Summer feet, make me feel fine
Summer is usually a relief for patients and their foot problems. While not absolute, summer can take a load off of foot problems that plague my patients. As the temperatures lower, boots and winter shoes can be a problem for feet. Barefoot walking and flip flops can be a relief for bunions and hammertoes while simultaneously having shortcomings that will be covered later in the article. This article will cover the benefits and shortcomings of summer and the effect on our feet.
My bunion and hammertoe surgery volume rises in the fall and winter because patients are out of their comfortable shoes and back into boots and shoes. This is both good and bad. Unfortunately, these conditions are structural, and shoes will be painful if they are not wide or roomy enough. Bunions and hammertoes are either worked around or fixed. Many people can live with these conditions but absent surgical repair the condition persists.
Summer can be better for feet as people walk barefoot or wear flip flops. This can cause problems. Flip flops generally lack support and lead to an unnatural walking pattern that is not consistent with normal gait. I support wearing them to the beach or pool but not on long walks. I learned this the hard way many summers ago. Sometimes it takes experience to learn these obvious lessons. Barefoot walking also has its problems. Puncture wounds, lacerations and foreign bodies can be encountered not being properly shod. Sand can also be hot. Although walking barefoot is more natural I don’t advise it universally. Truly, I don’t recommend any action done universally. Some patients can get away with these behaviors.
Plantar warts also make a greater showing in the summer. You must recall the June issue of The Gazette where I covered plantar warts. I won’t go into detail as you obviously can recite it verbatim. Warts can be treated with medication or laser treatment as I perform in the office. Laser provides the quickest resolution while the medications can take longer to treat the warts. Both are effective though.
Summer also brings more athletic injuries of the foot and ankle. While we are cloistered in our homes in the winter the lack of activity can help those of us avoid the injury bug. Warmer weather hopefully gets us outside playing sports, running, etc. Ankle sprains are a very common injury which flood the emergency rooms in the warmer weather.
In summary, the warmer weather can be a blessing and a curse. Getting outside helps us to maintain fitness but comes with possible pitfalls. Barefoot injuries, sprains and strains, and foreign bodies can cause discomfort but have no fear and don’t live your life like that. Savor the morning dew on your bare feet and enjoy the summer.
David Weiss, DPM, is the owner of Weiss Foot & Ankle Center located at 777 South White Horse Pike, Suite D1 in Hammonton. For more information or to make an appointment, call 561-2488 or visit weissfootandankle.com.