With the colder weather already upon us, it’s time to start preparing our feet for the winter months ahead. While staying warm and comfortable is important, reducing the risk of slips and falls in the icy conditions is critical to keeping active and healthy throughout the year.
Here are some helpful foot care tips for staying on your feet this winter.
Keep Your Feet Warm
Keeping warm is the first step to having comfortable feet throughout winter, which will help keep you active and able to continue with your daily activities. To keep your feet warm:
- Wear woollen socks: Wool is a great insulator and can absorb much more moisture than cotton, meaning they keep your feet feeling dry and therefore warm for much longer. Wool also has anti-bacterial properties, so sweaty feet don’t necessarily mean smelly socks. Good Housekeeping has researched the best winter socks, with merino wool items ranking highly for outdoor wear.
- Put your feet up: Not only will keeping your feet elevated help your circulation, as advised by Age UK, it’s a great way to keep them warm too. Warm air rises so the floor is likely to be the coldest part of a room. Therefore keeping feet elevated while resting will improve your comfort.
- Use a heat pack: Products like foot warmer pads, hot water bottles, wheat bags or electric blankets on the bed will help keep your feet warm. Direct contact between the heat source and your skin is usually discouraged, so keeping your socks on will help warm your extremities without the risk of burns.
Boost Your Circulation
We’ve all experienced the painful iciness of numb toes in severe cold weather. But if you suffer from poor circulation, the numbness and ‘pins and needles’ feeling can be a more serious threat. There are a range of things our podiatrists recommend to boost your circulation, which in turn will help keep your feet healthier. Gentle exercise to boost blood flow, a warm footbath, and eating foods rich in Omega 3 are a great start.
Boosting the blood flow to your feet and toes will not only help keep you feeling more comfortable, but will also improve your balance and ability to move freely, which is even more important in slippery conditions.
Wear the Right Footwear
If venturing out in cold conditions like snow or ice, make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear to prevent injury. Slips and falls, especially in the elderly, can lead to broken bones and sprains, dramatically impacting your ongoing quality of life.
The College of Podiatry recommends wearing shoes that have arch support and a non-slip, grippy sole, so even on slippery surfaces your feet are supported and can help you to gain some stability. It is also important to wear waterproof footwear which will help keep your feet dry, to avoid developing painful conditions like chilblains.