From Flip-Flops to Fit-Flops!
We've had quite a summer so far, and we are now reaching July, and there's more summer footwear comming out of the wardrobe quicker than you can say "I like it hot, but not this hot!". With the heat waves repeatedly coming up from Europe, we should be going through sun cream faster than a Yorkshire Farmer goes through "Sheep Dip"! We are all aware of the damage sun can do to our skin, and most of us reach for the factor 30-50 for our face, shoulders, backs etc, but how often do you find you've missed round the ankles and the achilles tendon area! Sun burn can cause damage to the skin which can last for years, and stay hidden until later in life when problems such as skin cancer / basal cell carcinoma can occur. It's during this time of year I see peoples feet with very strange markings on the dorsum / top of the foot, and realise it's 'Strap Marks' from those flip-flops, fit-flops and sandals.
Drop the Socks!
Foot Factor 30
From Cotton to Sandpaper!
When you get sun burn on your feet, it makes fresh cotton socks feel like sand paper! And there's no escape from the feeling. When you go to bed on a night time and the bed clothes rub against your ankles, it's still sore!
How do we miss our feet and ankles with the sun cream? My theory is we normally do the feet and ankles last, with what's left on our hands from applying it to the legs and shins, so there's not too much being applied. We give the feet a quick rub, and 'bingo' we are ready to go!
As Podiatrists, we are always looking at any unusual markings on your legs and feet, and asking you how long you've had them. Quite often the answer is "I'm not sure!", which doesn't really help. We like to monitor such problems and ensure they are captured and refered on to a specialist as soon as possible. Early diagnosis usually means a better outcome.
It's not just about feet!
Where possible, it's best to protect your head, and your eyes from the sun. As I'm fair skin and follicly challenged (bald!), I always wear a hat when I'm in the sun for any long period. I've previously favoured the baseball cap, but more recently and in stronger sun light, I've started wearing a brimmed sun hat. The main reason for this is to provide increased protection to my ears and the back of my neck. It also makes my shadow look like "India Jones".
During the first year of the lock down I helped many clients fit their face mask. It was one such client I discovered a 'Skin Abnormality' on his right ear. Photo's taken and emailed to him, he promptly contacted his GP, and sent the photo's in. A short time later he had a diagnosis of Basal Cell Carcinoma, and had it removed. I've also had a family memeber have part of his ear removed due to skin cancer resulting from sun exposure. Prevention is better that cure.
BCC - Up Close
How to Look After Your Feet
Keeping your feet healthy is easy if you follow these simple steps..
1. Wear fresh socks every day. If your feet sweat, change them through the day, and make sure you are wearing the right socks, such as cotton or bamboo.
2. Always wash your feet thoroughly, and dry fully between the toes.
3. Avoid walking barefoot, where possible. Going outdoors without shoes in the summer increases the risk of injury to your feet.
4. Avoid shoes that rub, especially in the heat as this will help prevent blisters.
5. Give your feet some air, try to remove your socks and footwear if you are sat or laid.
6. Stay hydrated, as this will help stop your feet getting hot and sweaty.
7. Moisturise your feet as this will prevent dry cracked skin.
8. Evaluate your flip-flops or any footwear and make sure they are comfortable allowing your feet to swell in the heat.
and lastly but most importantly....
9. Don't forget to use sunscreen on your feet. They can burn just the same as the rest of your skin, and if you've ever experienced burnt feet you know how painful it is.