Cool Tips for End-of-Summer Heel and Foot Care
Summer light is fading a little bit more every evening. Soon we will experience the cooler breezes and changing leaves of autumn—and that likely means a few changes of your own as well!
Different shoes, different routines… some of your choices as you transition from summer to fall can have an effect on your feet. If you want to head toward winter with comfort against heel pain and other problems that can crop up, following a few easy steps can be a significant seasonal help.
If you are already experiencing consistent heel pain or other problems, though, it is well worth noting that a few fall tips might not help you as much as you need. Perennial problems need to be properly diagnosed and treated, so give our office a call for the help you deserve!
Otherwise, here are a few tips to consider before the Halloween supplies start filling stores (although we might already be too late on that one).
Test Your Fall and Winter Shoes Now
Do you have shoes you only pull out for the autumn season? A nice, warmer set of walking shoes, or some boots you like to use for winter hunting treks?
If you have anything of the sort, try them on and make sure they are in good condition before you really start needing them. You might be surprised at how much things can change between your feet and footwear in a year. And if you have not worn a pair of shoes for more than a year, their materials may have degraded.
Worn down or ill-fitting shoes are a common cause of heel pain and other unwelcome issues, and you don’t want to find out you need a new pair when you need them most! Here are some items to look for in your pre-season inspection:
- Do your toes have enough room? They should be able to wiggle, not wedge up against the front of the shoe, and not be crammed up against each other.
- Is there any uneven wear? If one side of your treads looks a lot thinner than the other, those shoes are likely not to provide enough support for you. You may also have a structural abnormality like flat feet that should be addressed. We have tools such as custom orthotics that can provide a lot more comfort for you and a lot less uneven wear on your shoes.
- Are there any cracks or holes in the footwear? You definitely don’t want to find this out by stepping in a cold puddle.
If you have doubts about your footwear—especially if they’re a year or older as mentioned above—err on the side of caution and get yourself a new pair you can be assured of.
Yes, this is something that just about everyone can benefit from. As the weather grows cooler and dryer, it can be very easy for skin to dry out and develop cracks.
The heels can be especially susceptible to cracks and damage because they are often bearing so much of the body’s weight. Small cracks there can easily become wider, which means more pain and an increased chance of infection.
You don’t need to invest in top-end lotions or fancy scents if you don’t want to. We are happy to consult with you to determine what kinds of ingredients may be best for you: such as urea for an exfoliant, shea butter for increased moisture, or tea tree oil for anti-fungal properties.
Making moisturizing part of a steady routine will serve you best. A good time to work it into your day is just after you’ve dried off from a shower, when the skin is softer and more open to moisturizing.
Don’t neglect keeping yourself hydrated internally, as well. Just because you might not be sweating so much as during the summer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your water intake optimal. Doing so will help maintain healthy, protective skin.
But Mind Potentially Wetter Conditions, Too!
If you will be out of doors often, such as those who like to run through the end of summer and through autumn (and beyond!), be aware of how the weather can change to generally wetter circumstances.
Footwear with moisture-wicking properties—both shoes and socks—can help you keep feet dryer and warmer when you need it most, which can help prevent wear and damage to the skin. Any trained associate at a sporting shoes store should be able to help you find the right materials for your needs.
You might also wish to consider a bit of foot powder inside socks to help keep things dryer; just don’t overdo it. You don’t want to fall off that healthy balance between bone-dry and super soggy.
Take Care of Problems Before They Start Ruining Your Day
If you begin to experience signs of heel pain that keeps coming back every day, or other problems with your ankles, forefoot, skin, or nails, do not wait until they become a bigger beast to deal with.
In many foot and ankle conditions, starting treatment on a problem sooner often means much quicker and more effective results in the long run. Holding off on that daily heel pain for quite some time can make the problem all that more chronic and bothersome in the future!
Dr. DePalma, Dr. Fillari, and the staff of Burlington County Foot & Ankle Associates are here to provide foot and ankle care for any season, no matter what. Do not hesitate to call our Medford office at (609) 714-0052 to schedule an appointment. If you prefer to contact us electronically, fill out our online contact form and a member of our staff will reach out to you.