5 Tips for Healthy Holiday Feet

by ACFAS

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Are your feet aching from all the preparation and planning of the holiday season? Don’t let sore tootsies ruin your winter break! The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons offers five tips to healthy holiday feet:

1. If the Shoe Fits -- Wear It!

When hitting the dance floor or the shopping malls during the holiday season, don’t compromise comfort and safety when picking the right shoes to wear. Narrow shoes, overly-high-heeled ones or shoes that aren’t worn very often, such as dress shoes, can irritate feet and lead to blisters, calluses, swelling and even severe ankle injuries. “To ward off problems, choose a shoe that has a low heel and fits your foot in length, width and depth while you are standing,” says Tennessee foot and ankle surgeon Christopher Hendrix, DPM, FACFAS. “Be proactive, protective and preventive with your selection of appropriate shoes for the occasion.”

2. Don't Overindulge in Holiday Cheer

Did you know your feet can feel the effects of too much holiday cheer? Certain foods and beverages high in purines, such as shellfish, red meat, red wine and beer can trigger extremely painful gout attacks, a condition when uric acid builds up and crystallizes in and around your joints. “Oftentimes, it’s the big toe that is affected first since the toe is the coolest part of the body and uric acid is sensitive to temperature changes,” Dr. Hendrix says.

3. Be Pedicure-Safety Conscious

Before you head for your holiday pedicure, remember nail salons can be a breeding ground for bacteria, including MRSA. To reduce your risk of infection, choose a salon that follows proper sanitation practices and is licensed by the state. Consider also purchasing your own pedicure instruments to bring along to your appointment.

4. Watch for Ice and Snow

Holiday winter wonderlands can be beautiful but also dangerous. Use caution when traveling outdoors; watch for ice or snow patches along your trail. The ankle joint can be more vulnerable to serious injury from falling on ice. “Ice accelerates the fall and often causes more severe trauma, because the foot can move in any direction after it slips,” Dr. Hendrix explains. If you do experience a fall, take a break from activities until you can be seen by a foot and ankle surgeon. Use R.I.C.E. therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) to help reduce the pain and control swelling around the injury.

4. "Listen" to Your Feet

Don’t let foot pain ruin your holiday fun; inspect your feet regularly for any evidence of ingrown toenails, bruising, swelling, blisters, dry skin or calluses. ”If you notice any pain, swelling or signs of problems, make an appointment with your foot and ankle surgeon,” Dr. Hendrix says. “Often, especially for diabetics, what may seem like a simple issue can turn into a larger problem if medical care is delayed.”

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons is a professional society of over 6,000 foot and ankle surgeons. Founded in 1942, the College’s mission is to promote research and provide continuing education for the foot and ankle surgical specialty, and to educate the general public on foot health and conditions of the foot and ankle. For more information on taking care of your feet and ankles, visit the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeon’s website, FootHealthFacts.org.

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