Protect Your Children’s Feet this Summer
When school lets up, it’s time to get out and enjoy the sun—when not playing Fortnite, at least.
Are you planning to get away on a summer trip? Head out to some local summer festivities? Or maybe just stick around the closest pool (shout-out to all the kind, generous, pool-having neighbors out there!)?
However your family decides to spend this summer, you should keep the health and comfort of your children’s feet in mind. Summer activities tend to provide a lot more time to leave feet exposed and out of the open. We don’t want to rain on that parade, but taking some precautions can help avoid some particularly bothersome consequences.
We’re going to dive into a few simple summer foot care tips for your kids—and many of them can be effective for the adults, too! If you ever have any questions about your children’s foot care that aren’t addressed here, however, please don’t be afraid to contact us for some help!
Flip-flops Are Not Full-Time Footwear!
Flip-flops feel like an easy way to get your children in and out of footwear during the summer, but the negatives far outweigh the positives when it comes to using them regularly.
There is little-to-no foot support to be found in a pair of flip-flops. That lack of support can gradually lead to arch pain in all ages. Our toes also tend to subconsciously grip against the footwear for stability as well, which can lead to additional painful stress over time.
Where there’s no support, there’s also no stability. When a child starts running around in flip-flops, you can bet they’re going to fall off sooner or later—and you won’t know whether your child’s feet will be on smooth, soft grass or a hot asphalt driveway when they do!
You don’t have to throw away flip-flops entirely, though. They can be a serviceable option to wear poolside or in other public places where a small amount of protection is needed. Speaking of which…
Guard Feet in Fungal Areas
Unfortunately, our feet tend to provide a good place for all those elements to combine, as do locker rooms, public showers, and areas around public pools. Warts can also be a danger here, although they’re caused by viruses instead.
When walking around such areas, bare feet are at a much higher risk of picking up a fungal infection. This where the aforementioned flip-flops can be a protective help. If you want even more protection, shower shoes or aqua socks encase the whole foot and are much less likely to slip off.
If your children absolutely refuse to go anything but barefoot around pools and locker rooms, at the very least show them the importance of using any rinse stations that may be about. They should also make sure their feet are completely dry before putting their socks and shoes on—especially between the toes!
Socks Should Always Go with Shoes
Your kids may still have that pair of sneakers they’ll wear any time, but summer increases the odds that they will want to put them on with bare feet. This is not a good idea.
Socks provide a barrier between shoes and feet. This can help keep the shoe from rubbing against the skin too much, which can lead to blisters.
Socks also provide a barrier that absorbs sweat from the feet. This helps prevent excess moisture from becoming absorbed by the shoe itself, which not only increases its suitability for fungus but also provides a better breeding ground for stinky bacteria.
On a side note, make sure nobody in your family is swapping footwear between each other—even if they’re wearing socks! Wearing someone else’s shoes sticks your feet in whatever they have had, and their shoes are likely not made for your foot shape, either.
Protect Feet from the Sun
Getting red from the sun is a common concern in the summer, but our feet don’t often tend to get any attention when we’re putting on sunscreen.
If feet are exposed, however, they are just as likely to suffer a sunburn as any other part of our skin. This isn’t a problem if your children are wearing shoes, but make sure bare feet get some sunscreen before going out!
Apply sunscreen just as you would on any other part of the body, but don’t slather it between the toes (once again, that can make it easier for fungus to grow). For maximum effect no matter where you apply sunscreen, do not wait until just before heading out to put it on. Apply it about 30 minutes before hitting the sun so it has time to soak in, and then reapply every few hours as recommended by the directions.
If your kid’s feet do end up sunburned, try to stick to open sandals and loose socks whenever appropriate. Just make sure that footwear is not so loose as to have the foot slide around—that can cause a lot of excess rubbing that will not be comfortable.
Don’t Let Foot and Ankle Problems Sink Your Summer
A great summer is about having fun while avoiding potential bummers, but addressing any existing problems now can also contribute to a much better time.
If you or your child has been experiencing consistent foot or ankle pain, or has a condition such as plantar warts or ingrown toenails that needs attention, schedule an appointment and get it cleared up before summer is in full swing!
Give our Jasper office a call at (812) 481-7200. Or, if you prefer to contact us electronically, fill out our online contact form and a member of our staff will reach out to you.