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As the warm weather approaches, it's time to dust off those sandals and embrace the joy of summer. However, the summer months bring their own set of foot care challenges. From the notorious athlete's foot to ingrown toenails, our feet need extra attention during this time. In this article, we will discuss some essential advice for preventing and treating these common foot problems that tend to arise during the summer months.
Stay Fresh and Dry:
One of the primary causes of athlete's foot is dampness and perspiration. During summer, the heat and humidity can make our feet more prone to sweating. To prevent this, make sure to keep your feet clean and dry. Wash your feet thoroughly with mild soap and water daily, paying close attention to the spaces between your toes. After washing, ensure your feet are completely dry before putting on socks and shoes. Additionally, consider using foot powders or antiperspirants specifically designed to keep your feet dry and odor-free.
Choose the Right Footwear:
Wearing open-toed sandals or flip-flops is a staple of summer fashion. However, such footwear can expose your feet to potential hazards. When selecting summer shoes, opt for those with good arch support, cushioning, and adequate ventilation. “Some characteristics to look for in a flip flop are increased arch support, padding to cushion the heel bone, and shock absorption with thicker soles,” says Dr. Steven Neufeld, when asked by Very Well Fit. Look for breathable materials like leather or canvas that allow air to circulate freely. It's essential to strike a balance between style and comfort to keep your feet happy and healthy throughout the season.
Protect Your Feet in Public Areas:
Public pools, locker rooms, and communal showers can be breeding grounds for fungi that cause athlete's foot. To minimize the risk of infection, always wear waterproof sandals or flip-flops in these areas. They act as a barrier between your feet and the potentially contaminated surfaces. Additionally, avoid sharing towels, socks, or shoes with others to reduce the spread of fungi and bacteria.
Trim Toenails Properly:
Ingrown toenails can be painful and lead to infection if not properly addressed. To prevent them, trim your toenails straight across and avoid cutting them too short. This helps prevent the edges from digging into the surrounding skin. If you already have an ingrown toenail, soak your foot in warm water and gently lift the edge of the nail away from the skin. However, if the problem persists or becomes severe, it's important to consult a podiatrist for proper treatment.
Regularly Moisturize Your Feet:
Excessive sun exposure, saltwater, and chlorine can cause dry, cracked skin on your feet. Make it a habit to moisturize your feet daily using a good quality foot cream or lotion. Pay attention to the heels, soles, and sides of your feet. Regular moisturization will help maintain the skin's elasticity, prevent cracking, and keep your feet soft and supple.
Summer should be a time of carefree enjoyment, and proper foot care can ensure that you make the most of it. By following these essential tips for preventing and treating common foot problems like athlete's foot and ingrown toenails, you can keep your feet healthy, comfortable, and ready for all the activities the summer season has to offer. If you experience persistent foot pain or have any concerns, consult with a foot and ankle specialist at The Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center for personalized care and guidance. Book your appointment online or call (703) 584-2040 to schedule.