As temperatures rise, here’s how to help your feet beat the heat
With summer comes heat, and with heat comes a variety of foot problems. Sweaty feet and outdoor activities can lead to a number of common foot issues that cause pain and discomfort:
- Foot & Toe Fungus
Let’s take a look at summer’s most common foot issues and how to prevent and treat them. As always, if you’re experiencing foot and ankle problems, our podiatrists are here to help; book an appointment today.
Summer heat causes the small blood vessels in our feet to expand. It’s our body’s natural way of cooling itself off, but it can lead to problems. If your feet swell, your shoes fit differently—which can lead to hotspots and blisters.
Avoiding heat and elevating your feet is often the simplest way to reduce swelling. However, if your foot swelling is becoming a problem, it’s critical to see a doctor to make sure the issue is treated. Depending on your condition, your doctor may suggest medication and exercise, as well as changes to your diet.
Compression stockings can often help alleviate swelling in people with reduced circulation. In fact, competitive runners have begun using compression socks to control swelling and improve recovery. Ask your podiatrist if this might be an option for you.
Hotspots are a “hot” feeling on our feet, often noticed during an activity like walking, running, or cycling. They shouldn’t be ignored! They are the first sign that friction or pressure is injuring your feet.
Hotspots can usually be prevented by making sure your shoes fit correctly, and that you have the right insoles for arch support. Not sure how to get the right fit? Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist.
Moisture-wicking socks can also help keep your feet dry and avoid the rubbing that causes hotspots. Products like moleskin and lubricating ointment have been used by runners and hikers for years. If you can apply these products at the first sign of a hotspot, you can often prevent it from becoming a painful blister.
Blisters form when the skin on our feet is exposed to friction. In the summer months, we’re more likely to have hot, sweaty, and swollen feet, which is the perfect recipe for blisters. The best way to avoid blisters is to have properly-fitting shoes and good socks, and to treat hotspots immediately before they can become blisters.
Bunions and other foot deformities can make it impossible to find shoes that don’t rub. If your blisters are caused by an underlying issue, see a podiatrist as soon as you can! Untreated foot issues usually won’t go away without medical attention.
If you don’t take care of blisters, they can form calluses, and even lead to corns and other painful conditions. If you’re frequently buying over-the-counter treatments for blisters, you should schedule a visit to the podiatrist.
Foot & Toe Fungus
Fungus grows best in a warm, damp environment. Our feet are hot and sweaty in the summer, and we’re also more likely to walk barefoot. Since many types of foot fungus are highly contagious, this makes feet especially vulnerable to fungal infections.
Discolored, damaged toenails are a sign of toenail fungus. There are many home remedies for toenail fungus, but most don’t actually make a difference. Medical treatment is far more effective. A podiatrist can help determine the exact type of toenail fungus, which medications are appropriate, and will know if a procedure is necessary. If you think you have toenail fungus, it’s best to start treatment as soon as possible so the infection doesn’t spread to other toes.
Athlete’s foot is a common foot issue, caused by fungus, that causes itching and dryness—and you don’t have to be an athlete to get it! In fact, it’s very common with elderly patients. While there are very effective over-the-counter medicines to treat athlete’s foot, stronger treatments are available from a podiatrist.
Other fungal infections of the feet, including yeast infections, can pose a serious problem for diabetics. Poor circulation caused by diabetes often leads to foot ulcers and injuries that are slow to heal, and these sores can develop fungal infections. Foot perspiration, combined with high blood sugar, provides the ideal environment for foot fungus to grow.
If you’re diabetic, foot care is a crucial part of your treatment plan. Working with a podiatrist, you can make sure foot issues are caught before they become severe.
Happy feet can beat the heat!
Minor foot problems are common in the summertime, but you can prevent them by acting quickly. If your swelling, blisters, or fungal infection don’t improve after a week or two, make an appointment to see your podiatrist right away. They’ll help you get back on your feet—and back to your summer plans!
If you’re in the middle Tennessee area, Advanced Foot & Ankle Care Centers have a convenient podiatry clinic near you. Call or book online to make an appointment with one of our expert podiatrists.