5 Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy this Summer

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Oregon Clinic

Summertime in the Pacific Northwest means sunglasses, shorts, and…socks with sandals. But when it comes to keeping your feet protected, maybe this fashion faux pas isn’t so bad. Keep reading for five ways to have happy feet all summer long.

Prevent Dry, Cracked Heels

Open backed shoes can spread the fat pad of the heel, which can cause the skin to crack. Opt for shoes that have a back on them, providing more support.
For mildly dry heels, use an exfoliating moisturizer every day in conjunction with a pumice stone once or twice a week in the shower. Make sure you rub in only one direction, as scrubbing back and forth can make it worse. Deep cracks where you can see dried blood should be treated with antibiotic oil and covered with a band aid.

Get a Safe Pedicure

Bring your own tools when you get a pedicure to minimize the risk of getting an infection. If using your own tools is not an option, watch how they sanitize their tools. Look for tools soaking in a blue disinfectant called Barbicide.
Ask the pedicurist to cut your nails across, and never down into the corners, which encourages the nail to grow into the skin, possibly becoming ingrown nails. Additionally, there is no “right” way to cut cuticles—your best bet is to soften them up and push them down with a small wood stick instead of cutting.

Minimize Blisters

Blisters happen when a shoe rubs against the skin, causing the skin to balloon up and fill with liquid. The liquid cushion helps protect the deeper layers of skin underneath. The best way to prevent blisters is to buy shoes that are made from soft fabrics or leathers.
After buying a pair of shoes, it’s always a good idea to wear them around the house for an hour or two to make sure you will stay pain free. You can use moleskin to line areas of friction inside the shoe. If you do get a blister, clean it with regular hand soap and try to leave it intact.
If you’re still having pain, dip a needle into rubbing alcohol and poke a small hole in the side of the blister to let the liquid drain out. Follow up by applying some antibiotic cream and cover with a band-aid.

Use Caution when Going Barefoot

Walking barefoot is one of the best parts of enjoying the warm summer weather. However, it also increases your risk of contracting warts, athlete’s foot, ringworm or a skin infection. These tend to thrive in warm, moist environments like public pools. Going barefoot also increases your risk of injury and exposes your feet to sunburn.

Give Flip Flops a Second Thought

Flip flops can cause a lot of summer foot issues. Stress fractures, heel pain and tendonitis are all possible. To help mitigate injury and pain, choose a pair with a thicker sole and arch support. Also, more straps help reduce the stress placed on the toes to grip the flip flop to prevent it from falling off your foot.
You shouldn’t be able to bend the flip flop in half—that’s a clue it won’t provide enough support.