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Foot Care Tips for the Winter

In Cypress, Texas, and Harris County, our average wintertime low of about 44 degrees doesn’t raise your risk for frostbitten toes. However, winter’s cooler weather outside and dry central heating inside do present extra challenges for keeping your feet strong and healthy.

Podiatrist Michael J. Frazier, founder of The Frazier Foot and Ankle Center in Cypress, knows that once you cover your feet with boots and shoes, you might not think too much about how they look (or feel). Here he provides a few tips on how to make sure your feet stay safe during our short winters. 

Keep toes toasty (and dry)

When it’s nasty outside, be sure you have the right protective footwear. Wear waterproof boots on rainy days so that your feet aren’t wrapped in damp socks or stockings all day. Make sure the soles have enough traction so you won’t slip on a wet sidewalk.

Speaking of socks, be sure to wear socks with your footwear whenever possible. Socks minimize the amount of friction that footwear exerts on your toes, which reduces your risk for calluses and dry, cracked soles. Choose natural fabrics, especially those that wick moisture, such as cotton, wool, silk, or bamboo.

If your tootsies do get chilled, you might develop a condition called Raynaud’s phenomenon, where your toes go into spasms, become numb, or change color. Call Dr. Frazier right away if you notice a difference of appearance or sensation in your toes or feet, especially if you have diabetes. 

Moisturize

Central heating indoors dries your skin, including skin on your feet and toes. After you take a shower or bath, moisturize your feet with an alcohol-free lotion or cream. 

Moisturizing also gives you a chance to view and massage your feet. Massage helps increase circulation to your toes and feet. Moisturizing regularly and keeping your toenails cut short and straight across reduces your risk for ingrown toenails. 

Take a gander

You may be self-conscious about your feet during spring and summer, when you’re showing them off in sandals. But during the winter, even people who regularly indulge in pedicures sometimes take a break from getting their feet “done” — either professionally or at home.

Even though the public isn’t looking at your toes right now, it’s important that you do. Be sure to trim overly long toenails, moisturize and massage your feet, and inspect your toes and feet for anomalies.

People with diabetes should pay special attention to how their feet look and feel (or don’t feel). A common complication of diabetes is called peripheral artery disease (PAD), which affects how well you can feel sensation, including pain, in your toes and feet. 

Even if your feet feel fine, look for signs of damage, including:

Contact Dr. Frazier if you notice any troubling changes in your feet, or notice that you’ve lost sensation in your toes or feet.

Don’t stop exercising

On cloudy, gray, and chilly days, you may be tempted to forego your daily walk, run, or cycling adventure. But your body needs exercise year-round. 

Stretch and flex your feet daily as part of your warm-up routine. Stand up every 30 minutes after sitting, and be sure to find some exercises you can do indoors when the weather’s too uncomfortable or dangerous to … well, weather. 

Here are some ideas:

If you haven’t exercised in a while, be sure to check with your primary care physician before starting a new fitness regimen.

Give your toes some space

No matter what type of footwear you favor during the chillier months, be sure it’s foot-healthy. To avoid aggravating bunions you may already have or developing corns, calluses, and other problems, choose footwear that has:

If you have foot pain, Dr. Frazier may recommend custom-designed orthotics to properly support and align your foot.

Whatever the weather, if you have foot pain, numbness, or changes in your skin, phone our office at 281-607-1863 or use our online appointment form.

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