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In the below article, we highlight foot problems occurring during winter. We also highlight a few vital tips to keep your feet happy and healthy.
Winter can be treacherous for the feet leading to unpleasant and discomforting injuries. Stress fractures are another type of injury that tends to occur more frequently during colder months. Reduced sunlight exposure in winter leads to decreased vitamin D levels in the body causing bone density to decrease. One will have fragile bones and is susceptible to fractures or breaks. Even the cold weather and adverse conditions can exacerbate existing issues and lead to new ones. Another issue that often arises during winter is an increase in foot pain caused by conditions such as plantar fasciitis or arthritis. The colder temperatures can cause the tissues in your feet to contract, resulting in inflammation and discomfort by putting additional strain on already sensitive areas of the foot.
Follow these foolproof tips:
Investing in properly fitting footwear with good support will help cushion your feet and provide stability when navigating icy terrain. Finally, incorporating stretching exercises into your daily routine can help improve flexibility and reduce the risk of developing painful conditions like plantar fasciitis.
Do stretching and exercises as per the advice of the doctor. Strength training, warming up before the exercise, and cooling down after the exercise are important. Try to improve your balance to reduce the chances of falls (this is especially important for those with arthritis).
Avoiding prolonged exposure times during extreme cold weather reduces the risk of injuries.
Insulate with warm socks:
Start by wearing thick, insulated socks made of materials like wool or a blend of synthetic fibers. These materials provide better insulation, keeping your feet warm and protected from the cold.
Choose waterproof footwear:
Invest in waterproof or water-resistant boots to shield your feet from snow, slush, and cold dampness. Ensure the boots are insulated to retain warmth and have a non-slip sole for traction on slippery surfaces.
Layer with moisture-wicking liners:
Use moisture-wicking sock liners to keep your feet dry. Moisture-wicking materials draw sweat away from your skin, preventing moisture buildup that can lead to cold feet. This additional layer helps maintain warmth.
Apply protective balms:
Prior to heading out, apply a protective balm or cream to your feet. Look for products containing ingredients like beeswax or lanolin that create a barrier against cold and wind, helping to retain natural moisture.
Regulate temperature with insoles:
Consider using thermal insoles to add an extra layer of insulation inside your boots. These insoles trap heat and provide additional cushioning, enhancing both warmth and comfort during winter activities.
The take-home message: Being mindful of foot problems during winter is essential for maintaining optimal foot health. By taking proactive measures such as keeping your feet hydrated, wearing appropriate footwear, and engaging in regular stretching exercises, you can minimize discomfort.
(Dr Pramod Bhor, Director of Orthopedics and Robotic Joint Replacement Surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Vashi)