The best part of coming out of winter is when the cold, overcast days give way to warmth and sunshine. Even before Spring officially arrives, just getting the sense that the season is changing and color is returning is enough to brighten spirits. But your feet are probably the last to get the memo, after being constantly clad in boots, shoes and slippers. This is the perfect time to do some “spring cleaning” below the ankles, and fix up winter-time problems.
So what are we looking out for?
- Athlete’s Foot – You’d think that Athlete’s foot was one of those “hot, summer sweat” kind of problems. But the fungus responsible for this stubborn affliction doesn’t care about the seasons. All it needs is warmth, moisture and darkness to thrive. That means that no matter what the thermometer said the past few months, your feet were probably still completely capable of harboring a fungal infection. If you’re dealing with itchy, scaly skin and red bumps, it’s time to address the problem. If you’ve tried over-the-counter lotions with no success, visit with a foot specialist to diagnose the problem and treat it properly.
- Corns and Calluses – Closed shoes and extended hours in footwear can do a number on the skin of your feet, causing corns and calluses because of the all-day friction. We have patients who say that during cold months they are more likely to neglect their foot care routine. So if you’re experiencing thickening around the foot pad, ball of foot, or on the toes, you maybe dealing with corns or calluses that can use some TLC.
- Ingrown toenails – If you wear tight, constrictive footwear, you may be feeling pain from ingrown toenails. This condition occurs when pressure from ill-fitting shoes crams the toes and causes the toe nails to dig into the nail bed. This is made worse when people trim their nails along a curve, when they should instead be trimming them straight across. There may be swelling, redness and intense pressure sensitivity. You’ll need to see a podiatrist to get this taken care of.
- Heel Fissures – You’ve probably seen someone with “cracked heels.” This is one of those conditions that is easy to develop and difficult to treat. It’s caused by a drying of the skin in the heel area. Over time, the dryness starts to cause cracks that can eventually penetrate through several layers of skin. This is a big problem for patients suffering from diabetes and neuropathy, as they lack the normal warning sensation of pain. If it’s allowed to worsen, it can lead to bleeding and infection. Prevention and early treatment requires daily moisturizing, but for anything more sever, please see your podiatrist.
- Foot pain or injury – Something can always go wrong to affect your foot and ankle health. Some of the people we see are individuals who have stopped regular exercise during the winter and return to challenging activities after New Year’s or once Spring-like days return. The sudden resumption of activity can be enough to cause damage to the joints, muscles, tendons or ligaments. Always be careful when starting an exercise activity after any time off. Your body must be given a chance to adapt to changes in demand.
Make the most of Springtime by making sure you are healthy from head to toe! If you’re dealing with one or more of the problems listed above, do yourself a favor and handle it now. At Houston Foot and Ankle Care, we treat patients with all of these complaints and more. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Gabriel Maislos, DPM, FACFAS, by calling (713) 541-3199 today. We accept most major forms of insurance.
Call (713) 541-3199 if you experience:
- foot pain or other changes
- dry, cracked heels
- fungal infection on skin or nails