Seal Beach, PA (PressExposure) May 17, 2011 -- For many of us, summer time means picnics, vacations and lots of fun activities - which often put more strain on our feet. Here are some tips to help you avoid foot problems during the summer months:
Help Avoiding Athlete's Foot:
Nothing takes the fun out of summer faster than a bad case of tinea pedis or athlete's foot, with its maddening itching, burning and peeling between the toes. The culprit is a fungus that breeds in warm, damp areas like showers, swimming pools, and locker rooms (hence the name "athlete's foot").
Shoes also create a warm, dark, humid environment where this fungus can thrive - and warm weather and increased activity just compound the problem.
What can you do to fight back?
Use foot powder. Any commercial foot powder will help absorb moisture. Sprinkle powder lightly in shoes, sandals and socks (try not to breathe it into your lungs).
Change your socks during the day. Give your feet a chance to breathe.
Exercise particular care when using public swimming facilities, showers, etc. Wash well with antibacterial soap and dry your feet thoroughly before putting on your socks and shoes.
Wear proper socks:
Acrylic socks (not 100% cotton as previously thought) are best - because they "wick away" moisture from the foot.
Use moisturizing lotion regularly:
In warmer weather we tend to go sockless. Here in southern California the humidity is low, which causes our skin to dry out more quickly. Dry, flaky skin can lead to cracks called fissures. Various organisms can lodge in these cracks causing infection and plantar warts. A good moisturizing lotion, preferably with a chemical called urea (urea in 10-20% strength is usually diabetic safe), helps re-hydrate the skin.
Some thoughts on sandal:
Sandals are especially popular in the summer months. I don't have a problem with wearing sandals, but not all sandals treat your feet with equal respect. Unfortunately, most sandal makers seem to emphasize style over good foot support. Going without adequate arch support throughout the day can lead arch strain and plantar fasciitis (heel pain). To avoid these problems you can alternate between a shoe with a good arch support and a sandal, or else invest in a higher quality sandal with a built-in arch support. Companies that make well-constructed sandals include Birkenstock® and Naot®. Yes, these sandals are more expensive; but if they can save you from having foot problems, its money well spent.
Let me wish you a happy and enjoyable summer, and leave you with these words, taught to me many years ago by a wise professor: "Be good to your feet and they will be good to you."