Winter Foot Care

winter-foot-careNow that winter’s almost here, it’s time to find that heavy footwear of yours, whether it’s boots, heavy-duty shoes, thick socks, etc. Unfortunately, these added measures can wreak havoc on your feet.  Without proper foot care, you may be severely limiting your mobility and independence.

If you’re a prepper, though, you should know how to handle these issues, so your achin’ feet don’t become an issue.

Many Baby Boomers also need to consider age-related issues such as arthritis and corns.  Proper care and planning can make a hike or other walking outing an enjoyable experience.

Stay Well-Hydrated

Chafing is no treat, especially if you’re far from home when the problem starts. It can make every movement painful and leave you hurting for days. One way to prevent this issue from even starting, though, is by staying hydrated. Doing so allows your body to perspire freely. When this is impeded, your body leaves salt crystals on the skin’s surface, ensuring friction will be an issue.

Fortunately, drinking plenty of water is also a good way to prevent blisters too.

Wear Appropriate Socks

In winter, most of us don’t have to worry about wearing clothes that don’t fit tightly enough, which can actually trigger chafing. However, the opposite side of the spectrum can be problematic too. While snug clothing is acceptable, anything that’s tight against the skin is most likely going to make you chafe—this includes socks.

Pick breathable fabrics for your feet, especially those that wick moisture away from the body. Go-to fabrics include Supplex, Coolmax and Polypro. Cotton, on the other hand, is not a good choice. It hangs onto moisture and can be unnecessarily rough on your skin.

You should also wash all new socks before wearing them outdoors and wait until you’ve worn them around a few times before entrusting them to a long walk or some other activity far from home.

Keep an eye out for when your socks have had enough. Worn areas or holes will eventually become blisters.

Pick the Right Shoes/Boots

The footwear you choose will have the biggest effect on whether or not you end up with blisters this winter. For the best fit, there should be a half-inch between your big toe (or whichever one is longest) and where the inside of your shoe/boot stops. While you should have enough room to wiggle your toes, your heel shouldn’t be slipping around with each step.

Now, let’s say you did your best, but you’ve formed a blister or find yourself chafing. The following should help.

Use Talcum Powder

Talcum powder is a time-tested way to stay dry. Just pad a little on the skin of your foot wherever chafing normally occurs to ensure you have some extra help. Cornstarch will actually work here too.

However, before you apply it, if at all possible, wash off the chafed area and then dry it thoroughly.

Lubricate the Area

You can also add a lubricant to the area, as this will essentially help relieve friction. Petroleum jelly is probably the most popular type available. Many people make their own by combining a cup of Vaseline with a cup of vitamin A and vitamin D ointment. Then add ¼ cup of aloe vera cream and vitamin E ointment to improve the smell and help with consistency. This should give you a lubricant that is thicker than petroleum jelly, but still plenty easy to apply.

Wrap with Moleskin

Moleskin is also a long-favored way to help protect one’s feet from chafing and blisters. When you wrap, however, it’s vital that you not leave any wrinkles and that it’s not unnecessarily tight. Generally, it’s pointless to tape your entire foot, just any areas you’re worried about.

However, if you do form a blister, moleskin is a great method for dealing with it. The self-adhesive kind is easy to apply too. You can cut out a circle just bigger than the blister, but then take the center out of it as well, leaving you with a donut. When you apply the moleskin, the ring you’ve created will cushion it without covering it.

Be Prepared

Depending on what your day entails, it’s not a bad idea to bring supplies with you. For example, if you’re going out on a hike, having talcum powder, lubricant, moleskin, and an extra pair of socks on hand could make all the difference.

There are a number of ways you can prepare for this winter season so blisters and chafing can be avoided. However, if either becomes an issue, do your best to follow the above advice and simply stay off your feet as much as possible until the problem has been resolved.

 

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