Blisters 3 min read

Keep your feet healthy this summer

Keep your feet healthy this summer Keep your feet healthy this summer Keep your feet healthy this summer

The days are longer, the birds are chirping and the great outdoors is promising you good times, a healthy tan and plenty of vitamin D.

If they haven’t already, your winter boots are probably making their way to the back of the cupboard and your summertime sandals and flip flops are coming out to play.

Of course, as wonderful as the changing of the seasons can be, sometimes it takes your feet a little while to get up to speed and occasionally blisters, caused by new shoes or hotter weather, and unsightly calluses can take the shine off the good times.

To ensure you keep your feet healthy this summer, the team at Compeed spoke to Marion Yau*, a Harley Street-based podiatrist and YouTuber, for her top tips.

What are calluses?

Calluses are areas of thick, dry skin created by repeated pressure and friction force applied to the skin, which can often be caused by ill-fitting shoes.

Marion has the following advice to avoid them: “Make sure to apply urea-based lotion to your feet before the summer to get them ready for the heat. Urea-based creams aid in the rehydration of the skin while also assisting in the reduction of callus formation. During the summer, make use of this.

“It is essential to wear shoes suitable for your feet that are not too tight. Tight shoes can cause a callus to form on the foot due to the shoes rubbing against the skin and raising pressure.

“Using foot files or pumice stones regularly will help to prevent callus formation. To shield, cushion, and deflect pressure from the foot, wear cushion insoles cushioning or gel pad for the foot. This will help to reduce calluses,” she says.

What can you do to keep blisters and calluses at bay this summer?

“One of the most prevalent causes of blisters is applying repetitive force or mechanical movements to the skin by an object or a material. By putting on new shoes, you can improve your foot health. However, new footwear materials may be overly stiff and damage the skin. Blisters can develop due to repetitive friction between the shoe and the skin during walking or exercising,” Marion says.

Marion recommends the following preventative exercises to help keep blisters and calluses at bay:

  • Reduce or eliminate the continuous force of friction that is the source of the blisters’ formation.
  • Always wear socks with shoes, since the socks will create barriers between the foot and the shoes, preventing the skin from irritation and blistering.
  • Put on shoes that are comfy and well-fitting.
  • Break in your shoes gradually until they are comfortable for you.
  • Check that your summer shoes are not too tight or too loose, as this can cause rubbing of the foot when walking, resulting in blisters.

How can you ensure that your feet stay healthy during summer?

Keep your feet clean by washing them regularly – especially when you go outside. Moisturising your feet regularly will also help because it rehydrates them and can keep calluses at bay.

“Sunblock should be used on your feet to avoid burns, tan marks and skin cancer. Yes, skin cancer can develop on the soles of your feet. See a podiatrist for a medical pedicure to remove dead skin from the feet, repair blisters, and treat any nail issues such as a fungal nail infection. When wearing flip flops, use a blister dressing or plaster to keep the skin from rubbing against the shoe and causing blisters,” says Marion.

“The skin on your feet can dry up if you do not drink enough water to keep them hydrated. Open-toed shoes with good foot support are recommended. Numerous flip flops and sandals now come with a customizable foot insert that may be used to accommodate different types of feet. For example, if you have a little flat foot causing you pain, you can consider investing in some arch support sandals,” she continues.

To maintain your feet health during the summer, are there things you should avoid doing?

“You should avoid walking around barefooted because this might cause your feet to become unclean and put you in danger of contracting infections such as a verruca and Athlete’s foot. Body oil should not be applied to the top or soles of your feet because they are rarely exposed to the sun, and when they are, they can easily burn,” Marion says.

It can be tempting to leave your socks at home and wear your trainers barefoot in the summer, but Marion advises against it.

“Avoid not wearing socks with closed-toed shoes if at all possible. Sweating increases the bacteria load on feet, increasing the danger of bacterial and fungal infection, as well as the likelihood of them being more smelly,” she says.

Should you treat your feet differently in the summer compared to the rest of the year?

“As you may be wearing more sandals during the summer months, you will likely need sunscreen on your feet. Burns and irritation might result from exposing the skin in this manner. You may need to apply after sun on your feet after tanning to avoid unpleasant burns,” Marion says.

What types of shoes should you stay away from?

“Avoid wearing shoes with one strap that rub against the foot.  Flip flips that go between the toes or have a loose strap behind the heel may create blisters between your toes and on the heel. This may result in painful blisters and can impair your ability to walk. If you must wear them, make certain that fit correctly and have multiple straps to prevent excessive movement of the shoe to the foot,” Marion says.

*Marion Yau does not endorse any products or brands.