Save Your Soles: Summer Foot Care Tips

footSummer time means releasing our feet from their winter prisons of boots and socks. It means baring our soles to the heat, dirt, and fun of warm-weather activities. But it also means dealing with the problems caused by lack of protective foot gear. Here are some tips to help you take care of your feet this summer.

Choose supportive footwear. Many warm weather shoes lack the support of traditional footwear. Look for flip-flops, sandals, or flats that have arch support and ankle straps to add stability while walking. Foot doctors see more twisted ankles and other such injuries related to inappropriate summer sports footwear, so skip that game of flip-flop football. Opt instead for regular athletic shoes and switch to flip-flops to shuffle off to the lake.

Keep feet dry. Even if you opt for closed-toe shoes, you face the problem of increased moisture. Wet feet become a breeding ground for fungal infections and warts. Make sure to bare your feet completely a couple times a day when you wear enclosed shoes. You can also rotate a couple pairs of shoes and use foot powder to stave off infections.

Go barefoot with care. Consider the terrain and its contents before doffing your shoes. While sinking your feet into the grass in your own yard is one thing, think about wearing shoes while walking on the beach or in the woods. You never know when an errant piece of glass or sharp stick will pop up.

Remove slivers promptly. If you do decide to go barefoot, you’re bound to get something stuck in your foot. Once something gets under your skin, it is important to clean the wound and cover it. First, determine if the object is visible. If it is, gently use a pair of sterilized tweezers to pull it out. If not, soak the foot in warm water, dry it off, apply an antibiotic ointment, and cover the wound with a loose bandage.

Don’t forget the sunscreen. While you can end up with some pretty cool tan lines from all the funky holes and straps on summer footwear, it is best to slather on the sunscreen. At the very least, it will keep you from getting burned and at its best sunscreen will save you from skin cancer.

If you want learn even more about foot care, stop by for Wellness Wednesday on June 12, 2013 from 2 to 7 p.m. to speak with Dr. Jennifer Flo, DPM. Dr. Flo is a Board Certified Primary Care Podiatrist and Wound Care Specialist Physician. She practices at Essentia Health in Ashland and Hayward, along with local nursing homes. She is a graduate of the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine. She completed a podiatric residency at Henry Ford Health Care system in 2006 and has practiced in Wisconsin ever since. Stop by and visit with Dr. Flo with any questions you may have about your feet because it’s time to start showing off those toes.