Winter weather can be hard on our feet, particularly in areas where the season is cold and wet or just extremely cold. While frostbite of the feet is not as common of a problem thanks to new materials in both winter footwear and socks, it is still an issue to be aware of in areas where temperatures are at or below zero and when you are outdoors for extended periods of time.
General Winter Foot Care Winter in most areas is a very dry time of year that can be made worse by the heating systems that are on in our households. Keeping feet moist and removing dead skin is essential for overall foot health.
Consider having a good soak in a warm tub or in a foot spa bucket at least once a week. Gently exfoliate the skin on the bottom of your feet as well as your toes and heels using an exfoliating soap or a loofah sponge. After rinsing your feet apply a good quality foot lotion and put on a warm pair of cotton socks to allow the moisturizer to be absorbed into the skin. Examining your feet is particularly important to those with diabetes – diabetic foot treatment entails checking for cracks & ulcers, which can be aggravated by the dry air & abrasive soats during winter.
There are several organic and natural lotions that have essential oils such as peppermint, lavender, tea tree oil or olive oil that can help to soothe, refresh and moisturize your feet.
Keeping Out the Cold Keeping your feet warm and dry is critical to avoid cold feet or, in worst case scenario, developing frostbite. While it may seem obvious the most important preventative measure to take is to wear proper winter footwear outside at all times. This means both warm footwear as well as moisture proof boots that will keep the feet dry. Never get into a vehicle or go for walk in dress shoes, sneakers or other types of shoes or boots in the winter that are not warm, waterproof and have the right traction for safe winter walking.
Choose moisture wicking materials for your socks and, if you are out in very cold climates, use these as your inner layer of socks followed by warm wool or wool and cotton blend socks. You may also want to choose boots with removable liners that can be dried between uses.
For temperatures below freezing and when you are outside for extended periods of time consider bringing along a few of the disposable or reusable foot warmer packs. These should also be in your vehicle winter safety kit along with extra socks and blankets just in case you need them.