Even though the sandals and flips flops get exchanged for puffy socks and closed shoes or
boots, cold weather can still pose challenges for your feet. In New York we can experience
everything from heavy snowfalls and biting winds to chilly rain and deep puddles, so you need
a winter foot care plan to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at you.
Keeping Toes Toasty (But Not Sweaty)
When the cold winds blow, you'll want socks with
a little more heft to shut out the frigid air.
However, socks can easily get damp if they don't
wick away moisture properly, especially if they
are stuffed in boots all day. Wet, sweaty feet not
only have a chilling effect, but they also can lead
to skin problems and make you more susceptible
to bacterial infections like athlete's foot or fungal
Moisture-wicking materials, such as wool blends,
help keep your skin from getting too damp during
the day. That said, you may have to change pairs a couple of times per day if necessary.
When coming in after trudging around outside, take off your shoes and socks, let your feet dry
out, and put on a fresh pair.
Having multiple pairs of boots that you can use on alternate days gives your footwear more
opportunity to dry out between uses. You can also use foot powders to keep things clean and
dry. Make sure you're washing your feet thoroughly at least once per day, as well.
Selecting the Right Boots
As with regular shoes, the best boots are ones that fit properly and provide the right amount
of support—firm at the heel and ball, but with plenty of space for the toes to move about
freely. Boots that are too tight or too loose can lead to blisters, corns, chafing, or even ankle
injuries or foot deformities.
When sizing, remember to accommodate for the extra space required for heavier socks.
When you go to the store you should wear the type of socks you intend to use with your boot.
You may need to adjust upward half a size from your normal number.
Avoiding Dry Skin
Wait, didn't we just talk about making sure your feet stay dry?
Yes, but while trudging through snow or puddles, or keeping your feet trapped in waterproof
boots all day, can lead to feet that are too damp, indoor heating and low humidity levels in
winter can also cause your skin to dry out faster than usual. This can lead to painful cracking
and even fissuring on your heels, among other problems.
During the winter, you may want to consider using a daily foot cream or moisturizer and
drinking extra water, especially if you've had a history of dry skin or if your're especially
susceptible to skin drying out, due to age or a condition such as diabetes.
Frostbite is Never Fashionable
It should be obvious that trudging through the snow and cold in sandals or even sneakers is a
bad idea; exposed skin or soaked socks and shoes in stiff winter winds can be torturous.
Nevertheless, many people still choose fashion or convenience above warmth, comfort, and
safety. It's simply not worth the risk, though.
Exposing skin to extreme cold and bitter wind can injure the skin, nerves, and blood vessels
faster than you'd think, and your toes are especially susceptble due to the fact that they're so
far from your core. Once the temperature drops into the single digits and below, frostbite can
begin to set in after only 15-30 minutes of exposure (or less, if it's really cold), depending on
wind conditions. This is a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment and can even
lead to amputation.
If you have any winter foot care needs—or foot care needs any time of year—trust the doctors
at Family Foot and Ankle Center to keep you moving in comfort. With six Greater Cincinnati
locations spread throughout Ohio and Kentucky, we're in your neighborhood. Schedule an
appointment online , or give us a call at (516) 482-8826.