Don’t neglect your feet this winter

Ah, winter in New York City! Between the over-the-top window storefronts, ice skating at Rockefeller Center, holiday parties, and of course, the Times Square countdown to the new year, this season can seem downright magical.

And then there’s the wild and unpredictable weather. Whether you love a fresh blanket of the white powder across the city or dread the colder temps and shoveling, winter is coming, so you better be prepared. As you stock up on gloves, blankets, candles, hot cocoa, and other seasonal essentials, don’t forget to think of your feet. While snow and ice can bring sledding and skating, it can also bring risky conditions for feet. Don’t be caught off guard — think ahead and take care of your feet and ankles.

Choose the right shoes

Think about your wardrobe. Those boots might be downright adorable and complete your outfit, but are they supportive and winter-weather-ready? A widely circulated study from Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network recently reported that a majority of winter boots are too slippery to walk safely on icy surfaces. That means that wearers will be exposed to a great risk of ankle and foot-injuring falls. Invest in a pair that offers slip protection, gives appropriate ankle support, and fits well even with thick socks. Worried about ruining your look? Take a cue from commuters and pack an extra pair of cute shoes to change into once you arrive at your destination and move out of the elements.

Be mindful of special medical conditions

Are you diabetic? Take extra care when winter arrives as dropping temperatures, moisture from snowfall, and dry skin can all increase your risk of diabetic foot issues. Be on the lookout for changes in your feet — like corns, calluses, and skin lesions — as these can lead to more severe foot issues, especially among diabetics. Aim to keep your feet dry and warm to help prevent troublesome ulcers, and be sure to trim your toenails to an appropriate length.

Stay on guard during winter sports

Freezing cold weather might make it tempting to stay inside with a hot drink and Netflix or a nice book, but there’s no doubt that exercise should still take place in winter months. If you’re a runner, you are no doubt aware of the risks of a Lisfranc injury and Achilles tear or rupture among other issues. If outside trails or roads are your jogging route of choice, be mindful of dangerous path conditions, like icy spots that could cause you to slip. You might also consider purchasing sneakers with winter-friendly tread. If ice hockey and skiing are more your speed, remember to protect your ankles with supportive gear. Regardless of your sport of choice, be sure to take rest days as needed, stretch in the times surrounding your activity, and pamper your feet and keep them stimulated through massage.

Winter is a wonderful time of year, so don’t let foot or ankle issues cause you stress or keep you inside.