Thursday, January 11, 2018

Care of the skin of the feet during the Winter

As temperatures drop in Chicagoland, the skin of the feet can suffer. Dryness, itching, pain, redness, sores, cracks, and warts can develop. How do we prevent these conditions and keep our feet healthy? What needs to be done if we develop one of these problems with the feet? Colder temperatures often mean dry, cracked, and sometimes, itchy feet for many people. Additionally, our waterproof winter shoe gear and boots, can keep our feet dry but can also cause hot, sweaty feet that are more prone to problems like Athlete's Foot, warts, and bacterial infections. Easy Tips for Healthy Winter Feet. 1. Moisturize the tops and bottoms of the feet but not between the toes. First, it is essential to keep the feet moisturized during the colder months. I prefer to have patients use vaseline or a thick foot cream twice per day, but never between the toes. This keeps the feet, and especially the heels, soft and can ward off cracks or fissures in the skin that can be painful and get infected. The areas between the toes can get too moist in our shoes or boots, so adding additional cream between the toes can lead to cracks, sores, and pain. Thus, I recommend anti-fungal spray or powder between the toes to prevent Athlete's Foot and keep these areas drier than the rest of the foot. 2. Wear waterproof boots but beware of hot, sweaty feet! Waterproof boots and shoes are excellent for keeping our feet warm and dry. However, they can also make our feet sweaty and hot. I recommend removing boots when you get to work or school and wearing other shoes during the day when indoors. Especially for children and teens, wearing snow boots all day in school and gym class can lead to very moist and sweaty feet. Additionally, it is important to change socks daily or even a few times a day when wearing winter boots. Warm, sweaty socks allow bacteria, viruses, and fungi to thrive and grow on our feet, as they need warm, moist environments for growth. These organisms can cause fungal and bacterial infections and warts, all of which will require a visit to a podiatrist. Additionally, spraying the shoes or boots out with lysol daily is a good way to stop colonization of organisms in the boots if they are moist from the sweaty feet at the end of the day. If you do develop warts (hard, painful areas on the feet), Athlete's Foot (scaling, redness, blisters, and itching), or an open sore, schedule a podiatry appointment! Question about your feet during the winter months? Schedule a podiatry appointment, 708-763-0580, or As always, you can email the office directly if you have trouble scheduling,