Certain shoes can leave you prone to cracked heels and dry skin due to friction from wearing loose-fitted shoes. People who wear sandals and other open-heeled shoes are more at risk for developing cracked heels. Instead, opt for closed-heeled shoes that fit properly and provide support.
If you are overweight, you may be surprised to discover that this could be contributing to your dry, cracked heels. This is because your feet take on all of your weight while standing, walking, and running. By safely dropping that excess weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise you can alleviate some of the pressure placed on your heels to reduce the risk of cracking.
While we know just how luxurious it feels to stand in a steaming hot shower, especially during the winter months, this could be contributing to dry skin on your feet and cracked heels. If this is something you deal with regularly you may look at your current bathing or showering ritual to see if that could be the culprit. Simply use warm and not hot water, which can strip the skin of the oils it needs to stay moist.
You should moisturize your feet every day to prevent dry skin from happening in the first place. Moisturizers that contain lactic acid, glycerin, or petroleum jelly can help to lock in moisture in your feet. Moisturize every time you get out of the shower and throughout the day, especially before going to bed. If you are prone to very dry, cracked feet, you may wish to moisturize and then wear socks to bed.
On particularly cold Idaho days, frostbite can be a real possibility if you don't take a few precautions. Fortunately, your podiatrists at Idaho Foot & Ankle Associates in Meridian, Nampa and Boise, ID, offer the care you need to protect your feet year-round.
6 tips that will help you avoid frostbitten feet and toes
Frostbite occurs when skin and tissues in freeze after exposure to freezing temperatures. Following these recommendations will help you reduce your frostbite risk:
- Wear Warm Boots or Shoes: Wearing the appropriate footwear for the weather is one of the simplest ways to avoid frostbite. Make sure your boots are well-insulated and don't have any holes. Athletic shoes with mesh inserts don't provide adequate protection from freezing temperatures and can quickly become damp if it snows or sleets.
- Double Up on the Socks: Wearing two pairs of socks will help keep your feet warmer when it's cold outside. Place socks designed to wick away sweat on first, then pull on a pair of wool or 100 percent cotton socks.
- Make Sure Your Boots Fully Protect Your Feet: Your boots won't offer much protection if they don't keep the snow away from your feet. If the snow is deeper than the top of your boots, you're likely to get a little snow in the boots. Wearing waterproof snow pants over the boots can help keep snow out.
- Change Wet Footwear Promptly: Head back inside and put on a dry pair of socks or boots if your feet are wet. Allow wet boots to dry completely before you wear them again. If the boots leak, throw them out and buy a new pair.
- Limit Outdoor Time on Frigid Days: Taking a walk or playing in the snow isn't a good idea when it's 15 degrees outside and strong winds are blowing. Staying inside or spending as little time as possible outdoors will help you avoid frostbite.
- Learn How to Identify Frostbite: If you have frostbite, your feet or toes may be numb, and the skin may look white, gray or waxy. Slowly warm up your feet by placing them in warm, not hot, water. Once your feet have warmed up a little, call your Meridian, Nampa or Boise foot doctor or go to the emergency room.
Keep your feet healthy with a visit to your Meridian, Nampa and Boise, ID, podiatrists at Idaho Foot & Ankle Associates. Call (208) 327-0627 to schedule an appointment for the Boise office, (208) 463-1660 for the Nampa/Caldwell office, or (208) 888-9876 for the Meridian office.
- Pain that occurs immediately after an injury or accident
- Pain that is directly above a bone
- Pain that is worse with movement
- Bruising and severe swelling
- A cracking sound at the moment of injury
- A visible deformity or bump
- Can’t put weight on the injured foot
The symptoms of a sprain are far less severe. You can often put weight on the injured foot with a sprain; however, you may notice some slight pain and stiffness. You may also have heard a popping sound at the moment of the injury with a sprain, while a broken bone often produces a cracking sound. The pain associated with a sprain will also be above soft tissue rather than bone. A podiatrist will perform an X-ray to be able to determine if you are dealing with a break or a sprain.
Rest is key to allowing an injury, particularly a fracture, to heal properly. Along with rest, your doctor may also recommend either an over-the-counter or prescription-strength pain reliever, depending on the severity of your fracture. Those with more moderate to severe fractures may require a special boot, brace, or splint. Those with more severe fractures may need to wear a cast and use crutches, so they can avoid putting any weight on the foot.
If possible, try to keep the blister intact. Do not try to pop or drain a blister that hasn’t popped on its own. It’s important not to put pressure on the blister, so avoid any shoes that may be too tight. If you’re going to put on shoes, make sure to apply a bandage (some band-aids are designed specifically for covering blisters) to the area first.
If the blister popped on its own, clean it with warm water soap (do not use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on the blister). Once the area is clean, apply an over-the-counter antibiotic cream to the area and apply a bandage over the blister. These simple steps can prevent an infection from occurring.
You should only drain a blister if it’s very large, painful, or affects your ability to move. In this case, you should sterilize a needle with alcohol and then make a small hole in the blister to let it drain. You may need to carefully squeeze the blister to help it drain fully. Once the blister has drained, rinse out the area with soap and warm water before applying antibiotic cream to the area and placing a bandage over it.
You mustn’t keep the same bandage on your blister day in and day out. You should check the blister every day to make sure it isn’t infected. You should clean the area daily with soap and water and then reapply another bandage.
Protect the health of your feet and ankles all winter long with these helpful tips.
It’s beginning to look a lot like winter. While some people choose to hibernate during the colder months, there are snow bunnies and other winter lovers that enjoy the chilly, snowy days because it means more time to hit the slopes. If you are a winter sports lover, or you simply enjoy getting out into the wintry elements to enjoy the scenic views, our Boise, ID, podiatrists want to provide you with helpful advice on how to keep your feet and ankles safe and healthy during the winter.
Choose Appropriate Footwear
One of the best ways to protect your feet not just from the frigid and potentially dangerous winter elements but also from injuries is by wearing the proper shoes. When it’s icy out, people are more likely to fall, especially if they aren’t wearing the right shoes or boots.
Our Boise, ID, podiatrists see a lot of broken bones and ankle sprains due to winter accidents. It’s best to choose low-heeled shoes that offer a lot of traction. You’ll also want to choose shoes that are water-resistant and that offer the proper amount of insulation, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors.
Say “Yes” to Custom Orthotics
Many people turn to our podiatry team to get custom orthotics. Prescription orthotics are custom-made to fit your feet and provide them with additional cushioning, support and protection when standing, walking, running or participating in any activity.
We understand the abuse feet take, especially when enjoying winter activities such as skiing. Our team of podiatrists can provide you with high-quality, long-lasting orthotics made specially to fit your ski and snow boots. With custom orthotics, you can trust that you have ample protection for your feet and ankles so you can focus on enjoying your favorite winter sports.
Keep Feet Dry
Wet or damp feet, especially during the winter, can be dangerous. To protect against frostbite or even a nasty fungal infection, it’s important that you wear socks that wick moisture and can keep your feet dry. This, along with the appropriate footwear, can protect your feet from getting wet. If your feet do get wet, it’s important to take your shoes and socks off immediately once you get indoors.
If you are gearing up to go skiing or to enjoy your favorite winter sport, it’s important that you are protecting your feet and ankles from injury. If you would like to sit down with our Boise, ID, podiatrists to discuss whether custom orthotics could help you, call Idaho Foot & Ankle Associates at (208) 327-0627, (208) 463-1660 or (208) 888-9876. We provide comprehensive foot and ankle care to those living in and around Boise, Nampa/Caldwell and Meridian.
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