Summer is around the corner; it’s time to switch out the heavy, warm boots and loafers of winter with the bright, open-toed dress shoes, wedges and platform sandals, sports shoes and – of course – flip flops, of the new season. Happy as we always are for the easy-going style and long days, summer – especially in our high, desert plain climate – can be hard on feet.
Wear and Tear
Dry, cracked feet are common during the summer. Approximately 20 percent of adults in the US have experienced cracked skin on feet; women are 50 percent more likely to have this problem. Our heels suffer most, because they carry most of our weight. The skin there can be 20 times thicker than the skin on the rest of our body. Moisturizing is more important than ever, as dry, peeling skin anywhere on the feet can crack and bleed. This can lead to serious infections.
Other ailments of the season include blisters (from shoes that don’t fit or haven’t been properly broken in), excessive foot odor, and fungus. If you have blisters on your feet, do not pop them. It’s better to cover them with a Bandaid for 5 – 7 days and let them heal on their own. Foot odor is common in warmer weather. It’s caused by sweat and is usually bacterial. Wash your feet with an anti-fungal foot soap containing bacteria-fighting tea tree oil. Pools (like locker rooms) breed fungus. You should always wear light sandals poolside, and let your shoes dry out thoroughly before wearing them again.
Wearer Beware – We Love the Flip-flops
Flip-flops are practically synonymous with summer. We buy them in every color and wear them to the beach, pool parties, casual restaurants, sightseeing. Most any podiatrist will tell you that flip-flops offer no support, and they leave your almost naked foot exposed to the elements. It’s easy to step on a rusty nail or stinging insect, incur cuts and bruises, or trip while wearing flip-flops. Sprained ankles are a common result from tripping or falling while wearing flip-flops. Flip-flops can cause hammertoe, because they force our toes to work extra hard to keep the shoe on. Overuse can also cause bunions to set in.
Flip-flops are barely better than going barefoot. If you must wear them, buy ones that have some arch support. Don’t wear them for longer than three hours. Be sure to coat your feet with sunscreen, as the very flat and thin skin on top of the foot burns easily. Use them only for lounging at the pool or beach, walking across hot asphalt or sand, or using a public shower. Flip-flops are not for walking, long standing or every day wear.
Dr. O and her team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. can custom-craft orthotic inserts for your summer athletic shoes, sassy wedge sandals, or high heels. Call 303-805-5156 today to schedule your appointment in Aurora, Castle Pines, Cherry Creek, or Parker, CO.