There’s a very predictable element to the glorious summer season as a Podiatrist here in Melbourne. Year after year, we see higher amounts of the same foot problems keep walking through the doors throughout the summer. The culprit? It’s usually the heat, summer activities and of course, New Year’s resolutions.
Today, we’re sharing four of these common problems with you – and how to help them!
Cracked heels are a summer classic. Between walking barefoot and walking in open-backed (and often hard and flat) shoes, the pressure on your heels can increase significantly over the summer. Callus can quickly dry out, and before you know it, the skin around your heels becomes rough and hard before it cracks – which is how cracked heels are formed.
While small cracks can be painless, if they’re left untreated, they can worsen, become bigger, and crack the healthy skin underneath, causing your foot to bleed.
Start by having the hard, cracked skin removed, and then moisturise your feet daily. You don’t need a fancy or expensive moisturiser – Sorbelene will do the trick. But you do need to moisturise every day, giving your feet the best opportunity to not dry out and crack further.
To have the hard, cracked skin removed, see your podiatrist. It’s incredible the difference that one appointment can make – we’re actually able to easily and painlessly remove (debride) the hard skin and get your feet back to feeling light and healthy in just 30 minutes. You’ll wonder how you put up with it for so long!
Athlete’s foot was given this name because athletes tend to be prone to developing this fungal skin infection. The reason for this is that they exercise hard, sweat more, and wear closed-in training shoes. Fungus thrives in warm, moist conditions like their shoes – and so a fungal infection (if contracted) is much more likely to take hold.
In the Melbourne summer, anyone that wears closed-in shoes while their feet sweat from the heat is at risk. Tradies that work outdoors, we’re especially looking at you! Athlete’s foot can be itchy, red, and look like small bubbles on the bottom of the foot and around/between the toes.
Start by drying your feet very well at every chance you get. After your shower, make sure that you’ve dried in between the toes with your towel before putting your shoes on. Dry your feet after you come home from work or when you take closed-in shoes off. Air your feet. Wear your Archies inside the house.
You can also get your hands on some antifungal creams and powders to put on your feet and spray into your shoes and socks. Treat it quickly – Athlete’s foot is highly infectious and can spread to other members of your family or friends – especially if you use the same shower at home, the gym or work!
We see heel pain, often caused by plantar fasciitis or heel spurs, up to a few times a day during the summer! It happens because we tend to get outdoors more, be more active, go for walks on our holidays – and set ourselves fitness and New Year’s resolutions goals. The increased time on our feet paired with not enough preparation and overdoing it too early can see heel pain quickly come on – and stay for months if we’re not careful.
The sooner you start treating your heel pain, the faster you are likely to be back to enjoying your summer without discomfort. Start by using ice, anti-inflammatories, and elevating your foot (up on a chair or couch) to reduce your pain and swelling, and see your podiatrist ASAP.
You podiatrist will find out what caused the heel pain and exactly which tissue, ligament, muscle or bone has been damaged. They will show you how to stop the damage from getting worse while making a treatment plan to help it get better. This may include strapping the foot, using laser treatment, orthotics, changing your shoes, dry needling and other hands-on therapies to help the tissues recover.
If your clinic is innovative like us, they may even have ANF therapy available to help you get long-lasting pain relief.
Feeling tired and achy in your feet and legs at the end of a long day? Trust us, you’re definitely not alone. Often, this comes down to our flatter and harder footwear choices in the summer. Flatter, harder shoes and surfaces mean less shock absorption through your feet – especially if you have a high arched foot. These forces travel through your bones, joints and muscles instead – leaving you feet and legs that tire faster and ache more.
Choose good summer shoes. Don’t worry – we’re not telling you to stay in your joggers all summer. But there are much better solutions! Our favourite summer-friendly option is Archies Thongs. These are designed by physios right here in Melbourne, and have so many good features that your feet will love. They’re incredibly comfortable, the straps don’t break, they support your foot and arch – you can keep reading about their benefits here. Seriously – give them a go. We did and we love them, and now the whole family will be in them all summer! And that’s coming from a Podiatrist!
So this sneaky little extra isn’t something that patients come to see us for, but we thought we’d add it here because it’s really important. Australians have a high risk of sustaining damaging sunburn, and we chat with many people who get very sunburnt feet because they forget to sunblock them, or the block gets washed off as they walk through the water and they forget to re-apply! The sun is super dangerous here in Australia – and we care about your health, so please be extra careful this summer! And if your feet get burnt – moisturise them often, aloe them often, and try to restore that moisture to help the burn pass faster.