This post is all about winter foot care. But, just because we have named it “winter foot care”, looking after your feet shouldn’t be seasonal. Your foot health should be a priority all year round. More often than not, we tend to neglect our feet more so in winter than any other times primarily because we don’t see them as much. So, why is winter foot care important? Let’s have a look!
1. Winter is the best time to treat discoloured toenails
The two common causes of nail discolouration are fungal toenail infection and acute trauma. Fungal toenail infection generally starts off with an opaque yellow discolouration in one part of the nail. As the infection progresses, the area of discolouration becomes bigger, the nail becomes thick, and brittle, powdery debris starts to build up underneath the nail.
Acute trauma, on the other hand, usually involves bruising of the nail. From stubbing your toe at the door to dropping a heavy saucepan on your toe, acute trauma will make your toenail look less than its best. In some cases, the nail may fall off. The good news is, a new nail usually will grow out without causing much trouble.
When it comes to winter foot care, make sure you practise great foot hygiene. This includes wearing socks in furry boots (or any footwear for that matter) AND changing your socks daily. Wearing some form of footwear is also a great way to prevent acute trauma to your toenails.
While fungal toenail infection can be treated, the process is lengthy, especially with more severe infections. Conservatively speaking, a mild fungal infection can take at least 3 months to treat, given that you follow the treatment plan diligently.
So, if you suspect you may have a fungal nail infection, you are much better off treating it at the start of winter to give your toenails ample time to recover for the next sandal season!
2. Winter shoes are more likely to give your toes a hard time
We see corns (hard lumps of dead skin on your toes or under your feet, not 🌽) a lot more frequently in winter than any other times. That is because shoes that we wear in winter are more likely to press our toes against each other and cause rubbing here and there. Repetitive pressure on our skin will stimulate skin production. As the excess skin builds up, it forms into a lump that we call corn.
Corns may look small and insignificant. They are capable of causing a lot of pain. Sometimes corns can be quite deep in the skin as well. Since our toes don’t have a lot of flesh to start with, they are more prone to developing a corn than their less bony counterparts.
A a result, your winter foot care should involve wearing well-fitted footwear. Make sure the toe box of your shoes is roomy enough to accommodate all your toes. Avoid soft and flexible shoes as instability of the feet can also lead to high pressure areas that later develop into corns.
3. Winter can see your toenails gone rouge
By going rouge, we are referring to toenails that become ingrown specifically. Ingrown toenail is literally a pain in the toe. Who would have thought toenails could make such a fuss too?
A common question that we get is “should I leave the toenail nail alone or cut it?” Our advice? It is best to see a podiatrist. 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.
Therefore, your winter foot care should make sure your toenails are trimmed properly with corners rounded off. If your toenails are particularly challenging to manage, talk to your podiatrist!
Make foot care your priority – winter or not
As you can see, many things can go wrong with your feet in winter. That is why winter foot care should be an integral part of your every day life. However, like we mentioned right at the start of this blog post, looking after your feet should be a habit so engrained in you that it will stay the same despite the seasons changing.
So, let’s all look after our feet this winter and put our best foot forward!
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Till next time!