Preparing the feet for winter

17th November 2014

In these colder months of the year, there are several things to watch out for to reduce discomfort of the feet. Here are our tips on what to avoid and how to best prepare your feet for winter.

Chilblains

These often occur after exposure to cold. They appear as little red marks on the toes and can cause the toes to become red and slightly swollen. They can often be itchy or painful as the toes begin to warm again.

How to avoid:Try to maintain a constant temperature of the hands and feet. Wear thermal socks and gloves when possible. Never try to warm them up by resting on a radiator or directly in front of a fire. Unfortunately there are no specific creams or medications for this, but a soothing cream such as e45 or Sudocrem won't do you any harm. Some people who are prone to chilblains may have underlying circulatory problems.If you have concerns about chilblains, swollen, painful toes or feet that are blue, red or very pale, book in for an assessment immediately to ensure there are no underlying issues.

Athlete's foot

Dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, damp, warmth, nylon and other synthetic materials can all cause a rash on the foot. This often begins with small, liquid filled pustules that are very itchy. These may be particularly evident in those that participate in a lot of sport or those who wear tights daily.

How to avoid:Try to wear cotton socks and tights. Avoid wearing no socks with shoes. Alternate your shoes on a daily basis (our feet sweat much more than we realise!)If you have a flare up, try an athlete’s foot cream for up to 14 days or even try e45 or Sudocrem to soothe the itching!

Ingrown Toenails

Following a summer of sandals, flip-flops etc. it can be a bit of a shock for the feet to return to boots and shoes!If you are finding that you have some pain around the area of the toe nails, you may be suffering from the early stages of an ingrown nail. These can very quickly turn into a painful infection.If you think you may have an ingrown nail, bathe the affected toe in salt water for 5 minutes (lukewarm water and a few pinches of salt) then cover with a plaster and come for a check-up as soon as possible. Please do not try to cut, pick or pull the side of the affected nail as it can cause far worse infections and splinter the nail!

Post-Summer Care

Ladies! After a summer of nail varnish, your nails may be looking a little sorry for themselves. If yours are particularly dry or have a few white looking marks on them, try this simple step. Lightly buff the nails (most pharmacies sell a simple white nail buffer) then put a blob of moisturiser on each nail and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Then rub in the moisturiser. This will remove excess dryness. Please don't 'over-buff' the nails as this can damage them. Once a month is more than enough! Do ensure to moisturise the nails daily when you are moisturising the rest of the foot!

Going back into winter footwear/new shoes can cause discomfort due to other issues such as corns, inflamed joints, muscle and tendon pain.If you are finding your feet and legs are uncomfortable or in pain, book in for a podiatry appointment! You shouldn't be in pain - things can be done to help!

Jessica Werner

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