How to keep your feet healthy this summer

Posted on July 19, 2019 by Brynna Gabrielson

Woman wearing flip flops sitting by the sea

Summer is here! The days are long and warm, the sun is high, and most of us are enjoying wearing our summer wardrobes, swapping trousers for shorts, long sleeves for short sleeves, and shoes for sandals.

While freeing our toes is one of the best benefits of the season - wearing sandals and flip flops can have a few negative effects on our feet. To keep our feet looking and feeling great this season, we've put together a few helpful tips. Read on to find out more!

Woman with drie skin on the heels of her feetKeep the cracks away

Choosing sandals in the summer months means we're exposing our feet to the elements more. This can lead to the skin on our heels drying out and becoming hard and calloused. Our heels are meant to be supple so they can move when they strike the ground, however when the skin is dried out, the pressure of each heel strike can cause cracks. Dry, cracked heels are not only unsightly, but can be painful as well.

To prevent/manage cracks: 

- Moisture is key. Make sure to apply a balm or cream to your feet regularly. If your heels are already dry and/or cracked use a specific balm for cracked heels, particularly one that contains 25% urea
- Use a file or pumice stone to exfoliate and smooth dry areas
- Wear shoes with a closed heel that provide support, which will protect your heels as well as put less pressure on the skin

Blast away those blisters

Blisters are caused by friction, and can appear no matter what type of footwear we have on. However in the summer months, when we abandon socks and well-fitting closed-toed shoes for bare feet and sandals, blisters do seem to appear a little more often.  It makes sense - the warmer it is, the sweatier our feet get and if your feet are sliding around in a pair of sandals that could definitely lead to increased friction. Feet might also swell up, which means that shoes that normally feel fine might start rubbing.

So what can you do to prevent blisters?

- If you notice there's a spot where your sandal is rubbing and the skin is starting to become sensitive, try covering the spot with a bandage or piece of blister prevention foam/tape. You can also try an anti-blister stick
- Make sure to break in whatever shoes you're wearing. Going out on a hot day in a new pair of sandals isn't going to do your feet many favours! Try walking around the house in your new sandals while wearing socks
- Opt for a well fitted pair of sandals over flip flops so your feet don't slide around. Especially if you will be walking a lot

And if you happen to get a blister:

- Don't pop your blister
- Cover it with a blister plaster
- If your blister does pop let the fluid drain and then cover with a plaster. Do not remove the top layer of skin!

Woman wearing sandals with arch supportGet a little support

During the summer months flip flops are very convenient and keep our feet nice and cool. But they are also pretty flimsy and don't offer many benefits to our feet. They lack support for our arches, and are usually made of a thin wedge of foam that doesn't do much to absorb shock as we walk. The way we grip flip flops with our toes also impacts the way we step, leading to stress on our lower bodies.

So what can you do? If you want to protect your feet whilst also enjoying the freedom of air on your toes - invest in some better sandals. Try for something with straps that hold your foot in place so you needn't cling to the toe post, and look for a moulded foot bed that provides support under your arch and cups your heel.

Another great way to keep your feet healthy this summer is to take some time to visit a podiatrist, who can provide support for a number of issues that might be afflicting your feet - from verruca's and arch pain to cracked heels and ingrown toenails. A plan from Simplyhealth can help to foot the bill. Find out more at www.simplyhealth.co.uk/health-plans

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