In the winter time, I often get asked by my patients, “How do I get rid of of the dry, cracking skin on my feet?” Every season brings about unique challenges when it comes to keeping your feet happy and healthy. And we can tell you from a LOT of experience, winter is an especially important time to be mindful of how you treat your feet. There is so much our feet have to endure! The air is drier in the winter with less humidity both indoors and out. This lack of humidity can cause all skin to become drier, and the excess skin around heels and ankles to become thicker and more porous. All of these factors add up to the unsightly cracks that can become commonplace in the colder weather.

However, the turning weather can usher in other problems too. To help, here are a few of our top tips for keeping feet happy and healthy (and looking great!) for the holidays:

1. Wear the right shoes for weather conditions

Selecting the appropriate shoes for dropping temperatures and bleak conditions is a great place to start when prioritizing winter foot health. Start the season with a few trusty pairs of warm, heavy-duty socks and a set of waterproof boots. These will be your new best friends when it comes to keeping feet warm and dry. Persistent dampness encourages fungal infections of the feet (i.e. Athlete’s Foot). If wet weather catches you off guard, change out of your damp shoes and socks as soon as possible.

2. If the shoe DOESN’T fit…don’t wear it

This should go without saying but make sure to size your winter footwear correctly. This goes for snow boots, skis, ice skates, the whole kit and caboodle! It might be tempting to “size up” to account for bulky socks, or to buy footwear for your children that they will “grow into.” However, wearing the wrong size shoe can cause painful rubbing, blisters, and even serious ankle or arch injuries.

3. Treat yourself to an at-home foot spa

With the long, dark evenings and less-than-ideal outdoor conditions, why not stay inside and treat yourself to a little pampering. Soak your feet in a foot bath and give them a rub with some gentle exfoliation. Dry them well and moisturize with your favorite lotion. Your feet will feel so refreshed!

4. Book an appointment with a professional

If you’re experiencing chronic foot pain this winter, it could be the sign of a more serious issue. Foot, heel or ankle pain can make it difficult to enjoy the holidays. Don’t let these problems keep you from participating in all your favorite, festive activities. Contact our friendly foot and ankle doctors so you can get back on your feet and back to doing what you love this winter.

While your feet support you all year long, give them a little extra care and encouragement this holiday season. Make sure they’re protected from the elements in appropriate, well-fitting shoes so they can be healthy and strong for whatever winter throws your way!