Foot Care Tips for the Holidays
For a lot of us, the end of 2020 can’t come fast enough. It’s been a difficult year for many, to say the least. We at InStride Crystal Coast Podiatry hope you have an incredibly joyous end to the year, and are looking forward to good things in the year to come.
So, when it comes to the health of your feet and ankles, don’t trip up when you’re right next to the finish line!
The holiday season can often be stressful for foot and ankle health for a variety of reasons—including increased physical activity, diet, and even simple changes in routine. To help you avoid unexpected foot problems and make sure you start 2021 on the right foot, here are a few holiday foot care tips.
Keep Your Feet Dry and Warm
Here in New Bern, we typically don’t have to deal with the bitter cold and heavy snows that are common in some other parts of the country. But that does not mean you don’t have to protect your feet when temperatures get a little chilly.
With just a bit of a breeze, exposed toes can still be frostbitten even in temperatures of 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit after only about 30 minutes of exposure.
Always make sure you wear appropriate socks and shoes for the outdoor temperatures if you are planning to go out. And if they become damp due to rain, slush, sweat, or any other reason, make sure you change them out for dry pairs.
Many people struggle with dry, cracked feet when the weather gets colder. Winter is the driest season in New Bern, and running the furnace can lower the relative humidity of an indoor environment even further. Even taking a long, hot shower can cause your feet to dry out faster.
Excessively dry feet can be irritating and painful, increasing your risk of contracting an infection if you have diabetes or suffer from poor circulation.
It is a good idea to moisturize the tops and bottoms of your feet (but not between the toes) at least once per day, or sometimes twice if you tend to struggle with dry skin. A good time to do this is immediately after drying off following a shower.
Support Your Feet
Most of us don’t routinely wear shoes in our own homes. However, this can lead to pain, particularly if you plan on doing a lot of standing or walking around on hard surfaces—like a kitchen floor.
If you have good shoes that fit your feet correctly, they will provide your feet with the arch support and cushioning they need to stay comfortable longer. This is especially true if you wear orthotics in your shoes.
If you notice your arches or heels are starting to ache around the holidays this year, try keeping your shoes on indoors for at least a few hours each day. You may find this will provide some relief.
Give Your Feet Regular Breaks
The holiday season can bring a rush of physical activity and some long days on your feet.
If you’re planning on spending a good chunk of the day shopping, playing with the kids, working in the kitchen, or performing other activities you know might be tough on your feet, remember to give yourself regular breaks—even if you’re still feeling fine overall. Five to ten minutes of rest time every hour or so can make a difference by the end of a long day.
While you rest, take some time to gently stretch, flex, or even self-massage your feet, arches, and calves. This can further alleviate pain and reduce the risk of cramping.
Watch What You Eat
For a lot of people, the best part of the holiday season is the food! We are not suggesting that you have to pass on all the ham, mashed potatoes, pie, and cookies and eat nothing but raw vegetables.
But you should keep in mind what you eat has a direct impact on the health of every part of your body, including your feet. For most of us, the occasional indulgence is fine, but do so in moderation, balanced by lots of healthy options.
This is especially true if you have diabetes or are prone to gout attacks. Diets that are high in carbs can cause blood sugar to spike or remain elevated, which can affect circulation and nerve health over time (with or without a diabetes diagnosis). For gout, high-purine foods (including red meat, seafood, rich desserts, and alcohol—especially beer) can trigger extremely painful attacks, usually in the joint at the base of the big toe.
Finally, if your holiday eating causes you to put on a few extra pounds, that can also increase any foot pain symptoms you might already be experiencing. The heavier you are, the greater the impact forces your feet must absorb with each step.
Don’t Put Off Treatment for Foot Problems
Foot pain is never normal, even during the holidays. And if you try to ignore a problem, it will more than likely get worse.
InStride Crystal Coast Podiatry is here to help you keep your feet in the best possible shape, so that you can enjoy the holidays and get a head start on the new year. We are still open and taking extensive precautions to protect the health and safety of our patients and staff, as well as their families.
Plus, if you have already met your deductible, there’s another good reason to come see us before the end of the year!
Give yourself the gift of healthy feet and ankles this holiday season. To request an appointment, call us at (252) 638-4700 or complete our contact form online.