After a long winter of hibernation, you and your family probably can’t wait to leap outside and partake in fun springtime activities like jumping in puddles and running through the grass like wild horses. Nature awaits you, but before you bound out with wild abandon, learn how to avoid some common springtime foot problems that come along with sudden bursts of activity, spring shoes and months of wintertime foot neglect.
Heel Fissures And Dry, Cracked Skin
Super dry skin and painful heel fissures are one of the most common springtime foot issues. Months of being trapped in socks and tight boots can zap your feet of moisture, as can wearing spring flip flops and sandals that leave your skin open to the elements. It’s important to moisturize the feet not only for cosmetic reasons, but also because dry, cracked skin leaves your feet more vulnerable to contracting bacterial and fungal diseases like athlete’s foot and plantar warts.
If You Already Have Dry Skin and Heel Fissures
If your feet are drier than the Sahara Desert, follow this guide to getting your feet spring ready in five days. It gives your tootsies a huge moisture boost via intense foot soaks, pumice stone scrubs and lotion application.
If You’d Like To Prevent Dry Skin and Heel Fissures
Preventing dry foot skin and heel fissures is quite simple. All it really takes is thoroughly washing and drying your feet every day and applying a good quality foot cream — especially if you plan on frequently wearing flip flops or sandals.
Sprains, Achilles Tendonitis and Plantar Fasciitis
Podiatrists report a significant increase in injuries like ankle sprains, Achilles tendon issues and plantar fasciitis (pain in the arch area of the foot) during spring months. Most of the time, these painful injuries are caused by a sudden increase in physical activity your body just wasn’t ready for.
How To Avoid Sprains, Achilles Tendonitis and Plantar Fasciitis
The best way to avoid foot issues like a sprain, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis is to start slow with popular springtime activities like running so your body can build back up to an adequate physical level. In addition to not jumping into too much too soon, you should:
- Replace worn out athletic shoes and wear the proper shoes for whatever activity you’re engaging in (hiking boots for hiking, cleated baseball shoes for baseball, for example)
- Stretch your muscles before jogging, hiking, playing sports and going on long walks
- Use caution when playing, running and jumping on wet, slippery lawns, in mud, on trails and on all other uneven or unstable surfaces
Pain From Bunions, Flatfeet and Hammertoes
Warmer spring months often bring flare-ups of pain for people who have common foot issues like bunions (also called hallux abducto valgus), flatfeet and hammertoes. The culprit is usually wearing unsupportive footwear like flip flops, sandals and ballet flats that both lead to these issues and exacerbate existing troubles.
How To Ward Off Bunion, Hammertoe and Flatfoot Pain
One of the best things you can do for your feet if you suffer from bunions, hammertoes or flatfeet is to choose comfortable, supportive footwear. This often means you have to avoid cute summer sandals and flip flops (sorry!), or wear orthotics in your shoes. It might seem like we’re speaking Japanese, but pretty much all podiatric experts agree that this is the number one way to ward off pain from such foot conditions.
Alternatively, you could try exercises that help many people who suffer from hammertoe, flatfoot and hallux abducto valgus pain. Physical activities such as these help simultaneously strengthen and loosen the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the feet, which can help diminish foot pain.
You’re eager to play in the new warm weather, but unfortunately so are millions of bugs. Like weeds in a garden, you just can’t get rid of them!
How To Avoid Insect Bites
The best way to avoid itchy, painful insect bites on your feet is to either use an insect repellent or wear shoes and socks that don’t leave your foot skin bare and exposed. If you’re worried about the chemicals many insect and spider repellents contain, there are several podiatrist recommended natural products on the market you can try.
Ingrown toenails can pop up any time of the year, but they’re especially bothersome in the springtime, when the use of open-toe sandals leaves the nasty, inflamed area open for all to see. What makes the situation worse is that ingrown toenails leave your feet more vulnerable to diseases like toenail fungus (called onychomycosis in the medical world) and can even cause digit amputation if left untreated.
How To Get Rid Of An Existing Ingrown Toenail
Most ingrown toenails can be eradicated at home, as long as they’re dealt with early on, before swelling and infection sets in. Some DIY remedies include salt water foot soaks that soften the skin and draw the toenail out, making a homemade “lift” to pull the toenail out of the irritated skin tissue, and using topical medications to help reduce swelling and kill bacteria that could cause infection.
It is strongly recommended that you do not cut out ingrown toenails on your own, because improperly cutting the nail could lead to infection and chronic issues. Furthermore, do not try treating an ingrown toenail on your own if it shows signs of infection, including excess swelling, redness and pus or a watery leakage leaking from the area. These cases require professional podiatric care to avoid abscess and possible digit amputation.
How To Prevent Ingrown Toenails
The two most common causes of ingrown toenails are wearing shoes that are too tight and improperly cutting the nail in a curved shape. Therefore, the best way to avoid the painful condition is to wear comfortable, properly fitting shoes with wide toe boxes or open toes, and to properly cut your toenails in a straight across shape — never curved.