In Canada winter is tough. Frigid temperatures, ice covered roads and paths and endless snow, sleet and wind is tough on cars, houses and even feet. Here are some tips to help you protect your feet during Canada’s toughest season:
- Do make sure all of your winter footwear – boots, skates, ski and snowboard boots – fits properly. Your feet can change size over time and footwear sizes differ from style to style so have your feet measured every time and only buy boots that feel comfortable as soon as you try them on.
- Do steer clear of buying boots that aren’t supportive. Some fashionable sheepskin styles of boots look cozy and warm but they don’t provide the support your feet and lower limbs require. A long winter in unsupportive boots may lead to lower limb pain and injury.
- Do wear comfortable, warm, snug-fitting socks all the time. Wet feet can cause bacteria to collect which can lead to ulcers and infections. Socks provide an important layer of protection. If your socks get wet change them immediately.
- Don’t ask your children to wear hand-me-down boots or buy boots with room for them to grow into. Boots that are too big or too small will chafe and squish their toes, which will cause blisters and rubs and may even lead to serious injury. To ensure the right fit, when purchasing boots make sure there is a thumb width from the top of your child’s big toe to the tip of their boot.
- Don’t change your natural foot strike pattern when you head out for your regular run in slippery conditions. Changing your natural foot strike is one of the quickest ways to get injured. When running on ice and snow reduce your pace slightly and shorten your stride.
- Don’t wear high heeled boots except for very special occasions when you won’t be walking outside. Stylish, leather heeled boots won’t keep your feet warm and dry and they will become lethal when walking conditions are treacherous.
Canadian Certified Pedorthists are one of only a few healthcare professionals who are trained in the assessment of lower limb anatomy and biomechanics. If you have any questions about your feet or lower limbs ask your family doctor for a referral to a Canadian Certified Pedorthist.
By Brian Scharfstein, C. Ped (C), Winnipeg, MB