These Feet are Made for Walking. Tips for Summer Foot Health.

What are your plans this summer? Whether you are beach-bound, sight-seeing in the city or heading into the wilderness, the American Podiatric Medical Association offers the following tips:

  • Limit walking barefoot as it exposes feet to sunburn, as well as plantar warts, athlete’s foot, ringworm, and other infections and also increases risk of injury to your feet.
  • Wear shoes or flip-flops around the pool, to the beach, in the locker room and even on the carpeting or in the bathroom of your hotel room to prevent injuries and limit the likelihood of contracting any bacterial infections.
  • Remember to apply sunscreen all over your feet, especially the tops and fronts of ankles, and don’t forget to reapply after you’ve been in the water.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Drinking water will not only help with overall health, but will also minimize any foot swelling caused by the heat.
  • Keep blood flowing with periodic ankle flexes, toe wiggles, and calf stretches.
  • Some activities at the beach, lake, or river may require different types of footwear to be worn, so be sure to ask the contact at each activity if specific shoes are needed. To be safe, always pack an extra pair of sneakers or protective water shoes. If your shoes will be getting wet, they should be dried out completely before your next wearing to prevent bacteria or fungus from growing.
  • In case of minor foot problems, be prepared with the following on-the-go foot gear:
    • Flip flops—for the pool, spa, hotel room, and airport security check points
    • Sterile bandages—for covering minor cuts and scrapes
    • Antibiotic cream—to treat any skin injury
    • Emollient-enriched cream—to hydrate feet
    • Blister pads or moleskin—to protect against blisters
    • Motrin or Advil (anti-inflammatory)—to ease tired, swollen feet
    • Toenail clippers—to keep toenails trimmed
    • Emery board—to smooth rough edges or broken nails
    • Pumice stone—to soften callused skin
    • Sunscreen—to protect against the scorching sun
    • Aloe vera or Silvadene cream—to relieve sunburns

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) reminds you to ensure that your tetanus shot is up to date. ACFAS also urges you to:

  • NEVER mow your lawn barefoot.
  • Be careful around campfires because it’s easy to accidently step on hot coals.
  • Exercise caution around lakes, rivers and ponds where murky water can hide sharp objects.
  • People with diabetes should NEVER go barefoot.

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