Taking Care of Your Feet This Holiday Season
Most kids want to grow up so badly because they have an idea that being an adult means we can do “whatever we want to do.”
(Done laughing yet?)
As an adult, you know better – the truth is life is stressful. And though this can certainly be true year-round, it is even more so during the holiday season! There’s so much that needs to get done – you have to buy gifts, wrap them, bake goodies, attend holiday parties … you get the point.
With so much happening during the season, it’s easy to lose sight of an important – yet underrated – health consideration:
You rely on your feet and ankles to carry you wherever you need to go – especially when there are so many places you have to be. And this is definitely not the time of year to suffer with foot pain or lose your ability to do the things you want to do!
So what are you to do?
Stay on Top of Your Holiday Footcare Plan, of Course!
The good news is, it only takes a few easy measures to keep your feet in optimal condition to carry you around. And to help you navigate the holiday season – without being held back by foot pain – we’ve compiled some “holiday survival” tips for your feet.
Let’s get right to it!
Maintain your exercise program
Sure, part of the reason many of us gain weight during the holidays can be attributed to eating too many treats and sweets. But it’s also easy to let normal fitness routines fall by the wayside when so much is happening and being expected of us. Not to mention that there are weather concerns that need to be factored in as well.
But here’s the thing:
You need to be physically active on a regular basis for the health of your lower limbs. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours exercising every day. Raising your heart rate for about 30 minutes, 3-4 times per week can work wonders for your body – including your feet.
Doing so will pump oxygenated blood and provide the tissues in your lower limbs with the nutrients they need to function their best. On top of that, you will also strengthen the bones and muscles in your lower limbs, shed unwanted weight, and keep connective tissues limber. (It’s a win-win situation.)
Mind your eating
You likely already know that the food we put into our bodies plays a big role in our health and wellbeing.
From a general perspective, your lower limbs require proper nourishment for optimal health, too. Since your feet support the weight of almost your entire body – and are subjected to increased force loads when you walk and run – you need them to be as strong as possible. And for that to happen, you have to supply them with proper nutrition.
That means you should consume lean protein for muscles, calcium and vitamin D for bones, and various B vitamins for nerves. At the same time, it’s best to limit things like sugar and trans fats.
Sugar, in particular, is a big concern due to the serious complications that can develop in response to diabetes. And if you are diabetic, hopefully this isn’t something we have to tell you!
But even if you don’t have diabetes, you should still be mindful of your sugar intake during the holiday season and keep it to a minimum. Of course, a cookie here or there isn’t likely going to be the end of the world, but make sure “here or there” doesn’t turn into “all the time.”
When enjoying holiday meals with friends and family, make sure you:
- Load up your plate with as many vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains as possible.
- Pass on soda or other sugary beverages.
- Keep moderation in mind when it comes to snacks and desserts.
- Volunteer to bring a dish to pass – so you know there will be at least one healthy option.
Make smart footwear choices
Though fellow Americans who live in Florida, Texas, and Southern California might be able to wear sandals during the entire year, we live in Colorado – and that means we get actual winters. That’s why you should make sure you wear season-appropriate footwear.
What constitutes “season-appropriate”?
During snowy and icy weather, wear shoes and boots that are warm, fit well, and have an adequate amount of grip:
- Warmth is a particularly important feature if you are going to be spending lots of time outdoors. Frostbite is a potential concern for your toes, but warm footwear can reduce the risk.
- Proper fit is an absolute “must” for almost any kind of footwear – and your winter shoes and boots are no exception. Remember, both too loose and too tight can be bad for your feet.
- Winter shoes and boots also need to provide a good amount of grip to lower your risk of dangerous falls when the ground is slick from ice or snow.
Reduce (or at least manage) holiday stress
Over recent years, humans have started to become aware of how excessive stress can have negative physical effects on the body.
Well, your feet aren’t immune from that.
In fact, stress can affect feet by causing dry skin and cracked heels, excessive sweat, eczema, psoriasis, coldness, numbness, tingling, redness, swelling, and weakness. And if that’s not enough, stress-induced insomnia prevents your body from releasing essential hormones and effectively repair damaged and fatigued tissue.
But no worries – here are some tips that can help:
- Taking even a couple of minutes to simply close your eyes and focus on your breathing is a proven technique to help your body calm down and ease physical tension.
- Plan ahead. Writing down the things you need to do is a big step in breaking them up into more manageable pieces.
- Treat yourself. Pamper yourself with a foot massage, or simply find time to kick your feet up and relax during this stressful season.
Don’t Forget About Your Feet this Holiday Season
Finally, our last tip for you is this:
Make sure you come see us as soon as you become aware of an existing problem in your feet and ankles!
Foot problems are most effectively and easily treated at their earliest stages. Not to mention that there’s no need to suffer – because you can always come see us here at Colorado Center for Podiatric Sports Medicine and receive the care you need.
Simply give our office a call at (720) 600-3380 to schedule an appointment, or submit a request form online to have a member of our staff reach out to you.