Most Americans will have walked 75,000 miles by the time they turn 50, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).
It’s little wonder, then, that foot pain affects the daily activities – walking, exercising, or standing for long periods of time – of a majority of Americans.
Here are some tips for keeping feet healthy this winter.
- If you ski or snowboard, only wear footwear specifically designed for that purpose. Make sure your boots fit properly. You should be able to wiggle your toes, but the boots should immobilize the heel, instep, and ball of your foot. You can use orthotics (support devices that go inside shoes) to help control the foot’s movement inside ski boots or ice skates, as well as provide a better fit. Visit PRO Medical Podiatry for custom orthotics.
- If you are a runner, the cold doesn’t need to stop you. Stay warm and dry in bitter temperatures by wearing warm, lightweight, moisture-wicking active wear (available at the Pro Shop). Also, be aware of your stride. Some runners compensate for icy conditions by altering how their foot strikes the ground. Instead of changing your foot strike pattern, shorten your stride to help maintain stability. And remember, it’s more important than ever to stretch before you begin your run. Cold weather can make you less flexible in winter than you are in summer, so it’s important to warm muscles up before running. To reduce your risk of injury, meet with a PRO personal trainer to design a training program for winter.
- Boots are must-have footwear in winter climates. Between the waterproof material of the boots themselves and the warm socks you wear to keep toes toasty, you may find your feet sweat a lot. Damp, sweaty feet can chill more easily and are more prone to fungal/ bacterial infections. To keep feet clean and dry, consider using foot powder inside socks and incorporating extra foot baths into your foot-care regimen this winter. This is especially helpful with painful conditions such as Raynauds/Chilblain or Pernio (poor circulation issues in the feet and hands). If you have any concerns, make an appointment to visit PRO Medical Podiatry.
- Be size smart. It may be tempting to buy costly specialty footwear for kids (like winter boots or ski boots) in a slightly larger size, thinking they’ll be able to get two seasons of wear out of them. But unlike coats that kids grow into, footwear needs to fit properly right away. Properly fitted skates and boots can help prevent blisters, chafing, and ankle or foot injuries. Likewise, if socks are too small, they can force toes to bunch together, and that friction can cause painful blisters or corns.
- Avoid summer footwear in winter snow and ice. It’s not worth the risk of injury. However, rest assured, if you do get injured, PRO Medical Podiatry will be here for you.
TLC for Winter Feet
Perform some simple foot exercises.
Raise, point, and curl your toes for five seconds on each foot. Repeat 10 times. Rotate your ankles to relax your feet. Cup your heel and rotate each ankle slowly five times to help loosen ankle joints.
Massage your feet.
It releases tension, promotes circulation, and rejuvenates the skin after a long day of walking and standing. Add your favorite scented lotion into the mix for a soothing, relaxing experience.
Elevate your legs.
If you’re prone to swollen ankles or calves and you sit a lot at work, elevate your legs with a foot stool under your desk. At the end of the day, reduce swelling by lying down and lifting your legs above your heart.
Written by PRO Sports Club