Summertime is here and relaxing on the beach, sightseeing, hiking and vacations are all on the summer “to-do” list now that the world is reopening. This means that your feet are going to be front and center receiving exposure. Let’s get them prepared for the elements of sand at the beach, chlorine in the pool, and all the summer miles they are going to take on.
6 Tips for Better Summer Foot Health
1. Apply waterproof UVA/UVB sunscreen to your feet, especially the top. Just like the rest of your body, the skin on your feet can burn too. Because they are often shaded in your shoes during the Michigan winters, when you do go barefoot, that skin is likely to burn. And do not forget to reapply SPF after coming out of the pool or lake.
2. Take along a small foot care kit when traveling. Sterile bandages, antibiotic cream, emollient foot cream, blister pads, toenail clippers and a pumice stone are all good to have when you are going to be away from home. Cut nails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails!
3. Prevent fungal infections. Fungi like a warm, dark and moist environment and we give them a place to thrive in our shoes and socks. Do not put your tennis shoes or flip-flops on wet feet – wait until they are dry. This will keep bacteria and fungus from growing. Do not use baby powder; it can create a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria. Wear breathable cotton socks and change them often.
4. Limit walking barefoot and wear shoes or flip-flops around the pool, to the beach and even on the carpeting of your hotel room to prevent injuries. Bare feet are vulnerable (especially for people with diabetes) to injuries from foreign objects, as well as plantar warts, athlete’s foot and ringworm. Some beach and lake activities may require different footwear, so always pack an extra pair of sneakers or protective water shoes. This will also allow you to put on a dry pair of shoes after a water/beach activity. Also, flip-flops should be worn in moderation. While they are okay to help keep your feet bacteria free, you should avoid wearing them for extended periods to avoid injuries. There are many options if you are looking for a sandal that offers support, comfort and style.
5. Promote blood flow by frequently moving and flexing your ankles, stretching your calves, and moving your toes. Traveling long distances either by car or airplane increases your risk for a deep venous thrombosis (DVT – a blood clot) in your leg. When traveling by car, making frequent stops or getting up to move while on an airplane will help to keep the blood circulating.
6. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and eat foot-friendly foods. Both will help with overall health as well as minimize any foot swelling caused by the heat. Salty foods can cause your feet to swell and become bloated. Sugars can also cause foot puffiness, so minimize your intake of that, too.
Summertime is often the best time of the year in Michigan! Keep these tips in mind to prevent foot predicaments and enjoy fun in the sun with family and friends.
Your feet are front and center in the summertime … prepare them for the elements!