Take steps to protect your feet this winter

Take steps to protect your feet this winter

Getting around in winter works best if you take good care of the feet that get you places.

Orthopedic specialists at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City say they often see an increase in preventable foot injuries and foot problems during the winter.

They offered some tips to prepare your feet for winter.

First, make sure your winter shoes and boots fit properly.

“Our feet change as we age, and shoes that fit us well last year may now be too tight,” said Dr. Mark Drakos, an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon at HSS Long Island and Major Manhattan Hospital. “Squeezing your feet in shoes that are too tight can lead to foot pain, blisters, bruises, and other problems.”

Drakos recommends buying new shoes and boots in the late afternoon or evening because feet get bigger throughout the day. Bring along the socks you plan to wear in cold weather. Thicker socks require more space.

Don’t forget good traction, which can help you stay on your feet on snowy or icy terrain.

“It may seem like common sense, but the first winter storm of the season often catches people off guard, and we tend to see more injuries,” said Dr. Andrew Elliott, an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon at HSS in Manhattan and Paramus. New Jersey

Elliott recommends keeping a spare pair of winter shoes at work in case of unexpected snowfall. Anti-slip shoe tires can also provide traction on slippery surfaces. They are easy to find online.

Foot care is also important, the experts noted in an HSS news release.

Moisturize your feet daily if you are prone to dry, cracked heels or similar problems.

Avoid fungus and infections such as athlete’s foot by keeping your feet dry. Moisture-wicking acrylic-blend socks can help with that.

Change socks after exercising, participating in winter activities, or at the end of the day. Dry wet shoes and socks overnight, Elliott said.

Exposure to cold air can cause the body to decrease blood flow to the extremities. To avoid frostbite, be sure to wear insulated, waterproof shoes and warm socks if you’re outside in the cold, the doctors recommended.

If you start to experience numbness or pain, move to a warmer environment as soon as possible. People with diabetes are at particular risk because nerve damage known as neuropathy can prevent them from feeling the cold, Elliott said.

Before you hit the slopes, do some strength training and conditioning to prepare your body, said Dr. James Wyss, a physiatrist at HSS Long Island who treats patients with sports injuries and other painful conditions.

“Everyone should also take time to warm up before an athletic activity,” he said. “This is essential to prevent injury.”

Wyss suggests a 10-minute warmup that targets the muscles that will be used that day. Someone hiking or snowshoeing might be able to walk briskly on a level surface or up a couple of flights of stairs.

Wearing shoes with good traction is important if you run year-round, added Dr. Tony Wanich, an orthopedic surgeon at the HSS Institute of Sports Medicine in Manhattan. A specialized shoe store can help you make the right decision.

“Like the way we changed our tires to deal with winter weather, we recommend runners wear seasonally appropriate footwear,” Wanich said.

He also recommends wearing insulated socks in very Cold weather to avoid slight freezing. Awareness of dropping temperatures is critical to staying safe.

Stop if you experience pain during an activity and take a break, the doctors advised. See a doctor sooner rather than later if you have foot pain that isn’t getting better.

More information:
The US National Library of Medicine has more about foot injuries and disorders.

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Citation: Take Steps to Protect Your Feet This Winter (December 27, 2022) Retrieved December 27, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-feet-winter.html

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