Summer months are the barefoot season! And this may prompt you to wonder how you can best take care of your feet.
The sunshine and warm air feel great on your skin, but the elements also can lead to dry, cracked heels and other unsightly problems. Before you grab your flip-flops and sandals, take a few minutes to find out how you can protect your feet in the summer.
How to take care of feet in summer
One of the best ways to take care of your feet in the summer is to protect them by wearing shoes. Shoes put a layer between your feet and bacteria as well as fungus that may be living on the ground. When you wear shoes, you’re also less likely to get bruises and cuts that can lead to infections. If you have diabetes, avoiding cuts is very important because your body may have trouble healing.
If you’re wearing sneakers or another type of closed-style shoe, choose your socks carefully. Look for socks that don’t have visible seams or stitching that can rub against your skin and cause blisters. Choose socks with moisture-wicking fabric that helps keep your feet dry and fungus away.
Sock stitching isn’t the only cause of blisters. Poorly fitted shoes, sweat and fungal infections can lead to blisters on your feet. If you do notice a blister, cover it with moleskin or liquid bandage until it heals.
Also, be sure to include your feet when you slather on the sunscreen. The skin on your feet burns just as easily as the rest of your body. Skin cancer can show up on your feet, and sometimes it goes undetected there if you don’t check your feet regularly. Wearing sunscreen every day on exposed feet can lower your risk of developing cancer there.
Tips for avoiding dry, cracked feet in summer
Your feet tend to dry out more during the summer months because you’re more likely to run around barefoot or in sandals. This leaves your feet open to wind, heat and sunlight, which can dry out the skin. You also may find yourself washing your feet more often when you wear open-style shoes. Soaps and alcohol-based cleansers also strip natural oils from your feet.
In addition to covering up your feet when possible, you can try these tips to avoid dry, cracked feet:
- Add essential oils to your foot soak.
- Apply lotion to your feet after you shower and before you go to bed.
- Use a pumice stone to remove dry skin after a shower.
- Use soap-free cleansers in the shower.
How to stop your feet from swelling in summer
You may have noticed your shoes feel tighter by the end of the day during the summer months. You’re not alone. Blood vessels in your body shrink to help cool your body. This can make it harder for them to move blood back to your heart. As a result, fluid builds up in your feet and ankles.
Although you don’t have control over the summer weather, you can take steps to minimize or prevent foot swelling in the summer. Start by spending some time in air-conditioned rooms or sitting in front of a fan. This helps regulate your body’s temperature so your blood vessels can stay open.
You can also try the following:
- Avoid salty foods. Summer favorites, including hot dogs and potato chips, can be loaded with salt. Enjoy them in moderation since your body tends to retain water if you eat too much of them.
- Drink plenty of water. Aim for eight to 10 glasses of water every day during the summer to stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause foot swelling.
- Elevate your feet. You can do this either when you’re sitting or lying.
- Keep moving. Moving your body helps increase circulation. This can stop fluid from collecting in your feet.
Swelling in your feet can also be a sign of a more serious problem. Connect with your primary care provider if the swelling doesn’t go away or is only in one foot. If you also have pain and your skin is an unusual color, call your doctor.
Additionally, a podiatrist can help you take care of your feet during the summer as well as the rest of the year. Learn about the podiatry services we offer at Bon Secours.