Foot problems can plague you any time of year, but summer can be especially damaging. We asked podiatrists to share their best tips for keeping healthy.
Foot pain? Create better support
Shoes that notoriously lack support around the arch, ankle, and heel (like flip-flops or some sandals) can cause many feet problems, and most foot docs recommend you limit your time wearing them. If you must, make them more comfortable and safer with arch support insoles. New York City podiatrist Johanna Youner, DPM, recommends the Superfeet brand. “They’re discreet and will fit pretty much into any shoe,” she notes. Inserts can also help prevent or alleviate knee, back, or ankle pain, all of which can develop when your body compensates for poor arch support. Another trick: Stretch your feet, ankles, calves at the end of every day to help with any discomfort. Find out if your foot problems could signal something more serious by learning about these subtle signs of disease your feet can reveal.
Blisters? Cover them properly
If, despite your best efforts, a blister erupts, please, please, please don’t pop it, pleaded every podiatrist interviewed for this story, because a popped blister is much more vulnerable to infection. What to do: Apply antibiotic cream and cover the area with a bandage; it should heal in a few days. If it’s especially bad—large, or blood filled—see a podiatrist immediately, because it could be infected.
Shoes rubbing? Buy the right bandage
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In a love-hate relationship with your new shoes? Special blister bandages may help keep the peace, and keep feet problems at bay. Dr. Youner recommends drugstore brands like Pedifix or Spenco, which are a little more expensive than regular bandages ($ 6 to $ 8 a box compared with $ 3 to $ 4). The squishy liquid-filled bandages condition the skin and create a barrier to minimize blister-causing friction. Place them on problem spots, like where sandal straps rub, to prevent sores—or cover and protect an existing blister. “They’re discreet enough to wear even with flip-flops,” says Dr. Youner. Find out some more health secrets your feet wish they could tell you.