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Our feet change as we get older, so it becomes increasingly important to maintain good foot health.

You may have not had to pay much attention to your feet in the past, but in ageing feet minor symptoms such as dry skin or ingrown nails may lead to major complications if ignored. Foot care is important all year around, but as the seasons change, so should our foot care regime.

We spoke to a podiatrist to bring you the 5 most important things to be mindful of in summer:

1. Keep your feet cool and dry

One of the main challenges for aging feet in summer is to keep the feet cool and dry, which is important to avoid tinea (or athlete’s foot) among other complications. Tinea is a common skin infection of the feet caused by a fungus that causes an itchy, red or flaky rash between the toes or soles of the feet that can become cracked, painful and difficult to heal. To reduce the risk of developing tinea always remember to thoroughly dry the feet especially between the toes after a shower or swim and keep the feet cool and dry by wearing socks made from bamboo or cotton in your slipper or sandals.

2. Always wear appropriate shoes

The risk of injuries due to falling is heightened as we age, and in summer falls can be caused by not wearing appropriate shoes. It might be tempting to slip on flip flops in the summer heat, however our podiatrist recommends against this: ‘When selecting your summer shoes or sandals it is important to ensure they have both a back and a strap to keep them firmly in place at all times, both to protect your feet and also reduce the risk of falls’. Also keep in mind that our feet change as we get older, so it is important to get your feet measured and fitted each time you buy new shoes to ensure appropriate fit.

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3. Avoid infections

As the skin ages, it loses some of its former qualities such as moisture balance, elasticity and fatty padding, and the skin becomes more vulnerable to tears. Beyond increased vulnerability, it leads to ongoing slower wound healing and an increased risk of infection, and the foot is an area particularly vulnerable to skin break-down and complications. Hence it becomes increasingly important to avoid getting infections in the first place. A key way to prevent infections is by moisturising the feet every day to reduce vulnerability to tears, as well as wearing appropriate shoes at all times to avoid cuts.

4. Slip, slop, slap or cover up

Avoiding sunburn on the feet is key for maintaining foot health in the summertime. Remember that even a short walk or 10-15 minutes of sitting in the sun having tea can cause sunburn, which in ageing feet can cause compilations such as infections – so remember to apply sunscreen all over your feet, especially the tops and fronts of ankles, and don't forget to reapply after you've been in the water – or better yet cover your feet with shoes or sandals and socks.

5. Look out for fungal nails

It can become a lot harder to cut and treat your own nails with age due to difficulties bending down, arthritic hands and poor vision, however fungal nails is something that gets more common as our feet age so it is important to look out for are changes in your nails such as brittleness or colour change, and ensure appropriate treatment. Our podiatrist says a simple case of fungal nails may go away so just to leave be if not bothered by it, but if you feel discomfort then seek out over the counter remedies or book in for an appointment with a podiatrist to get the situation assessed.

To find out more call us on 1800 236 762.