From a podiatrist’s point of view, looking after your feet shouldn’t be seasonal – your foot health should be a priority all year round. But, in reality, we all know that when your feet are snuggly hugged by the warmth and comfort of your woolly socks and slippers, they are well and truly the last thing you see, let alone think about. For this reason, feet tend to be neglected in winter, but it doesn’t mean they are trouble-free. Here’s why.
1.Discoloured nails? Winter is the best time to treat them
More often than not, when you have a discoloured nail, it’s caused by a fungal infection of the nail. Having said that, acute trauma (e.g. stubbing the toe, dropping a heavy object on the toe, wearing tight shoes) can also cause discolouration of the toenails. Fungal nail infection requires months of consistent treatment before the affected toenails improve. If you want to have healthy nails by next spring/summer, now is the time to start!
2. Corns can catch you unaware
Corns are an excessive production of dead skin caused by repetitive pressure on the skin. Corns, characterised by the presence of a core, can be painful even if they are small. They often occur on toes as they are bony and tend to rub or press against their neighbouring toe. If you have some form of toe deformities e.g. claw toe, hammer toe, you are more prone to get corns in winter as you wear closed in shoes more than you do in summer time. Making sure the toe box of your shoes is wide enough to accommodate all your toes is a good start. Avoid shoes that are too soft and flexible as instability of the feet can also cause uneven pressures at various areas of the foot.
3. Toenails gone rouge
Toenails may seem insignificant, but they are actually capable of causing significant pain, when they become ingrown! A frequently asked question is then “should I leave the toenail nail alone or cut it?” Our advice? Best to see a podiatrist for it. Ingrown toenails can occur in many different forms – some involve only the corner of the nail while some may involve the entire edge; some may be hidden under the skin while some could be easily accessed; some may not cause any inflammation of the toe while some do. Depending on the presentation of the ingrown toenail, treatment will be different. So, trying to manage it yourself could actually make it worse. It will also make it more uncomfortable for yourself when you eventually decide to see a podiatrist for it.
And, these are some of the things we commonly see in winter. Unfortunately, a lot of people often just put up with it and think it would go away. There’s got to be a better way!
Throughout winter, we are going to be here rain or shine – hibernation is not an option sadly. So, if you ever need help, let us know!