Ortho Corner: Caring for your feet during the winter months

Ortho Corner
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Ortho Corner
Pamela V. Gekas, DPMProvided

We wear warm coats, hats, scarfs, gloves or mittens during the colder temperatures. But what do we do to protect our feet? It’s easy to forget about our feet when we cover them with shoes and socks. But, are they covered in the same footwear from the previous season? You can decrease your risk of foot problems by taking the proper precautions in cold weather. Cold weather, damp socks, along with heated and dry air, can lead to cracked skin, fungal infections, frostbite, and a bevy of additional winter-related injuries.

Wearing the right shoes in the colder temperatures is important. Shoes or boots should have sturdy soles, be waterproof, well cushioned, and wide in the forefoot. Shoes and boots should fit properly. There should be enough room in the forefoot to wiggle your toes. Tight shoes and boots can decrease the blood flow making it harder to keep your feet warm, which then increases the risk of developing frostbite. Replace shoes and boots when treads are worn down to prevent falls and injuries.

Wool or moisture-wicking socks should be worn to keep feet warm and dry. Remove wet socks and shoes immediately. Allow shoes and boots to dry completely before wearing them again. To help prevent fungal infections from developing, allow shoes and boots to dry completely before wearing them again

Indoor heating and dry winter air can create cracked, dry skin on feet and hands. Fissures can develop on heels that create pain and may become infected. Moisturize daily to prevent and treat dry skin. Clean feet daily and dry completely especially between toes.

Winter can be hard on our feet, but by taking the proper precautions, we can prevent and decrease the risk of foot problems. Be smart when choosing footwear in colder weather, and take care of your feet this winter.

Dr. Gekas is a podiatric medicine specialist with a special interest in sports related injuries, as well as fracture care and biomechanics. She sees patients in Bryn Mawr, Glen Mills, Media and South Philadelphia. For information on Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, visit RothmanOrtho.com.