3 Ways to Protect Your Feet This Summer

By Callie Zanandrie

flip flop

As you show off your pretty pedicure and parade around in your new sandals or flip flops this summer, keep these three tips in mind so you can put your best foot forward.

1. Give New Shoes Some Time

It’s true that new sandals, just like any shoes, can cause blisters. “The best way to prevent blisters from forming is to make sure that the sandals fit properly,” says Dr. Andrew Schneider, a podiatrist and foot surgeon based in Houston, Texas. “As you walk, there shouldn’t be too much movement of the foot within the sandal.” That friction is what causes the blisters.

If you start noticing hot spots, Dr. Schneider recommends protecting those areas by using a bandage or thin felt called moleskin over the area being rubbed.

If a blister can be kept intact, Dr. Schneider says it will heal once the pressure is removed. If you can’t wait for a blister to resolve on its own, you can carefully treat it. First use alcohol to wipe the area and using a sterilized needle, pierce the roof of the blister, advises Dr. Schneider. Once it’s drained, use antibiotic cream or ointment and cover it with a bandage. “The inside of the blister is sterile, so it’s important not to peel the top of the blister off,” he says. “It will dry up and flake away on its own.”

2. Wear Sunscreen On Your Feet

While it’s imperative to use sunscreen at all times outside, we often forget the feet— especially the tops of the feet. “Skin cancer can occur on the feet at a high degree,” says Miami Beach, Florida-based podiatrist, Dr. Kevin Berkowitz. The lower limb is the location of around 30 percent of all primary cutaneous melanomas (melanoma of the skin), and it can be just as life threatening as cancer in other areas of the body.

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, skin cancers of the feet have several features in common. Most are painless, and there’s often a history of recurrent cracking, bleeding, or ulceration. Frequently, people discover their skin cancer after unrelated ailments near the affected site, so go to your doctor if you see or feel anything on or near your foot that looks suspicious.

3. Wear The Right Shoes

Flip flops have become a summer staple and a fashion statement. They were created for limited wear, but have evolved into an all-day, everyday footwear choice for many people.

Podiatrists warn that this isn’t a good thing because flip flops are just a small piece of rubber trying to support your foot. “You’re not getting much arch support, so you get that wear and tear on your main tendons and ligaments,” says Dr. Berkowitz. “And that’s where the pain begins to happen, things like Achilles tendinitis, some flat-foot problems and some plantar fasciitis.”

Dr. Berkowitz is one of the many podiatrists who see injuries every year from flip flop overuse and misuse, so he suggests wearing sandals that incorporate good arch support like Birkenstock, Mephisto and Naot.

It’s also essential to select your shoes based on your activity. “Choosing flip flops for a day in and around the pool or beach won’t be a problem,” says Dr. Berkowitz. “For walking all day in a theme park, it would be best to choose shoes with more support.”

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