Podiatrist in San Leandro, CA
Foot Doctor of the East Bay
1300 Bancroft Ave
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 483-3390
(510) 394-6402 fax
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Everyone knows to bundle up with a few layers (and maybe a hot drink) when the mercury in the thermometer starts to drop. But it’s not just your face, hands, and core you need to protect: wintry conditions—colder air, chilly winds, and if you venture outside the Bay Area a bit, even snow and ice—can pose extra risks on delicate feet, too.

Bitter temperatures can lead to hypothermia and frostbite in severe cases, so you need to shut out the cold. They can also get too wet (from humid air or from stuffing your feet into sweaty boots or fabrics that can’t breathe), which can lead to blistering or fungal infections, or too dry (from indoor heat), which can lead to cracked skin and bleeding. Cold weather and feet, clearly, don’t always get along.

Step One: Keeping Feet Warm and Dry

If you’re just hustling from the car to the house, sneakers are fine. However, if you’re planning on spending any significant time outside in the cold (especially if there’s snow on the ground) you’re going to need a little extra defense against that bitter chill.

You’re going to want shoes that are overall less breathable than your summer kicks; if you anticipate snow or rain, they should also shut out moisture. Waterproof leather shoes or boots are a great option, as they also afford some flexibility.

You may need to switch to thicker socks, or double layer them, in order to keep those toes nice and toasty. Wool is a great choice, as it makes a great insulator and also wicks moisture effectively.

One other quick suggestion—if the temperature drops suddenly and you aren’t prepared—paper makes a surprisingly handy short-term insulator. You can even wrap your socks in some napkins and then throw on your shoes. You don’t want to do this all day (especially if it’s wet outside), but it’ll work in a pinch.

Step Two: … But Not Too Dry!

In winter, even the great indoors can be a challenge for your feet, especially if you have a medical condition (such as diabetes or hypothyroidism) that makes you more prone to dry skin. Dry heat from internal heating systems can strip moisture from your skin, leading to cracks and fissures. That’s double-trouble if you have diabetes, since these cracks can easily become infected if not dealt with.

Unlike the rest of your skin, your feet do not have oil glands, so moisturizing your feet daily after bathing and applying creams and lotions (such as coconut oil) can go a long way toward fighting patches of dryness. When you take a bath or shower, don’t turn the water up so hot, as this draws extra moisture from your skin. Also, remember to stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet.

Step Three: Seek Help If Home Care Can’t Cut It

Cold weather and feet do not have to be enemies. At Foot Doctor of the East Bay, we provide regular diabetic foot checks, can help you deal with dry skin and safely remove layers of dead tissue from calluses or corns, treat fungal infections (like toenail fungus or athlete’s foot) that can arise from sweaty boots, and more. Whatever winter throws at your feet, we can help. Call Dr. Michael Stein and Zeindelin Ahmad, DPM, at (510) 483-3390 and set up an appointment at one of our three easy locations: San Leandro, Pleasanton, or Los Gatos, CA.

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