Summertime allows more time for exposing your feet and nails. While the warm weather means freedom from confining shoes and boots, daily exposure to the elements can threaten the way your feet look and feel.
Though summer allows you to take off time from normal routines, neglecting your feet can threaten your ability to enjoy all the activities and outdoor fun the season has to offer. Without proper care, conditions, such as fungal toenails, and foot pain, can develop into problems that linger all year long.
With years of experience in treating all types of foot conditions, podiatrist Marshall L. Lukoff, DPM, FAAFS, of Foot Care Specialists, PC, in Quincy and Dedham, Massachusetts, helps patients keep their feet healthy and pain-free during the summer months. Dr. Lukoff recommends that you follow these tips to keep your feet healthy so you can make the most of your time in the sun.
Don’t wear flip-flops too much
While they’re definitely required summer footwear, flip-flops and other types of flat shoes don’t provide good arch support, so they can aggravate existing issues, such as pain in your knees, hips, and back.
Flip-flops can also worsen heel pain from plantar fasciitis. This condition results from an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick ligament underneath your foot that links your heel to your toes.
Wearing flip-flops also makes you more vulnerable to the elements. Without protection around the sides and tops of your feet, flip-flops increase your risk of getting splinters and cuts. You’re also more likely to stub your toe or suffer injury from a falling object.
Prevent sunburn on your feet
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your entire foot, especially when you’re lying down at the beach or pool. The skin on your feet is vulnerable to three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Between 3-15% of melanomas occur on the foot and ankle. Depending on its type and location, skin cancer may require treatment with chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery.
Limit walking barefoot
While there’s nothing like the feeling of sand between your toes, your perfect beach day can be ruined if you step on a piece of glass or a bottle cap and have to spend your afternoon getting a tetanus shot.
Walking barefoot also makes your feet vulnerable to developing plantar warts, athlete’s foot, ringworm, and other infections that you can pick up when your unprotected feet touch an infected surface.
If you have diabetes and experience peripheral neuropathy, you can jeopardize your feet and your overall health. Walking barefoot can put you at risk for getting wounds on the bottoms of your feet and developing serious problems before you realize they exist. If you do have peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes, Dr. Lukoff can help treat your condition with a customized diabetic foot care plan.
Wear proper shoes
If your day at the lake or beach involves walking, jogging, or playing sports on sand or other uneven surfaces, wear proper footwear. Athletic shoes provide the arch support and heel cushioning that can protect your feet from ankle sprains and other foot injuries.
And if you want to get your feet wet, water shoes can protect your feet if you walk on seashells, broken glass, or coral, which may not be visible when you’re in the water.
Examine your feet regularly
Take time to examine your feet regularly during the summer to identify any potential problems early. Conditions, such as athlete’s foot and toenail fungus, usually worsen as they progress. The longer these conditions continue without care, the harder they can be to treat.
Diagnosing and treating foot conditions early will give you the best chance of overcoming foot problems quickly.
Start your summer with healthy feet that will help you look and feel your best. And if you have any foot or ankle conditions that you need treated, book an appointment online or over the phone with Foot Care Specialists, PC today.