We know, we know—even though the worst part of winter is over, it’s hard to get too excited about March weather. There should still be plenty of overnight freezes, and maybe even a snowfall or two, left in the bag.
So considering it’s not even technically spring yet, why are we already talking about summer?
When the weather finally warms up for good, most of us are looking for any opportunity we can get to chuck those shoes and boots back in the closet, throw on a pair of (comfy, supportive) sandals, get our nails done, and head out to the water park, the beach, or really anywhere we can soak up some rays.
Chances are, however, that you’ll be feeling a lot less enthusiastic about summer fun if your feet or nails are looking grody or feeling sore. And unfortunately, many of those types of conditions can take at least a few months (or longer) to properly deal with.
So, if you want your feet ready to rock and roll by summer vacation, you gotta start thinking about them now.
Let’s address some of the big issues you might want to think about clearing up sooner rather than later.
Fungal toenail infections are extremely common—much more than you might think. Perhaps 1 out of every 6 Americans has an infection. And if one or more of your toenails are looking discolored, ragged, and thick, you might understandably be shy about revealing them to the world.
Winter is a critical time for fungal toenails, since the conditions that cause it (in particular, damp feet) can be difficult to avoid—but also because fungal toenail infections can take several months to reverse. That’s because, even after the infection is eradicated, the physical damage to the toenail itself remains until it can grow out naturally.
Fortunately, we have a couple of tricks that can help you speed up the process.
One is laser therapy, which is a faster, safer, and more convenient way to kill fungal toenail infections than traditional remedies like oral and topical antifungals. Most people only require three short monthly sessions.
The other is KeryFlex nail restoration. This is a cosmetic solution that can reshape your damaged toenail into a natural, clear-looking nail by thinning it and bonding it to a medical-grade resin nail. The KeryFlex nail looks and feels totally real, can even be filed and painted, and typically lasts several weeks to a few months.
The great thing is that you can do both—medical treatment with laser to kill the fungus so new nail will grow in healthy, and KeryFlex appointments as necessary to keep your nails looking great in the meantime.
Dry and Cracked Skin
Whether it’s because your feet were sweaty and damp from wet shoes and boots, too dry from de-humidified indoor heat, or even damaged by scalding-hot showers, the winter season can really beat up your skin!
If your feet are looking more than a little weathered, it’s definitely time to start working on getting that smoothness back. You can try:
- Treating your feet to a nice rejuvenating foot soak a couple of times per week. Use warm (not hot!) water. You can use a little tea tree oil or other gentle oils and fragrances if you wish!
- Avoiding long, hot showers. They might feel great in the moment, but they dry out your skin.
- Applying moisturizer or foot cream to your feet every day after your bath or shower, when the skin is still a little damp. Lock it in by putting on a fresh, clean pair of socks.
- Gently exfoliating and buffing dry patches and areas of hardened skin. Only do a little at a time. Don’t get too aggressive, or you may damage the skin.
If dry and cracked skin continues to be a problem despite home care, or if you have diabetes, come see our office for professional care.
Aches and Pains
Although maintaining consistent levels of physical activity all year long is the ideal, let’s be honest here: most of us tend to be relatively sedentary during the winter months, and much more active in the late spring and summer.
So if your feet are already bothering you with aches and pains, and you choose not to do anything about it now, chances are it’ll only get more and more severe as the weather improves—and you actually want to be out and about!
The news gets worse. The more severe the underlyling injury causing the pain, the tougher it will be (and the longer it will take) to overcome. If you wait until, say, June, your entire summer may already be doomed!
Instead, you should have us check out your foot pain as soon as possible. Again, we have advanced treatment options like laser therapy for pain (different from the fungal toenail laser), which has a proven track record of bringing rapid pain relief and healing even to the most stubborn chronic conditions. We also offer top of the line custom orthotics, which correct the biomechanical flaws underlying most cases of foot pain. With improved foot posture and walking mechanics, the primary source of foot discomfort is removed, and you can walk, run, and play much longer and harder than ever before without pain or fatigue!
Make This Summer the Best Ever—For You AND Your Feet
If you’ve ever had your summer plans ruined (or at least severely reduced) by pain, dry skin, toenail infections, or any other problem—and you’d like to avoid a repeat—the time to take action is now!
Going on offense against current problems while at the same time instituting preventative care measures (orthotics, anti-fungal sprays, etc.) early in the year is the best way to get your feet in great shape by summer—and keep them that way!
Ready to get started? Give us a call today at (309) 661-9975 to set up your appointment with Dr. Lockwood.