A little foot pampering goes a long way now that the winter season is here. Come winter, we force our feet into boots, cover them in enclosed shoes and thick socks to protect them. Or so we believe… cracked heels, corns and calluses, ingrown nails. That's because indoor heat is dry and improper fitting winter footwear can be hard on feet. But with a little pampering and attention to basics, you can put your best foot forward.
I offer some advice to offer on how to keep your feet happy when old man winter rolls in.
Go a proper fitting winter boot! Too often, I have seen patients keep their boots of 10 years of age with the triangular toeboxes – leaving little room for the baby toe. Corns, calluses and blisters may develop there. Ditch them for rounded toeboxes with adjustable lacing and removable insoles. Find boots with removable insoles – as that usually a sign of better quality. Plus, when the insole flattens, you can buy a replacement insole instead of replacing the entire boot.
If you have feet which are the noticeably sweaty anytime their covered up, then select breathable materials to allow the moisture to escape more easily. This means for winter boots: the linings should be natural like wool shearling or felt and the outer should be breathable like leather, suede or fabric. Alternating between at least two different shoes will prevent the build-up of odour-causing bacteria. Again, choose shoes with a rounded toebox with laces or Velcro to adjust to a firm but comfortable fit.
Avoid being a fashion victim. The current craze are Uggs shearling boots for women. The popular paw-like Uggs has grabbed fashion conscious women to the ground. There is no arch support and no firm heel wall to support your feet, thus your feet slip and slide. Sore heels and inner arch pain are commonly felt.
Make time for tender loving care: cracked heels and calluses should be treated daily to a good skin cream. I always recommend to my patient to use a cream with a mild acid, for example uric acid, alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA), lactic acid. The most amazing cream to come on the market is the Footlogix® brand of foot mousse creams. The mousse is absorbed into the feet almost instantly, leaving no greasy feeling.
Lastly, use a pumice stone if you need to scrape the dead skin off your feet. But you are using a pair of scissors or a knife, then stop! Too often, I have seen patients come to me after self “surgery” of a corn or callus with deep cuts. Come to see me if you’re feet are not becoming.