Do you plan on baring your feet to the elements this summer? Here are 14 ways to care for your feet during the summertime that can help lower your risk for foot conditions and problems with foot health.
1. Avoid walking around barefoot
While you may be tempted to remove your shoes to enjoy the feeling of sand or grass on your toes, try to avoid walking around barefoot if at all possible. Walking around barefoot can increase your risk for puncture wounds, as well as the risk for plantar warts, fungus, and other infections, says the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).
2. Wear the right types of socks
Fungus grows in moist conditions, and wearing the right types of socks can lower your risk for foot fungus problems. Stick to wearing acrylic and synthetic-blend socks, which can help wick away sweat that would otherwise lead to fungal infections.
3. Ward off blisters
If you feel blisters coming on, stop whatever behaviors you’re doing that are leading to blisters. Wear comfortable shoes that fit properly, or wear socks to prevent shoes from rubbing against your bare skin. If you already have a blister, use moleskin or a liquid bandage product to reduce friction against the blister.
4. Allow your feet to breathe
If you plan on spending the day relaxing at home, take off your shoes and socks to allow your feet to air out. When heading outdoors, try to avoid wearing closed shoes made from plastic or other synthetic materials that can cause your feet to sweat.
5. Drink lots of water
Drinking more water throughout the hot summer months will help your body stay hydrated, and can help minimize swelling in our feet that could occur due to the heat. Bring bottled water with you when going shopping or spending time outdoors, and consider swapping sugary sodas and fruit drinks for water.
6. Keep your feet moisturized
Your feet are more prone to drying out during the summer since you’re not wearing socks as often. Apply moisturizer to your feet at least twice per day after bathing or showering, and before bedtime to help lock in moisture.
7. Apply sunscreen to your feet
Many individuals tend to neglect their feet when applying sunscreen to exposed parts of their bodies. Use sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15 to protect your feet from the sun’s damaging UV rays, which can increase your risk for skin cancer and wrinkling on your feet.
8. Choose the right flip-flops
Most podiatrists recommend that patients avoid wearing flip-flops, since flip-flops can increase your risk for bacterial infection, injuries, and sore feet. However, if you insist on wearing flip-flops, look for styles that offer good arch and heel support.
9. Keep your socks and shoes dry
If your socks or shoes become wet due to sweating heavily, or from visiting a pool, beach, or waterpark, take them off immediately and allow them to dry thoroughly before putting them back on to lower your risk for fungal infections. If possible, bring clean socks and an extra pair of shoes if you plan on being away from home and near water for an extended period of time.
10. Add inserts to summer shoes
In most cases, summer-style shoes offer very little cushioning and foot support. If you’re wearing slides or sandals, consider adding inserts or orthotics to your shoes to provide added support for your feet.
11. Wear the proper shoes for the activity
If summer will have you doing more hiking, rock climbing, and visiting the beach, make sure you wear the proper shoes for your activity to prevent foot injuries and foot problems. Wearing incorrect footwear can increase your risk for injuries, especially when you’re doing sports-related activities.
12. Clean your feet after doing water activities
If you go swimming in a lake or river, or visit a public waterpark, clean your feet immediately after engaging in water activities. The water at these types of venues often contain a large amount of bacteria that can increase your risk for foot infections.
13. Treat yourself to a pedicure
A pedicure isn’t just effective at making your feet look more attractive; it can also help clean and remove dead skin cells from your feet. Treat yourself to a pedicure at least once this summer to give your feet the attention they deserve.
14. Throw away old shoes
Your favorite, most comfortable pair of shoes may be host to bacteria, and could increase your risk for injury if they’re especially worn-out. Thoroughly inspect your athletic shoes, flip-flops, and sandals, and throw away any shoes that seem worn out, or that have loose, broken soles.
Call Kansas City Foot Specialists to schedule an evaluation at (913) 338-4440, or request an appointment online so we can determine the true cause of your injury and get you back on your feet.