to at least have some form of footwear to protect your feet from dangerous elements. Without shoes, you can expose your feet to sunburn, splinters, bugs, dirt, germs, broken glass, and so much more.
When it comes to your feet, one of the most difficult things to prevent in the summer is cracked heels. And one of the causes is wearing flat, open-backed shoes. These will allow the pad of the heel to press down and spread, which is partly what causes the skin to crack. To treat cracked heels, make a habit of using an exfoliating moisturizer every night to keep them hydrated. You can also use a pumice stone once or twice a week in the shower, after letting them soften in the hot water. When using a pumice stone, only rub in one direction.
Drinking plenty of water, or snacking on juicy fruits and vegetables, is something that should be done year round. If you do a lot of walking, however, the summer heat can cause your feet and ankles to swell, and staying hydrated can help reduce the swelling.
Welcoming in the summer weather is more than just digging out your favorite pair of heels — it’s about knowing how to take care of your feet so that they are healthy and looking their best.
If you’re struggling with corns, blisters, bunions, fungus, or any other foot condition, visit with a foot doctor at AllCare Foot & Ankle Center. Our Arlington and Dallas podiatrists strive to provide compassionate and thorough care.