Frostbitten – The Essential Guide to Winter Foot Care
Be careful what you wish for – that’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way this year. After sweating through what seemed to be the stifling summer that never ended and the autumn that never happened, I found myself praying for winter’s arrival with blessed relief. I should have known better. Melbourne weather, on the other hand, has a way of exacting sweet revenge from those that mock it, and has it ever hit back with gusto!
Icy mornings and shivering nights don’t just play havoc with your heating bills. They can be surprisingly harsh on your feet. With the thongs and sandals firmly ensconced in the back of the shoe cupboard, our feet see far less light of day, and there can be a tendency to neglect them. If your feet are not exactly feeling the love this winter, here is the definitive guide to how you can keep them happy and healthy during the cold months:
Cream of the Crop
Winter means more time inside with the heater blasting, which translates to dry skin. Your feet are no exception, and a daily application of moisturiser will help keep them hydrated and avoid cracked heels, corns and calluses. Spending a few extra minutes massaging the cream into your feet thoroughly will have the added benefit of stimulating circulation, which promotes general foot health, especially If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic.
We get it. It’s cold, and the very last thing you want to do is to kick off those toasty Uggs and go au naturale. Nevertheless, your feet need to breathe, and even as little as 20 minutes a day can be sufficient to keep excess sweating, bacterial and fungal infections at bay. As unappealing as this might sound, take a deep breath and grit your teeth. It’s character building!
You’d be amazed how many people fail to make appropriate footwear choices in winter. Happy feet need sturdy shoes that keep them warm and dry, yet allow room to breathe. If you don’t have space to wiggle your toes, then switch to a pair that does. Additionally, it’s crucial to ensure that you have multiple pairs of shoes that fit this bill. The extra warmth can cause moisture to accumulate, increasing the risk of tinea and other infections. Switch your shoes out regularly and ensure that they have sufficient time to air out before the next wearing.
The cold snap has not brought with it much rain, but trust me, it’s coming. When it does, it’s critical to ensure that you keep your feet as dry as possible. If you’re caught in a downpour or accidentally step into a puddle that soaks right through, be sure to change your shoes and socks as soon as you can.
As tempting as it is to spend your time curled up under a cosy blanket with a hot cup of tea, staying active is a great way to promote foot health. Increased activity means improved circulation and reduced foot and ankle swelling. If you’re stuck behind a desk all day, take a few moments every day to do some foot exercises to get the blood pumping.
Synthetic socks are one of your feet’s worst enemies, and never more so than in winter. Always opt for socks made with natural fibres such as wool or cotton. Such materials are far more breathable and will counteract any build-up of moisture that would otherwise have been trapped by synthetic fibres.
With a little bit of common sense and a decent serving of care and attention, your feet can stay in outstanding shape and be ready for action once flip-flop season returns!