Top 5 Winter Foot Problems & What to Do about Them
The Institute for Preventive Foot Health offers tips to protect your feet
STATESVILLE, N.C. - Nov. 7, 2016 -- Winter sports can be exhilarating, whether you're sledding downhill, skiing or simply walking through the snow. But to get the most out of winter activities, you'll want to guard against these five foot problems, says Statesville, NC-based podiatrist Rachel Rader, DPM, a member of the Institute for Preventive Foot Health (IPFH)'s Scientific Advisory Board.
1. Cracked Heels/Dry Skin: This is a common cold weather foot complaint, particularly among men. To prevent, apply moisturizing cream on your feet, especially after a shower. Wear shoes or boots with solid heel counters and padded socks that cushion the heels from impacts that may increase pressure in the heel area.
2. Athlete's Foot: When you layer up for high-impact outdoor activities such as running, your feet can sweat, setting the stage for this fungal infection. Wear socks made of acrylic blends or acrylic-wool blends, which wick moisture away from the feet and toes.
3. Blisters: Winter blisters are especially likely if you wear rental skates or ski boots. It's often difficult to find just the right fit, and if they're even a tad too loose at the heel, the friction that results from your foot sliding around can lead to a blister. Wearing padded socks to fill in the gaps can help, but always try to get the best possible fit.
4. Fractures: Skiers, skaters and snowboard enthusiasts are particularly prone to accidents that may cause a fractured ankle or metatarsal. Running or simply walking on uneven surfaces, especially with patches of ice, also increases the risk of slipping, twisting an ankle and falling. Wear properly fitted shoes or boots with padded socks to reduce the risks and ensure your feet are optimally protected. Ice grips or traction devices that attach to the bottoms of shoes or boots can help prevent slipping on icy surfaces.
5. Foot Pain: Foot pain has many causes and can happen any time, anywhere. But to stay active during the cold weather and avoid being sidelined by pain or discomfort, see your doctor or a foot health professional if pain lasts more than a couple of days and has no obvious cause. Although not a substitute for a visit to a health professional, you can try IPFH's foot pain self-assessment tool to get some ideas of what might be causing your pain and what to do about it.
The Institute for Preventive Foot Health (IPFH) is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness, education, research, and the identification of easy-to-follow methods to prevent, treat and manage painful conditions and diseases affecting the feet.