Top 5 Ways to Keep Your Feet Healthy in Summer

Now that summer is here, the warm weather and long days have people all across the country shedding layers and getting out into nature. This is the time of year when swimming, hiking, beach volleyball and games in the park are the most important things on the agenda. The long summer makes the dreary winter worth it, while even those in the more temperate parts of the country feel a little tingle of joy when the calendar turns to June. But with that freedom and fun in the sun comes the danger of collateral damage to your feet. These oft ignored parts of the body are actually crucial to your summertime enjoyment. You don’t usually think about your feet until something goes wrong. But preventative care is the name of the game. So here are the top five ways to keep your feet healthy in summer.

Most people like to spend their summer days in sandals, flip flops or simply barefoot. But remember that your feet are ill prepared for this treatment after being tightly bound in shoes and sneakers for the rest of the year. You’re going to want to take your time moving into less and less supportive footwear, allowing your feet to get used to it. This isn’t just for your arches, but for your ankles and toes as well. Your bare feet will strengthen as you get deeper into the summer, but by taking your time with the process you’ll avoid injuries.

You’ll also want to keep an eye out for dangers at the beach or around the pool. Most people will choose to go barefoot in these situations, but you might want to temper that enthusiasm depending on where you are. If you’re lounging at a busy pool club you might want to keep your flip flops on when you’re not in the water. The wet concrete may well be awash with viruses and bacteria, and even a small cut or scratch can lead to a major infection, plantar warts or athletes foot. The beach isn’t quite as covered in germs, but be aware of rocks and shells that can puncture your foot. If you can’t access medical attention quickly after these issues, you could face serious complications.

If your feet do hurt in some way, take a moment to stop and inspect them. You simply cannot ignore soreness in your feet or ankles, as it will usually just get worse. Check for cracks in the skin between each of your toes, and look for ingrown toenails that are developing infections. Consider rest and ice if you have a bruise or a sprain, and treat dry, cracking skin with moisturizer. You’ll always be happy you took the time out to care for your feet.

When laying on the beach or by the pool to catch some rays, don’t forget about protecting your feet. The skin on the top of your feet is very delicate, and often doesn’t see the light of day for months at a time. You’ve got to use sunscreen or you could get a vicious sunburn. And if you’re laying on your back, you’ll need sunscreen on the bottom of your feet as well. There are few things quite as painful as trying to walk on sunburned heels.

Finally, match your activities with the proper footwear. People tend to go where the day takes them during the summer, and that carefree attitude is part of what this season is all about. But unless you want to end up in the podiatrist’s office going through hammertoe treatment, think about your feet before you engage in any activity without proper footwear. Don’t go rock climbing in flat sandals without support, and don’t wear running shoes when playing tennis. It sounds silly, but if you’re caught up in the moment you might not think about it. Enjoy your summer, but make sure your feet enjoy it too!