Winter Foot Care
The winter months in Shanghai may encourage us to opt for warmth over support in order to get through the cold. Those sheep-skin lined boots will keep the toes warm, but may not be the best solution for walking long distances on the hard, unforgiving streets of Shanghai.
In addition, the landmark holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, calendar New Year, and Chinese New Year falling in quick succession means our social calendars are usually quite full during these months. Dressy shoes such as high heels that we might choose for these occasions often sacrifice comfort for aesthetics. The take home message is to be considerate of your feet when choosing footwear to ensure that they can keep up with all the places you need to go.
Another common complaint seen over the winter months is an increase in the presence of ingrown nails. Once again, footwear can be attributed to some of these cases. With the onset of the colder months, an ill-fitting pair of enclosed footwear is often pulled from the back of the cupboard in an attempt to stay warm.
Footwear that is either too tight or too loose can place a large amount of pressure on the toenails and, as a result, cause the nail to excessively press against the flesh of the toe, becoming an ingrown nail. It is essential that you get the fit of your shoes correct. Your podiatrist can help with footwear advice as well as short and long term management of ingrown nails.
DRY, CRACKED HEELS
One of the methods our bodies use to regulate body heat is to open up (dilate) blood vessels in hot weather, and shrink (constrict) them in the cold. This neat trick allows the body’s heat to be regulated over different temperatures. During winter, the blood vessels will typically constrict so that body heat isn’t released as easily through the circulation of blood near the surface of the body. An unfortunate side effect of blood vessel constriction is that the surrounding cells, such as those in the skin, don’t receive the same amount of nutrients as they might in warmer weather. As a result, the skin tends to be drier.
Dry skin is more susceptible to breaking, and broken skin can result in a painful lesion that also has the potential for infection. Use a daily moisturiser for your feet to prevent the skin from drying out. A cream containing urea – which Body & Soul’s in-house pharmacies dispense - is most effective. Your podiatrist can assist you with the removal of particularly rough skin, as well as help to create a management plan for particularly troublesome feet.
Scott Blake is a Shanghai podiatrist serving clients at Body & Soul’s Downtown Clinic - Xintiandi. Scott can perform a podiatric assessment and help you get through the winter month with healthy feet. Click here to schedule an appointment.