With summer quickly approaching, it is time to review some helpful and important tips to keep your feet healthy and pain free this summer. The following are some of the most commonly faced summertime foot problems.
1. Athlete’s foot: Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the feet, which is most commonly caused by the fungus tinea rubrum. This fungus can be picked up by walking barefoot in an area where many other people are barefoot, such as the side of the pool or locker room. The signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot are: itchy feet, blistering, and scaling skin, especially between the toes. The fungus will thrive in a warm, moist, environment, such as a sweaty shoe made of plastic that prevents airflow. Treatment for athlete’s foot consists of topical antifungal medications. The best way to prevent athlete’s foot is by wearing socks and shoes, especially in public areas; however, if it is a hot day and your feet are sweating causing damp socks, change your socks immediately.
2. Microscopic foreign body: Since it is so common to wear sandals and go barefoot, summer is the most likely time for you to get something stuck in your foot. Sometimes, what may get stuck in your foot may be so small, such as a small piece of glass, you are unable to see it, but can definitely feel it. If you are on vacation and not near the podiatrist, you can try to remove these small microscopic foreign bodies by soaking your foot in drawing solution or Epsom salt for 20 minutes per day. The soaking may not be effective, so you will need to seek medical attention. Never try to dig out a foreign body yourself as this may lead to infection or cause a worse injury, such as a wound. Schedule an appointment at Platte Valley Foot and Ankle Clinic for further examination; special imaging, such as x-ray or MRI may be needed.
3. Large foreign body: On the other hand, due to lack of foot protection you may drop an object on your foot or step on something that penetrates through the bottom of your foot or sole of your flimsy flip flop. In this case, this is an emergency, so seek medical attention.
4. Sunburn: The skin on the top of your feet is very thin and is prone to sunburn. If you will be out barefoot or wearing sandals, it is very important to apply sunscreen to the tops of your feet and toes. However, do not put sunscreen in between your toes, as this will create a moist environment, which is fungus’, favorite home.
5. Flip flops: These shoes are some of the most loved summertime shoes since they are stylish and can be found at very low prices. However, your feet will not love them. Flip flops provide no arch support nor support for around your ankle. Lack of support will cause the small muscles in the foot to work extra hard, which will lead to generalized foot pain. Other common problems associated with these shoes are: heel pain, arch pain, and ankle sprains due to the lack of support. Lastly, as previously mentioned, due to the lack of coverage, a foreign body may be able to find its way into your foot. So if you absolutely must wear flip flops, the best and most appropriate places are the beach and pool. Another option is to find a more supportive sandal that provides arch support, and one that completely straps to your feet and around the ankle.
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American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine