By Brian K. Doerr, DPM, Fellow of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons –
For many of us, our feet are the furthest things from our minds, both physically and mentally. We expect they’ll be uncomfortable at times, and we put up with it when they hurt. But healthy feet are fundamental to the quality of our lives. After all they function as transportation for us all when we call upon them. So it is important to have healthy feet.
The very first areas of our bodies that feel the effects of cold weather are our hands and feet. Warm weather effects our feet as well and will also be discussed to help educate everyone so they can prepare accordingly.
Having the state of the art latest thermal socks and shoe wear does not necessarily always protect you from foot problems. If you skimp on one piece of protective clothing that is all it takes to cause a loss of body heat which leads to constriction of blood vessels in the arms and legs. This now causes the hands and feet to become more sensitive to the effects of the cold.
Sweating and exposure to any form of moisture causes foot problems as well increasing heat loss which makes the skin more prone to Dermatitis, which simply means skin inflammation, but it embraces a range of ailments. In most people, the early stages of dermatitis are characterized by red, dry, and itchy skin. More serious dermatitis may result in crusty scales or blisters that ooze fluid.
Frostbite is another cold weather foot condition. Frostnip also is a cold weather is basically a mild form of frostbite. However, to a person with poor circulation, frostnip can easily become the more serious frostbite. We all have childhood memories of our parents warning us to put the proper socks and shoes on before heading out in the winter snow to avoid getting frostbite. Injuries from frostbite range from mild symptoms such as pale skin that becomes red and swollen pain to a more serious condition which could lead to amputation in the most serious cases. With prolonged exposure to cold weather the feet are often the first part of the body to feel the uncomfortable effects.
With a little bit of planning–and the proper combination of sock, insole and boot–feet can stay healthy and warm all winter long. Hibernation will not be necessary and anticipating the cold weather ahead of time will help everyone make the most out of the cold.
After the cold winter months have passed and the warmer summer months arrive you are probably looking forward to kicking off your shoes and socks and enjoying the beach, pool or a walk in the park. Unfortunately walking barefoot can lead you vulnerable to a host of warm weather foot conditions. During the summer months dry scaly itchy feet become a more common complaint.
Living here in the Sunshine State during the summer months athletes foot is a very common foot condition It is a common fungal infection caused in part by excess moisture trapped between the toes and the bottom of the foot.
Treatment can range from topical creams to oral anti-fungal medications. If caught early, topical treatments can usually be effective. More severe conditions may necessitate the use of stronger, oral medication.
Planters warts are common in the warmer months. They are caused by a virus that enter the feet through small cracks in the feet and typically appear on the bottom of the foot. These type warts can be passed from person to person from standing water found near pools, decks, showers or even a puddle. These warts are not dangerous but can be very painful and not pleasant to look at. Treatment for planters warts may require several visits to a Podiatrist to kill the visrus.
Blisters are more common in the warmer months. Most blisters are caused by rubbing especially between the toes when wearing flip flops. The key to helping prevent summer foot blisters are to keep your feet dry and wear shoes or sandals that fit well and are not too loose.
Preventing warm weather foot problems is fairly simple: Clean your feet after exercise or whenever they are sweaty. After bathing or showering, dry your feet thoroughly, especially in-between your toes. Avoid direct contact with public, locker room or shower floors by wearing flip flops, water shoes or other types of other foot gear.
Podiatrist’s are trained in all aspects of care for the feet. They are the most qualified Doctors to care for your feet. A doctor of podiatric medicine is to the foot what a dentist is to the mouth or an ophthalmologist to the eye – a specialist who has undergone lengthy, thorough study to become uniquely well-qualified to treat a specific part of the body. If you are experiencing any foot conditions whether caused by the warm or cold climate conditions call Dr. Doerr’s office today to schedule an appointment.