Prolonging Your Summertime Foot Care Routine
(Children, in particular, tend to be virtually unanimous in that sentiment.)
Memorial Day is widely-regarded as the unofficial start of summer, and Labor Day is usually considered its unofficial end. At this point, we aren’t terribly far off from Labor Day and the end of summer. In fact, it’s the next holiday we’ll celebrate.
This year, Labor Day falls on September 3, which means we have roughly a month-and-a-half left of the summer season.
That means you do still have a couple more opportunities to enjoy Stewart Park while taking in Music on the Half Shell performances (August 14 and 21). Plus, you can bring the family out to the Douglas County Fair here in Roseburg between August 7-11.
So the good news is that you still have some time to make sure you’re taking advantage of everything summer has to offer!
Now, when we say goodbye to long days—and they’ve actually been getting shorter since the end of June—one thing you don’t also want to say “goodbye” to is your summertime foot care routine.
Whether or not you think about it, there are several seasonal considerations that contribute to foot health. On top of that, people simply tend to give their feet more attention during the summer – something that can be attributed to wearing sandals, open-toed shoes, and other such footwear in the warmer months.
As summer fades away, we encourage you to prolong those efforts that keep your feet healthy and happy.
A good starting point in this regard is with the extra attention given to the lower limbs.
It’s relatively easy to notice the state of your toes and feet when you’re wearing sandals (that are supportive and doctor-approved, of course!) around town or taking a trip to the beach, but decidedly less so when they’re covered by socks and shoes.
Before going further, let’s pause for a quick moment to highlight an important consideration regarding footwear choices in the summertime:
When diabetes is present—and this is a condition affecting more than 1 out of every 10 adults in the U.S. (to say nothing of the 1 out of every 3 adults who have prediabetes!)—your choice of summer footwear should not consist of sandals or open-toed shoes. Further, walking barefoot is simply a bad idea – even when visiting the beach.
Put simply, you need to protect your feet if you have diabetes. A big part of this is wearing diabetic socks and shoes. (And sandals aren’t the same as diabetic shoes.)
As we were saying before that digression, it’s much easier to be aware of your feet in the summer, including proper toenail care.
Accordingly, a summer footcare measure to carry over into the cooler months is making sure you keep your toenails trimmed to an appropriate length. This is important because letting them grow too long could potentially result in nails breaking or cracking (from the pressure that accompanies the last bit of push-off with every step).
Beyond the pressure from taking a step, shoes also can put pressure on the fronts of long toenails. In extreme situations, the downward pressure on the front can cause the nail to loosen or the skin underneath to break down – which increases the risk of a nail being torn off.
Keeping nails short and properly trimmed is one facet of summer foot care. Another is keeping feet cool.
The reason people turn to sandals and open-toed shoes in the summer is because feet encased in socks and shoes can become hot. This is especially true for footwear that isn’t made out of breathable materials.
Even though the weather is going to cool down, you should still follow your summer practice of taking measures so your feet don’t get too hot.
Why is that important outside of our hottest months? Well, because warm feet perspire more than those that are cool and comfortable. The concern here is that the combination of warmth and dampness is inviting for fungi.
Two common fungal-related foot problems are athlete’s foot and toenail fungus.
Athlete’s foot causes itching sensations that can be rather irritating. On top of that, the infection can spread across a foot, be contacted by the other foot, and even potentially result in an embarrassing case of jock itch.
The good news about athlete’s foot is that most mild-to-moderate cases are easily treated with off-the-shelf antifungal products (when used properly).
Conversely, fungal toenails are much more difficult to address. In this case, the fungus is able to hide under the protection of your nails – which makes them difficult to reach.
Whereas it isn’t necessarily easy to eradicate the fungus and restore nails back to health, it can be done with professional intervention. This condition will only worsen over time when left unaddressed, so make sure you come see us for fungal toenail treatment at the earliest possible opportunity!
There are two more things you are more likely to do in the summer that benefit your feet, even though you might not realize it – exercising and eating well.
When the sun is shining and the weather’s nice, the conditions are ripe for healthy activities like going for a walk, swimming, cycling, or playing sports outside. Here in Douglas County, we are lucky to have a variety of outstanding, scenic trails that are perfect for being active and getting your heart pumping (which helps blood flow down to the feet and back up) on summer days.
People are quick to think of other health benefits from regular exercise—which makes sense because there are abundance of them—but physical activities can benefit your feet in many different ways. And this is actually the same as with eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet.
Modern technology has given the humans the ability to have summer fruits and vegetables all year long, but the fact of the matter is this – produce grown in artificial circumstances or traveling across international borders just isn’t the same as the in-season varieties you can find at the Umpqua Valley Farmers’ Market!
Eating a proper diet benefits your feet in a multitude of ways, such as strengthening foot bones and muscles, improving (or maintaining) circulation, and keeping your bodyweight down.
As with regular exercise and physical activity, make sure you are eating healthy beyond the summer season so your feet can feel and function their very best throughout the entire year.
All of these measures—observing your feet, keeping toenails trimmed, wearing breathable footwear, exercising regularly, and eating well—are important, but perhaps even more so is to listen to your body and come see us here at Wilks Advanced Foot Care if you develop pain or have any other difficulty.
Remember, early intervention is always best, so don’t hesitate to contact our Roseburg office by calling (541) 673-0742 if you have any questions or need to request an appointment!