The summer season is coming in hot and here to stay for several more months in Georgia. Of course, we all want to show off our favorite sandals at the pool or beach, but to do that, we must keep our feet healthy during these hot and humid months! We now have to take precautions from keeping our bare feet away from infection and protecting them from the sun. Before you feel that ocean breeze, let’s put your mind at ease with six tips for summer foot care!
1. Sunscreen is Key
We all know that slathering SPF on our face and bodies protects us from things like cancer and wrinkles, but how often do we tend to our toes when we soak up the sun? The tops of our feet directly face the sun as we walk around in our flip-flops, so applying sunscreen there when we leave the house is essential, and also avoids tan lines!
Ensure that you regularly inspect both the tops and bottoms of your feet for abnormal freckles or moles. Find a sunscreen, at least 30 SPF and is classified as “Broad Spectrum,” that protects you from both UV-A and UV-B rays. UV-B rays are correlated with burning, while UV-A is associated with aging.
2. Keep Your Bare Feet Away From Infections.
Our office sees bacterial, fungal, and viral foot infections in the summer months more often than any other time of year! This is because bare feet are exposed to all of the germs, bacteria, and fungus in public places. These offenders are the culprits of infections such as Athlete’s Foot and plantar warts. If you choose to take a dip at the public pool this summer, make sure you wear shoes with thick soles to walk around.
When you arrive home from your activities, wash your feet with soap and warm water and ensure they are thoroughly dried with a towel. Disinfect your gear with wipes or spray after the gym or any other sweaty location that fungus and bacteria lurk around. Consider disinfecting your feet with anti-fungal spray. It’s worth it to take care to prevent these infections so you can spend your summer days relaxing.
3. Break-in Your Sandals to Avoid Blisters
Before wearing your new sandals out on a summer adventure, be sure to bend and stretch them around at home first. This way, they will conform to your feet easier. If you are looking for a new pair of summer shoes, look for footwear with good arch support.
4. Keep Your Feet Clean and Cool with Proper Sock Care
Don’t trap your feet in their own sweat during these steamy and humid months. Wearing proper socks to keep your feet cool is fundamental to avoid stinky feet. Feel free to lock away those wool socks with your winter boots and break out your thinner acrylic cotton blend socks. If you are out exercising in the hot sun, consider wearing performance-based socks that are ventilated to avoid swampy feet altogether.
It’s also a good idea to remove socks and shoes when you get home to let your feet air out properly. Letting your toes fester in the sweat can lead to Athlete’s Foot and other infections.
5. Stay Hydrated.
Drinking water should always be a priority for overall excellent health and to keep yourself glowing. It is easy to dehydrate in the summer, especially if we are spending our days in the hot sun. When you drink more water, you increase blood flow. Since our feet are the furthest part of our bodies from our heart, blood circulation is vital to flush toxins out. In addition, drinking enough water reduces swelling. When feet are inflamed, they are more prone to injury and chronic pain. By staying hydrated, you reduce your chances of these injuries.
6. Pamper Yourself
If a trip to the nail salon is on your itinerary this season, look for appropriate measures to be taken to avoid toenail infections. For example, when getting a pedicure, be sure that nail clippers and files are properly sanitized. The fungus is transferred through these tools. You can also book an appointment with our waterless pedicure to ensure properly disinfected instruments are always used. Also, remove toenail polish frequently to give your nail beds a break.
Dr. Anubha Oberoi, DPM