5 Tips on Keeping Your Feet Protected this Summer

by Abbey Karlock, OMSI

Your feet are constantly exposed to the outside world and prone to injury because of this exposure. They also play an incredibly important role: helping you to walk. Because of this, it is extremely important to keep your feet healthy and working so that you can be up and walking. This is especially important in the summer with the rising temperatures.

Here are 5  tips on keeping your feet protected this summer:

1.  Skip the Flip-Flops: Sandals and flip-flops that are often worn in the summer tend to be weak, loose-fitting, and offer no support.
They also often have soles with little traction that can easily lead to slipping and falling. To prevent these falls as well as offer foot,
ankle, and knee support, choose shoes that are sturdy and have good arch support such as sneakers or tennis shoes.

2.  Lather Up with Sunscreen: When applying sunscreen, the bottom of the foot is not an area that most people would think about. Skin
cancer can still occur on the foot, particularly the bottom. One type of skin cancer: cutaneous malignant melanoma accounts for 78% of
skin cancer deaths, and one specific type, acral lentiginous melanoma, occurs specifically on nail beds, palms, and soles of the feet. The
prognosis of melanoma of the feet tends to be poor because it is often an overlooked area. Be sure to get these less obvious areas and
protect all of your skin from the sun.

3.  Air Out Your Shoes: Hotter temperatures will naturally lead to more moisture both on your feet and in your shoes, and this is an ideal
place for bacteria and fungus to grow. After walking or working out, be sure to leave your shoes in a cool, dry area that will allow them to
air out as well as washing your socks every time after use. Make sure to wash your feet thoroughly and dry them completely before
putting shoes on again.

4.  Never Go Barefoot: Surfaces like sidewalks or parking lots can get up to very high temperatures after a day in the sun, temperatures that
are high enough to burn the bottoms of your feet. A burn to the sole could result in the need for painful surgery and skin treatments, all
of which would result in having to be off your feet for extended periods of time. Ensure you always wear shoes wherever you go and
never walk barefoot outside.

5.  Watch Where You’re Going: This is advice that is good all year round, but it is especially important to watch where you are stepping in
the warmer months when many people do not wear very thick shoes. Puncture wounds from nails or glass on the ground can be
potentially devastating, with 10% leading to serious complications in the future. There are also many more insects out during the
summer that can sting or bite your exposed feet. Be sure to always be vigilant about your surroundings and walk carefully to avoid these
kinds of wounds.

Taking care of your feet is crucial to everyday life, and in the summer months it becomes even more important. Following these tips as well as regular check-ups with your foot care provider will allow for a healthy and safe summer for you and your feet!

References:

Asquith, C., Kimble, R., & Stockton, K. (2015). Too hot to trot (barefoot)… A study of burns in        children caused by sun heated surfaces in Queensland, Australia. Burns, 41(1), 177-180.             doi:10.1016/j.burns.2014.06.011

Belanger, D. (2000). Athlete’s foot [Ask your pharmacist]. Canadian Pharmaceutical Journal,       133(9).

Bradford PT, Goldstein AM, McMaster ML, Tucker MA. Acral Lentiginous Melanoma: Incidence and Survival Patterns in the United States, 1986-2005. Arch Dermatol. 2009;145(4):427–          434. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2008.609

Dr. Bob Baravarian, D. (2019, June 24). Protecting Your Feet in the Summer: Advanced Foot and             Ankle Care. Retrieved July 09, 2020, from   https://www.footankleinstitute.com/blog/summer-foot-care-tips/ 

Gray, R. J., Pockaj, B. A., Vega, M. L., Connolly, S. M., DiCaudo, D. J., Kile, T. A., & Buchel, E. W. (2006). Diagnosis and Treatment of Malignant Melanoma of the Foot. Foot & Ankle         International, 27(9), 696–705.

Joseph WS, LeFrock JL. Infections complicating puncture wounds of the foot. The Journal of         Foot Surgery. 1987 Jan-Feb;26(1 Suppl):S30-3.

 

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