Summertime and the living is easy…except for your feet!
Who doesn’t long for those lazy, hazy days of sandals and flip flops? Who among us can’t wait to feel the sand between our toes after staying cooped up all winter?
But all that summer fun can do a number on your feet. From sunburn and blisters to the risk of injury and infection, there are many hot-weather hazards to look out for. On top of that, many of us neglect our feet as part of regular self care.
The good news is it’s easy to keep your feet happy while enjoying those long, sunny days. Here are six simple foot care tips to follow all summer long.
#1: Use Caution When Going Barefoot
As wonderful as it feels to kick off your shoes when it’s hot outside, going barefoot carries a number of risks.
- Wet surfaces are breeding grounds for fungal infections such as athlete’s foot or ringworm.
- You may be more likely to suffer cuts, sprains or fractures if you’re walking on uneven terrain without any shoes on.
- In addition, hot pavement can burn the soles of your feet.
The best protection is to always wear flip flops or sandals when walking on beaches or pool decks, in locker rooms and on hotel floors. Whenever you do go barefoot, wash with soap and water and dry off completely before putting your shoes back on.
#2: Invest in Proper Footwear
Whatever your favorite summer activities, quality footwear keeps you safe while having fun.
A comfortable pair of water shoes is a great way to avoid injuries while swimming in the ocean, lake or pool. They give you stability on slippery surfaces and protect against cuts and scrapes from rocks or debris. Water shoes are also ideal for activities like canoeing, snorkeling or SCUBA diving.
When you’re on dry land, quality sneakers with good arch support are a must. Look for proper grip strength and ankle support for strenuous activities like hiking or rock climbing. Wear socks that promote moisture evaporation to keep your feet clean and dry and avoid infection.
Just like other types of shoes, your sandals or flip flops should be comfortable and have good support. Keep in mind that thong sandals may rub and cause blisters between your toes, which may be of special concern for people with diabetes.
Finally, if your shoes get wet, let them dry out completely before wearing them again. This will reduce the risk of bacterial or fungal infections.
#3: Protect Your Feet from the Sun
Most people know that sunscreen protects your face and body against ultraviolet radiation. But don’t forget your feet! Sun damage may cause skin cancer as well as premature skin aging. Here are some ways to reduce the risk:
- Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply to the top and bottom of your feet.
- Apply every day, rain or shine. UV rays can penetrate clouds!
- Apply at least 30 minutes before going outdoors.
- Reapply after swimming and at least every two hours when you’re outdoors.
- Check the expiration date and don’t use if it’s expired!
If your feet become sunburned, you may notice the familiar symptoms of redness, blistering and skin that feels hot to the touch. Here are a few ways to treat sunburned feet:
- Soak in cool water or milk to sooth irritation.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers to ease discomfort.
- Apply aloe vera to cool your skin.
- Allow blisters to heal on their own. Scratching or picking at them may lead to infection.
- Elevate your feet to minimize swelling.
- Drink plenty of fluid. Staying hydrated promotes healing.
#4: Help Your Feet Beat the Heat
Sometimes you may notice your feet becoming swollen or sore in hot temperatures. There are many ways to cool off and reduce discomfort.
- Stay hydrated. It’s good for your overall health and may reduce heat-related foot swelling.
- Soak in cold water for 5-10 minutes. Pat dry with a clean towel and apply moisturizer.
- Elevating your feet is another good way to reduce swelling.
#5: Soften Dry Skin
Hot temperatures and dehydration increase the risk of dry skin, including your feet. You may notice dry, cracked skin that is more prone to cuts and scrapes.
Exfoliation is a great way to remove dull, dead skin cells and reveal the youthful skin underneath. Baby Foot Original Exfoliation Foot Peel helps dead skin peel away effortlessly. You can also use a pumice stone to gently slough away dead skin cells as they peel off.
After exfoliating, wash your feet with soap and water and pat dry with a clean towel. Apply moisturizer to prevent future dryness and cracking.
#6: Watch for Common Summer Foot Problems
In addition to routine foot care, you’ll also want to be aware of common issues that often crop up during the summer time.
- Athlete’s foot: Also known by its scientific name tinea pedis, athlete’s foot is one of the most common foot infections, and you don’t have to play a sport to get it. It is a highly contagious fungus that thrives in warm, humid environments. That’s why it spreads so easily in locker rooms, communal showers and swimming pool decks. Symptoms include redess, itching, burning and cracking. The best way to protect yourself is to wear shower shoes or sandals in these locations.
- Blisters: These small fluid-filled bubbles appear under the surface of your skin. Moisturizing your skin makes it less vulnerable to blisters. Wear moisture-wicking socks and properly-fitted footwear to avoid excess rubbing.
- Corns: Both corns and calluses are hardened areas of skin caused by excessive pressure or friction. They can cause pain or discomfort and may affect the appearance of your feet. You can avoid them by wearing well-fitting shoes with good arch support.
- Plantar fascitis: This condition is often caused by wearing shoes with poor arch support. The tissue running across the bottom of your foot may become inflamed and result in heel pain. You can prevent it by wearing properly fitting shoes.
Finally, foot and ankle injuries are common during the summer months when people tend to engage in more physical activity. Make sure you have a first aid kit on hand for treating minor cuts and scrapes. Your kit should include sterile bandages, lotion, sunscreen, aloe vera, antibacterial cream and anti-inflammatory medications. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect a more serious injury such as a sprain or fracture.
By investing in a little TLC, you can have fun this summer while your feet have it made in the shade. And check out our line of easy-to-use foot care products to keep you feet smooth and soft all year long!