By: Lorraine E. McKinney, D.P.M., Podiatrist
It’s that time of year where we put away the fall and winter clothing and refresh our wardrobes with sprinkles of spring and summer. With frequent rain showers, humid weather, and hot summer temperatures, we strive to keep our bodies and feet as cool as possible. Cook outs, beach parties, strolls in the park, and other events keep our calendars full and the need for comfortable clothing and shoes necessary.
While we select the right clothing for an event, often as many fashionistas say, “The shoes make the outfit.” Fashion has its place, but it is the health of our feet that gives us a firm foundation to make it to all those events and have comfort. We must treat our feet right, and take action to make safe foot care choices especially during this time of year.
Here are some helpful hints to keep your feet healthy for spring and summer:
- Wear shoes that are comfortable for the particular activity. If you are going to an amusement park, it is better to wear well-fitting tennis shoes and socks versus sandals. If you prefer to not wear socks, try a thinner sock so that you will be comfortable.
- Keep feet clean, dry them well after a bath or shower use cream or lotion on your feet. Doing this every day will keep your feet free from debris and dirt, and provide gentle, protective moisture to your feet.
- Wear shoes at the beach or water park. Many people get to the beach and kick off their shoes and socks. This would be a novel idea, however, in the sand at many beaches are pieces of glass, metal, and even sharp shells that can cut the feet and cause an injury to the feet. Water parks often have clear surfaces; however, with so many people walking around barefoot, often, people have fungus on their feet, and “share” the fungus at the water park. Consider wearing water shoes or an older pair of tennis shoes you don’t mind getting wet to the beach or water park. The main idea is to protect your feet at all times.
- If you have diabetes and/or “poor circulation” in your feet, take particular care of your summer foot health. This is the time of year where we see an increase of foot infections in the office, often because patients are walking barefoot or without the correct shoes. Injury (including cuts, bruises, or sores) in the feet of patients with diabetes or poor circulation could lead to an amputation of a foot, toe, or leg. Speak to your podiatrist before planning any outdoor events, to get information about your particular foot type and what type of shoe is best for you.
- Forget the flip flops. These shoes are popular in our area of the state, as we have warmer weather most of the year. Some people wear flip flops year round. However, during the spring and summer, more people “want their feet out” and wear flip flops. For people with poor circulation and diabetes, senior citizens or people who are unsteady while walking, flip flop wear can lead to an increased incidence of falls and other skin injuries.
- No artificial toenails. Many ladies (and men) head to the nail salon to get their feet “sandal ready”, and know they are missing a toenail or have a discolored toenail. Nail salon personnel will often attempt to create an artificial toenail and apply it to your toe at your request. This is not a good option, as it can damage the nail bed and or nail root, and become a harbor for fungus or other bacterial infections.
When in doubt about foot health, contact a podiatrist! A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine, who specializes in managing problems with the feet and ankles. Make a splash this spring and summer with healthy feet!
A native of Houston, Dr. McKinney has practiced podiatry for over seventeen years. She currently serves the foot care needs of patients in the greater Houston area. For questions or further information, please call 281-402-3561.