Winter Is Tough on Feet

Doctors offer advice on how to protect against injury, discomfort

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MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Winter can be a tough season for feet, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association.

"Foot ailments caused by snowy and icy conditions, as well as those caused by wearing improper footwear, are just several of the common winter injuries podiatric physicians commonly see and treat during the winter months," association president Dr. Ross Taubman said in a group news release.

The association offered tips to help keep feet safe and comfortable during winter:

  • A long day of shopping can cause foot problems such as blisters and sore arches. You can ease stiffness and pain by stretching and massaging feet to release tension, increase circulation and rejuvenate skin. To reduce swelling in the legs and feet after a long day of walking, elevate your legs above heart level while lying down.
  • Dry winter air can cause dry, cracked skin. Properly moisturizing feet with lotion will help repair dry feet and promote softer, smoother skin.
  • Selecting good footwear for the weather conditions can help prevent foot and ankle sprains, breaks, blisters and other problems. When going to holiday parties, women should wear sensible winter shoes to and from the events and wear dress shoes only while inside. If you're wearing high heels, limit heel height to two inches or less.
  • Winter boots should always have good tread, which will help reduce the risk of slipping. Boots made with leather or natural fibers will help absorb moisture and keep feet dry and odor-free.
  • People with diabetes or other conditions that cause decreased blood circulation should take extra care to keep their feet well-insulated to avoid frostbite. This includes wearing socks made with a poly-cotton blend, even when indoors.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about foot care.

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