Proper footcare important during winter months

Published On: Mar 05 2012 04:33:24 PM EST   Updated On: Mar 20 2012 04:05:16 PM EDT

(NewsUSA) - Many Americans remember to care for their feet in the summertime, when the practice of wearing sandals makes calluses, dried skin and ingrown toenails easily visible. But when the weather becomes chilly, and wearing socks and winter boots become the norm, it's easy to forget about your feet.

Winter weather can make feet more susceptible to problems, which is why it's important to think about footcare during the holiday season. To help give you a leg up on proper winter footcare, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) offers these tips to Americans looking to keep their feet healthy when the temperature drops:

- Give your feet a breather. The foot contains over 250,000 sweat glands. When feet sweat in warm socks and boots, that moisture becomes trapped and causes foot odor. To keep feet sweat-free, buy socks made from a natural or synthetic blend. Put foot powder in your shoes to prevent odor. Once a day, take off your socks and shoes and let your feet breathe.

- Moisturize. Winter air is very dry. To keep skin smooth, moisturize your feet every time you shower. After washing your feet, thoroughly dry your skin before applying a lotion or foot moisturizer. Apply moisturizer over all of the foot except for between toes, and make sure your feet are dry before you put on socks. If your feet are dry and flaky and have painful cracks, apply antibiotic cream and bandages. If trouble continues, see a podiatrist immediately.

- Keep up your weekly pedicure. Putting away your sandals shouldn't mean putting away your pumice stone. At least once a week, soak your feet in lukewarm water, then buff away dry skin with a stone or scrub and apply moisturizer. Do not try to cut off calluses.

- Watch out for frostbite. In areas that experience very low temperatures, frostbite becomes a very real concern. Frostbitten skin looks pale and hard and then becomes red and painful as it thaws. If you think you have mild frostbite, do not put your feet in hot water -- you can burn your skin. Soak your feet in tepid water. If you see blisters or blackened skin, or have pain, go to an emergency room immediately.

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