This year has been problematic enough, you don't need to add a foot or leg problem to the mix. The heat and humidity of an Australian summer makes it a prime time for issues to arise, so our newest podiatrist Lucy has put together seven helpful tips to keep your feet healthy and problem free throughout summer.
1. Wear footwear in all public spaces, especially pool areas and communal showers
The surfaces in these places are a breeding ground for bacteria, germs and contagious viruses. By wearing footwear, you are protecting your feet against everyone else's germs that may be looking for a new host to infect.
Doing this will help to avoid common conditions like:
2. Wear shoes when walking to and from the beach, and on sand to avoid skin burns
The Australian sun is very hot and heat is retained in the surface of the ground and sand, so wearing something covering the sole of your foot will help prevent those hot feet burns. Plus, if you have kids, you won't have to carry them.
3. Run along the footpaths, not the sand
Baywatch has put unrealistic expectations in our minds, because it looks fantastic to run along the beach barefoot. It’s actually not a great idea. The beach is on an angle so you tend to load up one leg and ankle more than the other, predisposing you to injury.
Additionally, if you have spent your whole life running in appropriate exercise shoes, and then you attempt to run barefoot, your body won't be able to cope with the load you have placed it under. It’s like going to the gym for a hard weights and cardio session when you haven't been in 5-20 years… There’s a very high risk of injury.
Instead of walking or running on sand, run along the footpath of the beach with your runners on. You still get the view, but without the issues.
4. Avoid being barefoot or wearing thongs (flip flops) with no arch support
Your feet have been in supportive comfortable shoes all winter, so please be kind to them! Suddenly changing from supportive winter footwear, to thongs and/or barefoot, can give your feet a shock! Again predisposing you to common injuries such as:
Here are some footwear brands podiatrist’s recommend that offer supportive summer sandals and/or thongs:
5. Apply cream to your heels daily, summer is cracked heel season!
With the hot weather comes open heeled shoes, which can lead to heel cracks that may become painful and if severe enough, bleed. If these heel cracks do start to bleed, they can be susceptible to those bacterial and fungal infections we mentioned above — this is not what you want to be dealing with this summer.
6. Ensure you apply Sunscreen to your feet
Unfortunately skin cancers are very common in Australia due to the harsh UV’s. The tops of your feet are a very common place to get burnt as we often forget to put sunscreen on them, or we sit in the shade with our feet and legs in the sun.
It is not uncommon for those nasty skin cancers to appear on your feet and lower legs. Not to mention that it’s incredibly painful to get burnt on the top of your feet, and the thought of wearing shoes will be nightmarish for the days following.
7. Try and maintain your normal exercise/activity regime
We, as much as anyone else, are a sucker for relaxing a little too much over the Christmas period. However, as soon as you return from holidays and return to your daily exercise program, you may end up experiencing a few niggles and injuries.
Your body can start to lose strength and fitness within 3-5 days and your muscles can be deconditioned, so expecting to do the same level of exercise when you return can be optimistic. We recommend trying to do a little bit of exercise each day — even a 30 minute walk is enough (minimum). This should help make your transition back into your everyday norm post holiday, a bit less painful.