A Step Ahead: Thank You Feet!
By Ralph Napolitano, Jr., DPM, CWSP, FACFAS
Time to ring in the holiday season! Are you busy? I’m sure. Being mobile is part of the game. So let’s give thanks to our feet for all their hard work they’ve done for you this year and let’s talk about a couple things to keep them healthy during this busy time. I’ll begin with a short anatomy lesson about the largest organ in our body: our skin. You may not think of your skin as an organ. By definition, it is because it’s a body part made up of an organized group of cells working together to do a job for your body. Our skin does a lot for us. It acts as barrier, protecting the body from harmful things in the outside world such as moisture, the cold and sun rays, as well as microorganisms and toxic substances. Skin also plays an important role in regulating body temperature. The skin on the soles of your feet is the thickest in order to provide the necessary protection when we walk both with shoes and without. Keeping our skin hydrated this time of the year is important. Heat sources in buildings tend to dry out our skin. Make sure to use good quality moisturizers as needed. Dry skin is prone to cracking and bleeding and can result in infections. Having well hydrated, healthy skin on your feet is especially important for diabetics and patients with poor circulation.
Cold weather footwear is mandatory and needs to include the right socks. Socks with an acrylic or merino wool blend breath and wick moisture are better than cotton only. Leather upper shoes and boots are a must for the same reason. If you’ve followed my blogs you may have heard me talk not only about “foot health” but also “shoe health.” Taking care of your shoes so they can take care of your feet will pay dividends. Consider some form of shoe sanitizing process periodically. Sprays are the most common but UV light shoe sanitizers are also available. Worn soles on shoes and boots are downright dangerous in the snow and ice and need replaced or the shoes tossed.
Is that snow?
Dr. Napolitano is a double board-certified podiatrist and wound care specialist physician. (CWSP). He specializes in medicine, surgery and wound care of the foot, ankle and lower leg. He was the first podiatrist in the state of Ohio to earn the board certification Certified Wound Specialist Physician (CWSP).
“I strive to educate my patients thoroughly about their problem and offer a comprehensive and holistic treatment plan both medical and surgical. I believe healthy feet are the foundation for healthy living and will do my very best at all times to keep you active and moving along life’s journey—whatever your interests and wherever your feet may take you.”