Tips to keeping your feet healthy this winter

Peter Wishnie, D.P.M.
Owner of Family Foot & Ankle Specialists in Piscataway and Hillsborough, NJ. Make an appointment today!

Its easy with Noreasters and snowstorms to forget about your feet; you know those two appendages you spent the rest of the year walking all over. So here are some tips to keeping your feet healthy this winter season; because if you don’t keep them healthy during the winter, how are you supposed to hit the beach come summer?

Since it is winter time, cold feet and toes seems inevitable. However, especially in diabetics and those with circulatory issues, this can create a cacophony of problems. The poor blood flow that can result from the cold can cause skin, muscle and connective tissue to become damaged by the lack of blood. Without blood, the body cannot heal and damage that is a normal part of the demands of life.

Start by dressing warmly this winter. Thick cotton socks and other cold weather socks are great this time of year, and they feel great. Always wear shoes that are resistant to water and wind. Avoid stepping in snow as much as possible as well as puddles and ice as moisture can seem in through. If you do accidentally step in a semi frozen puddle or snow drift, make sure to get out of your waterlogged boots and change socks immediately. If not you could suffer from trenchfoot or even frostbite.

Another common ailment during the cold winter months is dry cracked feet and heels. That’s because the winter air is dry and lacks moisture. This then dries out your skin leading to cracked and scalliness. Although mainly a cosmetic issue, this can eventually transform into fissures or breaks in the skin that feel like paper cuts and can allow bacteria to get into our bodies. To ward this problem off, moisturizing is the key. Any kind of over the counter moisturizer is fine as long as you do it regularly. If you have especially dry cracked feet/heels that are painful, come see us at Family Foot & Ankle Specialists and we can treat you.

Last, although more common in children, beware of ingrown toenails this season. Ingrown nails are an unfortunate occurance in cold months as tight shoes and socks press the toes together. This causes the skin around the nails to press into the nails and make them grow curved. Bacteria can then enter the body through these weakened areas and an infection can develop.

Make sue to trim your toenails straight across and do not dive into nails to dig them out. Should pain or redness or an infection develop give us a call and we will be happy to help you. A simple office procedure is all that is necessary to cure an ingrown nail and prevent it from coming back.

Overall, make sure to stay warm and healthy this winter season; and remember, summer is only a few months away.