Winter is upon us and that means colder temperatures, wet weather, snow, and ice. Frigid temperatures can be hard on your feet. While we bundle up against the elements, we must not forget to protect our feet too. Cold weather can exacerbate painful foot conditions and also increase our risk of other foot problems developing. Today Dr. Chow is sharing a few of the most common foot conditions to look out for this Winter season and what to do about them.
Dry Cracked Heels
Cold weather dries out your skin which makes them more susceptible to cracked heels. Cracked heels are not only unappealing but can cause discomfort when walking. Other factors such as age, skin oil production, and health conditions such as diabetes or circulation issues also contribute to developing cracked heels.
To help ease and heal the cracked heels, apply a gentle and fragrance-free moisturizer to the affected area at least twice a day. You can help alleviate the dryness by avoiding long hot baths or showers and moisturize your feet within 5 minutes of bathing. Protect your heels by wearing cotton socks and the proper shoes. Skip the open-heeled shoes, such as flip flops or slingbacks, or shoes that don’t fit properly.
Plantar Fasciitis Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis occurs when there’s inflammation of the connective tissue between the heel and the toes. Many people suffering from plantar fasciitis find that their condition worsens in the winter. The low temperatures cause your joint tissue to contract and become tighter and pull on never endings.
A few ways to remedy the heel pain include wearing proper footwear with arch support, heel stretching exercises, and pain relievers. However, if the heel pain persists despite trying various home-based interventions, it’s time to seek medical care. At Total Foot & Ankle Care NYC, we offer several treatments to leave the heel pain behind. One of our most popular and effective treatments is Shockwave therapy. The Shockwave treatment delivers sound waves to the injured area. These high-speed, high-pressure sound waves accelerate the body's healing process by stimulating the growth of new tissue cells. To learn more about Shockwave therapy, please visit here.
There’s a common misconception that Athlete’s foot tends to develop in the summer months, however, it’s actually quite common in the winter. To keep our bodies warm, we bundle up with winter coats, scarves, thick socks and, winter boots. Fungal infections thrive in moisture and damp environment and unfortunately, thicker socks and enclosed boots often don’t allow for much ventilation. To treat Athlete’s foot, start by keeping the feet as dry as possible and try over-the-counter antifungal creams and ointments. If the Athlete’s foot doesn’t improve within 1 to 2 weeks, we recommend scheduling a consultation with Dr. Chow at Total Foot & Ankle Care.
If you notice yellow or discolored and thickened toenails, you may be suffering from a condition called onychomycosis or fungal nails. Fungal nails spread through spores that end up on the nail plate or nail bed and become settled. There are several treatment options available such as over-the-counter antifungal creams or prescription antifungal pills. If the condition doesn’t improve, it may be time to visit one of our three offices for a consultation.
Winter weather is harsh enough, you don’t need to suffer in pain. If you’re experiencing any of these foot conditions, schedule a consultation today with Dr. Chow at Total Foot & Ankle Care.