Irish winters may be long and dull, but they are also a great opportunity for extra pampering and self-care. Don’t let foot pain hold you back from enjoying the best bits of winter. Make taking care of your feet this season a priority. Use the chilly winter evenings to give your feet the TLC they (and you) deserve. When your feet feel great and you are pain-free, you’ll feel like you can take on the world!
Prevention is better than cure
Foot pain comes in many forms, from itchiness between the toes to throbbing, stabbing pains near the heels. The good news is that some foot pain can be prevented with a little care and the right footwear.
Avoid Painful Cracked Heels
Wet and cold winter weather means we stay wrapped up and cosy. When you’re wrapped up against the elements and have the heating on, it can cause skin all over your body to dry out, including the skin on your feet.
When your skin dries out rapidly it can cause foot pain as your feet become hard and cracked. Cracked heels can be painful to walk on and without proper care, they can become infected causing extreme foot pain. You might also experience further foot pain as you adjust your gait to ease the pressure on your heels.
To prevent cracked heels this winter, keep your feet clean and regularly moisturised. For extra pampering and to soften cracked heels, try a foot soak.
How to soak cracked heels:
- Mix a small scoop of Epsom salts with warm water.
- Soak both feet for at least 20 minutes (the perfect excuse to sit back and relax).
- Dry off your feet thoroughly and let them air dry for an extra minute or two.
- As you dry with a towel, some dry skin will come off easily.
- To remove stubborn dry skin, gently use a pumice stone.
- If your heel is cracked and painful, apply a specialised heel cream. Avoid using a pumice until the cracks are healed.
Shoes and boots that are too tight around the back of the foot can also lead to dry heels. Make sure you’re wearing the right size to protect your feet.
Avoiding Athlete’s Foot
Winter shoes aren’t the most breathable, which can create a moist, warm and dark environment for the feet. This humid climate can become a breeding ground for foot fungus, including athlete’s foot.
Athlete’s foot is an itchy fungal condition that causes foot pain around the toes. As a contagious infection, it can be picked up anywhere you have bare feet and you may not even know. Swimming pools and changing rooms are prime spots for picking up athlete’s foot. However, you are as likely to pick it up walking barefoot in your home.
Keeping athletes’ feet at bay in winter can be as simple as taking a few good hygiene precautions. For example, when you shower, take extra time to wash your feet thoroughly using an antibacterial soap. Feet are easily forgotten when we’re in a rush to get ready for the day.
At the gym or pool, wear non-slip slider sandals to avoid walking around barefoot. Drying your feet is equally important. Make sure to gently rub feet dry and pay attention to beneath and between the toes.
Avoiding Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus also loves the warm, moist, environments that our feet find themselves in in winter. This type of fungus infection spreads easily and can be transferred directly or indirectly. Think twice before sharing socks and shoes or going barefoot in a shared space.
Untreated, toenail fungus can cause your nail to thicken and crumble as well as discolour. You may also experience foot pain and sore toes after walking for any length of time.
The final step is the solution step. Here, your we will recommend solutions to your specific foot problem based on all the information we have collected. There is no obligation following your free consultation. Foot Solutions is here when you need us.
To avoid nail fungus, keep your toe nails short and clean. Never share nail clippers and ensure pedicurists sanitise tools before using them on your fungus free feet.
Keeping your feet dry and aired is a must for avoiding toenail fungus. If you’re out in the rain or snow, change your shoes and socks as soon as you get inside. Also try to avoid wearing any shoes that haven’t dried out properly. For shoes and socks, look for materials that are breathable. Sport socks and some general use socks have moisture wicking qualities too, which can help keep feet dry.
Avoiding Foot Pain
Nothing is as much fun when you’re experiencing pain or discomfort. If you are already experiencing foot pain, don’t put off getting help and book a free assessment at Foot Solutions. If you have been lucky enough to avoid foot pain, take steps to avoid it this winter.
- Good grip and support
Surfaces are slippery with ice and rain this time of year. While we advocate getting out for fresh air and an energising walk, only do so when it’s safe. When the winter weather is at its worst, opt for shoes with a good grip and ankle support. Shoe size is just as important as too small or too big shoes can affect your balance.
- Warm up your feet
No matter if you’re heading to the shops or keeping up your running routine, warm up your feet before you go. A few key stretches can prevent your feet from becoming injured or painful. Try these seated warm ups for feet:
- Sit on a chair and point your legs in front of you. Point your toes away as far as you can and hold for five seconds. Then point your toes toward you and hold again. Alternate 10 – 15 times. Alternatively, stand with your back straight and raise up slowly on to your tiptoes. Lower slowly and repeat.
- To warm up your ankles, use a towel or stretch band and stay seated. Hold your foot out in front of you and loop the towel around it. Holding the ends of the towel firmly, gently pull toward you. You should feel a stretch at the back of your ankle.
- Stay seated and prop your feet in front of you on your heels. Without moving your heels off the floor, point the feet left and then right.
- The Right Shoes
Good shoes make all the difference when it comes to preventing foot pain. Whether you like to run, walk or spend the season hibernating, having the right shoes will keep you safe. Choosing the right shoes is about more than purpose though.
Shoes that will help keep you pain free need to be the right size. Our feet change over time but many of us still wear the same shape and size. Narrow shoes that squeeze your feet can cause untold pain, even when worn for a short time. Shoes that are too big can cause you to trip. They can even change the way you walk, distributing the pressure on your feet unevenly.
Lastly, no two pairs of feet are the same which is why off the shelf fashion shoes can cause issues. Two people with the same size feet might find that they fit different or feel different. This is because your gait and foot shape (top to bottom and front to back) are different.
Having the right shoes starts with knowing your feet. To get the right shoes for your fun filled winter, book a free assessment at Foot Solutions today.
How Foot Solutions help with Foot Pain
At Foot Solutions, we recognise the individuality of feet. As well as offering a free, non-obligation, foot assessment, we craft custom prescribed orthotics. We also recommend the best supportive footwear for you based on your foot assessment results. Our aim is to keep you foot pain free and help you achieve your foot wellness goals.
We are experts in foot wellness – and can help you in Winter or any season you need assistance. Our experienced Pedorthists are extensively trained to provide a carefully considered service that aids your health. The uniqueness of our service means that you can avail of truly custom orthotics made only for you.
Our Irish stores are locally owned and operated by members of your community. Unlike big box shoe stores and medical offices, our experienced professionals provide a caring service focused on individual attention and personalised recommendations. We are Ireland’s champions of foot health and wellness, and our passion is using our expertise to improve our customers’ lives.
For better foot health and to stay foot pain free, treat yourself to a free Foot Solutions assessment this Winter.
Book an appointment at your nearest Foot Solutions store.