As cold weather arrives and our wardrobes change, we need to remember the effect of cold on our bodies. Snowflakes, winter sports…cold weather can be fun, but it takes a toll on your skin‚ though‚ especially your feet. When your feet feel cold, it means the skin’s blood supply to the top layers of the skin have been reduced to preserve heat. It’s not just your lips that get chapped. Also tights and chunky socks pushed into your shoes can torture your toes. Today let’s review a few precautions to care for your feet this coming season.
Care For Your Feet
- Keep Them Dry & Clean
Clean your feet daily with soap and water. Be sure to dry thoroughly before putting on socks and shoes. As you wash your feet, inspect them for any signs of ingrown toenails, fungus or any other problems. Seek professional help when needed. If caught in a rain or snow storm, dry your feet as soon as possible. This will reduce bacteria build-up and keep your feet warm.
2. Moisturize Regularly
Don’t forget your feet when using lotion after your shower. If you have really dry feet, I suggest using a rich foot cream on a daily basis. I like to massage the cream in circles into my feet around the toes, arch, and heels. It feels wonderful.
3. Wear Natural Socks
Wear socks made of natural fibers like cotton and wool. They are more absorbent and moisture wicking. This decreases sweaty feet and the foot odor that can accompany it. Sweaty feet can also cause damp, cold feet. When my feet are cold, I cannot get warm.
4. Wear Shoes & Boots That Fit
Find footwear that has room up-front so you can wiggle your toes. Shoes that are too tight can affect blood flow to the feet. This can lead to cold feet and contribute even to frost bite in extreme cases. If you are buying new winter shoes, wear the socks that you will use in the winter. The heel, instep and the ball of your foot shouldn’t move in the shoe. Shoes that are too big will allow the foot to move, causing friction. Friction can cause sores and blisters which will inevitably cause pain.
5. Dry Your Shoes & Boots
Wearing damp shoes is a breeding ground for bacteria. Place your shoes in a warm, dry area away from direct heat and let them dry completely before wearing again. Do not place next to radiator as it can cause damage and premature aging of your shoes.
6. Rest Your Feet
Standing all day can be painful to your feet. When possible sit and elevate your feet. Try soaking in a tub of warm water. If you wear high heels or other uncomfortable shoes, consider wearing comfortable flats a couple of days a week to give your feet a rest.
7. Exercise Your Feet
You don’t have to spend hours on an exercise program, but do include a few exercises to get the blood flowing to your feet. Try a few leg lifts, calf exercise, or movements of feet in a circular motion. This helps before you got out in the cold but can also help after a day of standing on your feet. My sister spent decades as a high school teacher standing all day. When she came home, she made a practice of doing leg lifts and then laying on the bed with her feet on the wall. This grealy increased circulation and decreased water retention.
Home Treatments for Your Feet
A. Regularly remove nail polish and clean beneath toe nails.
Constant use of nail polish restricts the nail’s ability to fight fungus and bacteria. First remove polish. After a bath or shower, clear under toe nails with a soft toothbrush in an upward motion. Toe nails build up a collection of soap, dead skin and lint which needs to be removed. Go without nail polish for a few days before re-applying.
B. To fight fungus and bacteria apply nail oil with added anti-fungal properties, such as tea tree oil. This can help promote and restore a healthy nail.
C. The simplest treatment for dry skin is a mix of olive oil and salt rubbed in circles from the heel to the toes.
This will remove dead skin while replenishing the moisture level of the skin. Let the oil sink in and then remove the salt with a clean cloth.
D. A more intense treatment for your dry feet with lots of dead skin is a mixture of vinegar and Listerine.
Sounds weird but the mix of ingredients is great at removing dry, dead skin. It can also help treat athlete’s foot and other fungal infections should this be an issue.
Mix 1 cup of Listerine with 1 cup of white vinegar and 2 cups of warm water. The tub should be bigger than the length and depth of your feet. Soak your feet for around 30-40 minutes (the soak may smell quite strong but this will soon dissipate when dried). Once soaked, gently pat your feet dry and use a pumice stone to remove any hard, dead skin.
E. If you get itchy feet after exercising, use a foot soak of warm water and white or apple cider vinegar.
This will help fatigued feet, fungal toenails and athlete’s foot. Do not use if there are open sores on your feet. Seek medical help.
I hope these tips help you keep warm and happy feet this coming winter.
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