Summer is in full swing, which means fun in the sun filled with plenty of opportunities to show off your feet. Be careful, summertime can be rough on your feet and cause an increase in foot and ankle problems. Not keeping your feet protected can directly lead to foot pain or other foot health issues. Here are 5 common foot problems of summer and how to avoid them:
1) Sunburnt Feet
It's important to keep in mind that feet need protection in the summer. We typically think to cover faces and upper bodies in sunscreen, but let's not forget the lower half as well. To avoid painful sunburns, apply sunscreen all over your feet and toes when barefoot or wearing sandals, as they are going to be exposed to harsh sun rays.
2) Foot Infections
Walking around barefoot can expose the feet to contracting foot infections. These could either be from injuring your foot or from picking up a fungal nail infection. It's crucial to protect your feet during warmer months due to increased nail exposure. Any time you are in a public area, be sure to protect your feet by wearing shoes.
3) Dry Cracked Heels
Constantly wearing open shoes or no shoes during summer may result in cracked, split skin around the heels. Exposure to the hot and dry elements can dehydrate this area and lead to pain and bleeding. Be sure to clean and moisturize your feet daily. Use a moisturizing cream or heel balm regularly to make sure the skin is hydrated.
4) Swollen Feet
As the heat and humidity levels rise, so does the chance you will experience swollen feet during the summer months. Our bodies are prone to heat swelling, which is very uncomfortable and primarily affects the hands and feet. Be sure to soak your feet in cold water or make an ice bath to reduce any threat of swelling.
5) Foot Pain
Keep in mind that the type of footwear you provide your feet this summer may lead to potential foot pain. Going barefoot or wearing unsupportive, flimsy sandals can lead to problems like plantar fasciitis and stress fractures. To keep your feet in best health, look for sandals that offer support and protection to your feet.
Dr. Jeffrey S. Hurless
DPM, FACFAS Board Certified Foot & Ankle Surgeon/Podiatrist
Medical Director, HealthyFeetStore.com