Foot health is key to mobility and general well-being. Our feet take us everywhere, every day. That’s why it’s critical to ensure our feet don’t take a beating during the warm summer months.
As the weather warms up, we’re all tempted to put on our shorts and tees and to kick off our shoes. But don’t be too quick to ditch your footwear. Even if you’re just lying by the pool or on the beach soaking up the rays, your feet are still vulnerable.
Follow these tips to protect your feet from the hazards of summer heat and other types of ‘exposure’.
Limit walking barefoot
Walking barefoot exposes feet to athlete’s foot, ringworm and other infections and also increases the risk of injury to your feet.
Most of us don’t think about the risk of sunburn to our feet, but exposure to the sun—especially after being covered up all winter—can result in serious burns. Therefore, don’t forget your feet when applying sunscreen. The tops and fronts of the ankles can be particularly vulnerable. And don’t forget to reapply after being in the water.
Stay hydrated & keep blood flowing
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will ensure you stay properly hydrated. This will help with overall health, as well as minimize any foot swelling caused by the heat.
Keep blood flowing through your feet and lower limbs by periodically flexing ankles, wiggling toes and stretching your calves. This will also help alleviate swelling in your feet and lower legs.
Soak your feet
If your feet do swell after a long, hot day, try soaking them in a tub of ice water for 10-15 minutes. You can also add tea-tree oil to the water to help calm skin and ease any pain caused by swelling.
Buff off dead skin & calluses
Keep your feet looking and feeling their best by using a pumice stone to gently buff away dead skin and calluses. For best results, do this after bathing or a relaxing foot soak.
Moisturize your feet
The skin on your feet needs moisture, just like the rest of your body. If you use a foot cream regularly at night, it will keep your feet soft and prevent dry, cracked heels.
Choose breathable footwear
If you’re prone to excessively sweaty feet, look for shoes made of mesh or other breathable materials. Sandals can be a great choice in the summer as well. Flip-flops can be a perfect option for the beach, poolside or hotel rooms and can prevent exposure to bacteria and fungus lurking on many surfaces.
Choose footwear appropriate for the activity
Choose footwear that’s appropriate for whatever activity you have planned. You can always pack an extra pair of athletic shoes or protective water shoes. If your shoes do get wet, it’s best to dry them out completely before the next time you wear them.
So, whether you’re at the beach, lying by the pool or trekking through the wilderness, your feet are sure to serve you well all summer when you follow these simple tips.