Caring for your feet this summer

June 05, 2013

By Lynn Kovacevich

As summer approaches, many of us are looking forward to exciting summer plans with family and friends. Potential adventures could include touring exotic locations, exploring new cities, or enjoying the beautiful outdoors in the Pacific Northwest. No matter what your chosen activities, most of us will be on our feet much more during the next few months enjoying the sunny weather. We can expect that our feet will be uncomfortable at times, but dealing with feet that continually hurt may affect those summer plans.

Here are some summer tips to keep your feet in tip top shape:

  • Wear shoes that are appropriate for the activity (hiking boots, athletic shoes, or water footwear).
  • If you will be doing a lot of walking, make sure you pack supportive shoes and consider using an arch support (orthotic) to prevent common causes of foot and ankle discomfort.
  • Limit barefoot walking as it could expose your feet to possible infections (athlete’s foot or plantar warts), burns, and even trauma.
  • Flip-flops are not considered supportive shoes, but do provide protection when worn around the pool, at the beach, in the locker room, and even in your hotel room.
  • Always, always, always apply sunscreen, even to your feet and ankles.  Remember to reapply throughout the day.
  • Condition properly for any new activity to prevent overuse injuries.
  • If you are beginning a new exercise routine or outdoor activity, it’s important to make sure that you always stretch properly before and after exercising.
  • If your feet and ankles commonly swell throughout the day, take time to rest and elevate your legs periodically to help minimize the swelling.
  • If you happen to injure your foot or ankle, seek help from a medical professional immediately.
Some of the most common foot complaints that bring patients into our office during the summer months are related to arch, heel, and ball of the foot pain:
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Neuroma

Although our foot health is usually the last thing on our minds, it’s important to remember that healthy feet are essential for an enjoyable life.

Editor’s note: Join Dr. Kovacevich at a free foot pain seminar on Thursday, June 20, 2013 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Swedish Orthopedic Institute. She will discuss common foot and ankle problems and help you decide which treatment is right for you.