Summer is all flip flops, sandals, open toes and barefoot, but when the mercury starts dropping, it’s time to put your feet away into boots and closed-toe shoes. When you go from exposed toes to cooping them up all day, it’s more important than ever to give some time and attention to your feet. Just because no one can see them doesn’t mean caring for your feet is less important.
Just off the summer, when flip flops and sandals are the norm, fall presents the need to more often wear enclosed shoes. With that, keep in mind the following:
Wear properly fitting shoes. This means not too tight and not too loose. Also, foot size fluctuates throughout the day. Have your feet measured for shoe fitting and do so in the afternoon or end of the day, when feet are at their largest. If your feet are slightly different sizes—as is commonly the case—size your shoes from your larger foot.
Wear shoes that feel good. Don’t expect to break them in. Shoes should have a bit of room at the tip of the toe, up to about half an inch. The forefoot should feel cushioned and the heel should be snug, but with no rubbing. Check how they feel while standing up with your weight on your feet.
Test the shoes. Walk around in the shoes, or if you plan to run, take a jog. Make sure they feel good on various surfaces: rug, floor or even outside as some shoe stores allow, particularly at running specialty stores.
Check the materials. Soft materials on the upper surface help prevent skin irritations and allow your feet to breathe better. Check the soles of the shoes to make sure they provide comfort as well as traction. Thicker soles provide better cushioning for walking or running on hard surfaces.
Don’t forget sock care. Wear clean socks, and change them daily, especially if your feet sweat. This will help prevent infections like athlete’s foot. Look for special sock materials: fiber blends that also allow for moisture-wicking properties. Thicker socks provide the warmth you need for cool autumn nights, not to mention better cushioning.
General Foot Care
There are a number of general steps for good foot health that should be used in fall and all year-round. Once feet are covered by shoes however, these tips can be even more important.
Keep feet clean and dry. Wash feet daily and dry them well, including between the toes. Foot powder is helpful for those who perspire, and special medicated versions help prevent athlete’s foot.
Check your feet daily. Look for any bumps, blisters, bruises, tender toenails etc. Attend to any of these in a timely matter so that a small problem does not become a big one.
Groom toenails properly. This takes on new importance with the potential pressure of enclosed fall footwear, which can put pressure on toenails. Cut toenails not too short, and straight across.
Consider a pedicure. For both men and women, and especially those who prefer not to practice their own footcare, a pedicure can be helpful and relaxing. In addition to nails, a pedicure handles exfoliation of dry skin and calluses. Men, if you’re shy, look for salons that specialize in pedicures for men.
Take a polish break. Fall, when the feet are covered, is a good time to take a break from toenail polish. Nails do absorb the chemicals from polish. Also, lack of breathability of the nails from consistently being covered by polish can cause them to yellow and dry out, and also lead to infection.
Try foot soaks. A 15- to 20-minute foot soak helps to soften skin, increase circulation, increase body temperature and reduce stress with its soothing warmth. Try soaking with Epsom salts dissolved in the water for added benefits.
Take care of corns and calluses. Properly fitting shoes should help this problem, and while there are some home remedies, never attempt to cut or shave corns or calluses yourself. This may cause an infection. An experienced podiatrist can help manage your corns and calluses, together with treating all other foot conditions.
Feet Got You Down? Welcome to EUP, For All Your Foot Care Needs.
Essex Union Podiatry (EUP) is specially equipped to help you with fall foot care. Whether it’s corns, calluses, athlete’s foot or more, we use the latest techniques to treat these and a wide variety of other foot and ankle conditions. Also, check out our Walk-In Wart Clinic, with convenient locations and hours to serve you. For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists, contact us today.