While foot problems are year-round concerns for many people, summer is the worst time to nurse one. This is the time of the year when people walk a lot in the sunshine on bare feet. It’s the time when children do a lot of running and complaining of heel pain later on. It’s also the time of blisters, smelly feet, and athlete’s foot. Podiatrists love this time of the year when they receive a lot of patients.
We asked foot specialists their best recommendations for keeping your feet pain-free in the summer and any other time of the year.
Heel pain in children
Podiatrists treat a lot of children with foot problems mostly in the summer. Kids just can’t resist running on bare feet especially during play. They are mostly afflicted with heel pain when the growth plates in their heels become overused and inflamed. Podiatrists recommend the right footwear for the activity. Kids who love running should wear running shoes and not basketball shoes. Running shoes are designed with better arch support than cross trainers and other sports shoes. Podiatrists advice against using sneakers flip-flops, and sandals with thin bendable soles that don’t provide any support for most areas of the foot.
Possible cancer on sun-damaged feet
People who love to walk barefoot on a hot beach should make it an important part of their day to apply sunscreen on the top of their feet. Many foot doctors have observed the rise in incidence of cancerous growths on their patients during the past years. Podiatrists advice the generous application of sunblock with a rating of at least SPF 30 on your feet. It should cover the top area and the spaces between the toes.
Foot problems from the use of improper footwear
Numerous feet problems like plantar fasciitis and tendonitis can arise from using shoes that don’t provide enough ankle, heel, and arch support. The culprits are usually flat sneakers, sandals, flip-flops, and high-heeled shoes. If you must use them, podiatrists recommend wearing them only for a short time. They could be more comfortable and feet-friendly if they have inserts with arch support. Shoe inserts can fit into most any shoes and prevent foot, ankle, and back pain. They can also relieve some of the discomfort and pain if you have already developed them. Another preventive step is to do some foot stretches after each work day if you are prone to heel pain.
The pain and discomfort of breaking in new shoes
Your feet can be at war with that new pair of shoes you’ve just bought. As a result, painful blisters and other foot irritations can develop. There are special blister pads and bandages you can use to reduce the chances of injury. The gel-filled pads act to cushion and create a buffer zone to decrease friction between the skin and the shoe. Put these pads in the area where the shoe material rubs against the skin to prevent blisters from forming. You can also use them to cover an existing blister and protect it from further injury and infection. These blister pads and bandages are designed to be unnoticeable that you can wear them with sandals or flip-flops.
Blisters can be tough
Blisters are tough and can develop despite the best preventive steps. If they do develop, podiatrists vehemently stressed that you should never attempt to burst them to avoid exposing them to infection. Instead, you should apply a topical antibiotic on the blister and cover it with bandage. If the blister becomes enlarged, consult a foot specialist at once as there’s a chance it is infected.
Once your feet develops infection, your best step is to give it a bath of white vinegar or malt. While this won’t be as effective as an antibiotic medication, it will definitely alleviate the accompanying itch that can be very annoying.
The irritation (and embarrassment) of smelly feet
We really can’t consider smelly feet one of the major foot problems. However, they can be bothersome, not to mention embarrassing. Be sure to air out your shoes after each use. This will inhibit the growth and development of odor-causing bacteria as well as infectious fungi. If possible, buy another pair of shoes that you can wear alternately with the other pair.
How to prevent your feet from sweating
Never mind the bad foot odor it can cause, feet that sweat profusely can also develop cracked, scaly skin and fungus infection. To prevent your feet from overly-sweating, spray them with antiperspirant each morning before wearing your shoes and in the evening after taking them off. The aluminum component in the antiperspirant will stop up the sweat ducts and prevent foot perspiration.
Cornstarch and foot powder against athlete’s foot
Make it a habit of daily sprinkling the inside of your shoes with cornstarch, talcum powder, or foot powder. This will help keep the shoe interior fresh and free from fungal growth that cause foot problems. If your feet develops itchy scaly skin usually below and between the toes, and you can’t help but scratch it till it bleeds, chances are you have athlete’s foot or a similar infection. As a rule, don’t walk in your bare feet or wear flip-flops in locker rooms and public swimming pool areas. These places are favorable breeding grounds for infection-causing fungus and bacteria.