Ten Tips for Keeping Your Feet Healthy This Summer

Summertime is a season of sandals, putting your feet on full display. Depending on how you feel about your feet, that could be a good or bad. But one thing’s for sure -- keeping your feet healthy means having more fun.

Our podiatrist here at Washington Healthcare Center, Dr. Michael Avakian, shares these 10 tips to keep your feet feeling fine.

Use sunscreen

It’s easy to overlook your feet when you’re applying sunscreen. They might be in shoes or covered in sand. Because your feet are covered most of the time, they’re even more susceptible to sunburn than other parts of your body may be.

Slather on the sunscreen and avoid the pain of trying to put a shoe on a burned foot. Don’t forget to reapply after you’ve been swimming.

Beware the flip-flop ...

Flip-flops are practically a staple of summertime, but they aren’t always the healthiest choice for your feet. Flip-flops are often quite flimsy, so if you need extra support, you’ll want to look for a pair with thicker soles and maybe even some arch support.

You may also want to limit the length of time you wear these popular summer shoes. They simply aren’t designed to be worn for hours or days on end and long-term wear may cause foot pain.

… But keep some flip-flops handy

Although flip-flops have their downside, they’re also great to wear in places like the pool or locker room, where athlete’s foot fungus thrives. The floppy sandals are also good protection on decks that might give you a splinter, or for walking across hot pavement or sand.

Wear dry shoes

In the summer, your feet are likely to get wet, whether you step in a creek while hiking, or wade in the shallows at the lake, or even get caught outside in a summer storm. If your shoes get wet, you should take them off as soon as possible, and avoid wearing them again until they’re completely dry. Wet shoes can cause chafing and blisters, and provide an ideal environment for bacteria to grow.

Reduce the risk of swelling

Summer heat can lead to swollen feet, so drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. You can also wiggle your toes, flex your feet, and roll your ankles to stretch them throughout the day. These small stretches help keep your blood flowing and reduce the chance of swelling.

Deal with the sweat

Let’s face it, summer is a sweaty season. Your feet sweat, and that can make them stinky -- and can increase your risk of developing an infection. There are several steps you can take:

Take care of cracked heels

It’s especially important to take care of cracked heels in the summer, and not just for appearance’s sake. Cracked skin is like an open door for bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Use a moisturizer on your heels and the balls of your feet to keep the skin soft so it won’t crack.

If you choose to get a pedicure, make sure you go to a reputable establishment. Try to make your appointment at a time when it’s not busy, and to lower your infection risk, consider taking your own tools, if you have them.

Avoid blisters

Blisters are often an unfortunate side effect of summer fun. Whether you get them from playing your favorite sport, wearing a new pair of sandals, or for some other reason, blisters are uncomfortable and can increase your risk of infection.

If you get a blister, clean it with regular soap, and try to leave it intact. If it bursts, use antibiotic ointment and cover it with a bandage.

Tread carefully when barefoot

Walking barefoot through lush grass is a pleasure -- but it can also be dangerous. If you’re going to go barefoot, be careful. Cuts, splinters, and other injuries are possible.

Create a foot care kit

It’s a good idea to make yourself a small kit for routine foot care. Sterile bandages, antibiotic cream, blister pads, nail clippers, an emery board, a pumice stone, and an emollient-enriched moisturizing cream will give you all the tools you need to take good care of your feet this summer.

If you have questions about caring for your feet in the warmer months, book an appointment online or by phone to discuss them with Dr. Avakian. He’s happy to answer your questions and can develop a treatment plan for any issues you may be experiencing.

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