As we pull up the bed covers, crank up the heating and pop some soup on the stove our feet are the furthest thing from our mind. Just because the temperature has dropped doesn’t mean your foot health should.
Podiatrist, Joseph Frenkel offers his top 10 tips for keeping your feet in great shape for winter.
1. Moisturise Daily
Household heating can be very drying on skin, especially hands, face and feet. Keep your skin hydrated and supple with regular moisturising.
2. Got air?
Although it’s cold, our feet need some fresh air and barefoot time everyday. Kick off your shoes and socks for at least 20 minutes a day to reduce sweating, fungal and bacterial infections.
3. Keep it natural
Socks and hosiery are standard winter dress, but synthetic materials can increase sweating and the likelihood of fungal and bacterial infections. Switch to natural fibres containing cotton and wool and your feet will thank you!
4. Massage your circulation problems away
Chilblains are very common in cooler weather and a good foot massage can help relieve the pain. Massage is also great for any foot aches and pains and keeps your circulation moving.
5. Watch your step!
Winter doesn’t mean you should stop exercising, but it does mean you need to take a little more care when performing any outdoor exercise. Slippery surfaces and less sunlight can increase the chances of injury, so take care when enjoying the great outdoors.
6. Not too hot and not too cold
Keeping warm in winter is essential and a hot shower or bath is a great way to feel toasty. Aside from overheating leading to skin dehydration, high water temperatures can be dangerous around children and those with reduced sensation. Always remember to test the water first.
7. Switch your soap
Winter is a great time for a clothes overhaul, but have you thought about a soap or shampoo overhaul? Use a mild PH-balanced non-soap cleanser which will help keep your skin healthy and hydrated.
8. Study your shoes
Enclosed shoes keep out the elements during winter. Shoes should be waterproof and your soles in good conditions to help protect your feet from rain, hail and snow. Any tired looking footwear should be given the boot!
9. Stretch away stiffness
Snuggling up when its cold is one of the simple joys of the cold season. But huddling under the covers can be too much of a good thing. Hunching during cold nights can cause stiffness. Start each day with a good stretch of every muscle to keep loose and flexible.
10. Hit the nails
Nails growth slows in winter with a decrease in peripheral circulation. Keeping an eye on your nails during winter is a must as they are often out of site during winter. Make sure your nails are good health by having a good look at them everyday and seek professional advice if anything is bothering you.
Joseph Frenkel is a podiatrist with over 13 years’ experience. He specialises in nail pathology, cosmetic nail procedures, infectious diseases of the foot, lower limb manifestations of chronic dermatological complaints and wound healing.
Joseph is a consultant at the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc. To make an appointment call 03 9623 9473. No referral necessary.