Winter is well and truly upon us and as good as the ski slopes look, it can be a tricky time for our feet! Cooler temperatures both out and about and within the home can have an effect on our circulation and consequently, we are left with the discomfort of cold (sometimes freezing) feet and toes!
Conditions such as chilblains, reduced circulation and arthritis are particularly affected by cold weather and ongoing management of your feet temperature is key to your comfort.
In order to assist with some of this discomfort and get your feet back to their normal selves, here are my 5 tips to help you maintain warmer feet and avoid frostbite!
1. ENSURE YOU WEAR APPROPRIATE SOCKS
It seems so simple, however many of us are in the wrong socks during these winter months. Cotton socks (which are great in summer time) are unfortunately not helpful for retaining heat, resulting in icy toes. Synthetic fibres such as those used in stocking socks also provide no insulation for your skin leaving them feeling bare and cold.
I recommend you purchase socks that contain a high percentage of wool which assists in heat retention. Specifically, merino wool socks are fantastic.
When selecting socks, ensure they are the appropriate thickness. Socks that are too thick may restrict blood flow when in enclosed footwear and make the problem worse. Merino wool socks can be purchased in different thicknesses enabling you to wear them under winter boots and work footwear.
Below are three retailers that stock such socks:
2. WEAR WARM ENCLOSED FOOTWEAR
Now that you are in the right socks, let's look at your shoes. Shoes that are highly ventilated allow a continuous flow of cool air into them. Therefore, shoes made out of materials such as leather are preferable on cooler days. Winter boots may also be helpful for some people as they also cover your ankles and will often accommodate woolly socks.
During activities such as walking or running, you may opt for running or walking shoes that contain GORE-TEX technology. GORE-TEX is a material that is breathable and waterproof. Many trail running shoes now incorporate this technology as well as quality walking and hiking shoes that display the logo.
For our commuter cyclists, make sure you invest in a pair of booties for your cycling shoes to break the icy wind chill!
3. ADD SHOE LINERS TO YOUR FOOTWEAR
If wearing shoes with thin soles and some extra room to move, shoe liners can be used to increase the distance between your feet and the ground. Sheepskin liners are a good option and can be purchased from most large pharmacies.
4. INVEST IN A GOOD QUALITY PAIR OF SLIPPERS
Whilst at home ensure you're not walking about barefooted or with just socks on.
Slippers such as UGG Australia boots with sheepskin liners are great for heat retention and comfort. They are more breathable than synthetic alternatives and can last years.
Cheaper synthetic alternatives can still serve a purpose. However, they’ll generally only last you one winter and you’ll need to wear socks to prevent sweating and fungal/bacterial growth.
5. TREAT YOUR FEET TO REGULAR PARAFFIN WAX BATHS
Paraffin wax is able to absorb and retain a significant amount of heat. It melts at a low temperature which enables it to be applied to the skin without causing a burn. When applied to the skin liquid paraffin wax solidifies and gradually transfers a significant but comfortable amount of heat through the superficial layers to the deep layers of your feet.
Paraffin wax baths are offered at Fairfield Podiatry throughout the cooler months of the year. They can be very useful for those suffering from cold feet and poor heat retention. Those suffering from chilblains, circulation problems and arthritis are recommended to try a paraffin wax bath.
Please feel free to contact us for more information about this service. We are happy to offer our clients a half price trial session to see if this therapy is beneficial for you.
I hope these tips help to keep your feet toasty over the next few months. For individual advice regarding your feet, feel free to contact us or book an appointment online.
Author: Caitlen Martin