Summer is here — time to get outside, go to the beach or pool, and show off those feet. Are your feet ready to be seen by the rest of the world?
More importantly, are your feet ready to handle all those summer activities you have been waiting all winter to do – like jogging, playing golf, or wearing open-toed shoes?
Now is the time to get your feet in great shape, and take take a few precautions to make sure they stay that way.
Here are our best tips from Hollowbrook Foot Specialists to make sure your feet look and feel great:
- Make sure you are wearing the right footwear for your sport or activity. Tennis sneakers have good lateral support to avoid ankle sprains. Golf shoes have spikes to avoid slipping especially on recently watered or wet areas. Many injuries occur when running in flip-flops or sandals.
- All footwear should feel comfortable from the first time you put them on. To ensure proper fit, try on shoes at the end of the day when your feet are most likely to be swollen.
- Don’t forget to feel inside your footwear for any protruding seams or areas of possible irritation.And definitely don’t wear any shoe that gives you a blister or sore.
- If you absolutely must wear sandals or flip-flops, pick a pair with a slight elevation. The flatter the sandal, the worse they are for your feet.
- A gentle warm-up with stretching is important before undergoing any physical activity. If you have not been active over the winter, your muscles tend to shorten and tighten. They need gentle stretching before you head out and hit the road, tennis court, or golf course.
- Walk. In addition to stretching, a good warm-up includes at least 5 minutes of stretching followed by 5 or 10 minutes of walking. Walking helps to get needed blood to those leg muscles prior to exercising, and helps to avoid strains and sprains.
- Start slowly. If you have been waiting for the warm weather to finally get out there and walk your daily two, three or even four mile walk, make sure you work up to that level gradually. I always recommend starting slowly and staying at the same level for at least two workouts before increasing to the next level. As long as you feel ok, you may keep gradually increasing every two workouts until you reach your goal.
- Take a good look at your feet and make sure they don’t have any areas of dry or cracking skin. If you have already tried moisturizing creams that just don’t seem to work, you may be dealing with something more, such as psoriasis, eczema, or athlete’s feet that may need medical attention to get them back in shape.
- Check out your toenails. If they are thick, chalky, brown, painful, or discolored, these are signs of a fungal infection. Don’t just cover them up with nail polish – that’s just what the fungus likes. The next time you take off your nail polish, they will probably look worse. Fungi in the toenails is very difficult to cure, and almost always requires a doctor’s care.
Don’t ignore any pain or swelling of your feet. Stress fractures occur without injury and are more common than you may think. Stress fractures may first appear as just a small area of pain or swelling. If you notice any painful or swollen areas, stop exercising and see your podiatrist.
You CAN look good, be active, and still take good care of your feet! If you are feeling any pain or discomfort, Contact Us and we’ll get you back on your feet.
By David Schlam