by Ralph J. Napolitano, Jr., DPM, CWSP, FACFAS

Holiday season is here! Are you ready? Neither am I. So let’s put on our running shoes, boots or whatever you need to get moving as we navigate the holiday mayhem, feet first. This time of the year is full throttle with shopping, parties, travel plans and everything else that’s packaged along with the holiday magic. Yes, you will have sore feet. With Thanksgiving behind us, did you thank your feet for all that they do? Probably not so let’s right that wrong and take some steps to show some appreciation to this marvel of anatomy that keeps us moving.

Ladies, you first. Professional Pedicures are a good thing and indeed doctor approved. If you haven’t spoiled your feet with one lately, please consider. Pedicure pampering need not be reserved for sandal season only. As we run our heat this time of the year, dry skin is certainly a reality. Exfoliation coupled with emollients is the answer. Regarding toenail polish, it’s absolutely essential to keep your nails au natural every now and then to avoid discoloration or set the stage for nail fungus. With your toes out of sight from the general public in the winter, now is the time to occasionally skip the nail polish. Keep this caveat in mind when going for a pedicure: Have some pedicure awareness about cleanliness when selecting your spa. If you need to raise an eyebrow about cleanliness, run for the door pronto. Regarding the whirlpool foot bath that’s part of the ritual, you do incur some risk for contracting a skin or nail fungus infection, but by and large this risk is very low. Another good tip is to bring your own nail polish. And if you’re diabetic or have peripheral vascular disease, professional medical foot care is the safest option. Medicare and commercial insurance plans almost always cover routine foot care. I like to call this a “medicure” and we certainly provide this service at OrthoNeuro.
Your turn gentlemen. Are you ready to shovel that driveway? Throw on that trusty pair of boots you’ve had forever and have at it. Not so fast! Not only do we talk about foot health at OrthoNeuro, but “shoe health” too. What’s the one item of clothing we do not traditionally launder? Shoes, hands down. The damp, dark environment of shoes can play host to inhospitable bacteria and fungi that can infect your feet. Some kind of routine shoe disinfection protocol is a must. Simple go-to spray disinfectants are a starting point. Newer options include sprays with silver and even an ultraviolet light shoe sanitizer. Feet sweat year round in any shoe so keep that in mind. It’s important to have socks on that wick perspiration away from your skin to avoid cold exposure injuries. Blends that are comprised of acrylics together with cotton are superior to cotton only socks. Merino wool is a cold weather star when it comes to socks and other clothes in light of its insulation and breathability properties. When shopping for winter footwear, look for breathable, insulating materials and give non-breathable materials the boot.

Wishing all of you a wonderful Holiday Season and healthy New Year, whatever your resolutions are and wherever your feet may take you in 2018!

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.”

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