Foot Health

Holiday feet survival guide

The holidays put great demands on the feet with all the standing, walking, shopping and dancing we do. Any foot complaint or problem can put a damper on your holiday plans. When getting ready for the holidays, your feet are the last thing on your mind. Don’t let sore, achy feet ruin your holiday season. Here is a simple guide on how your feet can survive the stress of the holidays.

If the shoe fits, wear it: This is a common time to purchase and wear new shoes. When hitting the dance floor or the shopping malls during the holiday season, don’t compromise comfort and safety when picking the right shoes to wear. Narrow toe shoes, overly-high-heeled shoes or shoes that aren’t worn very often, such as dress shoes, can irritate feet and lead to blisters, calluses, swelling and even severe ankle injuries. To prevent problems, choose a shoe that has a low to medium heel rather than a very high heel and one that fits your feet properly, especially when standing. Wearing shoes that are too small or restrictive can increase your risk of aggravating or developing ingrown toenails. It’s best to wear the appropriate style and size shoes.

Don’t overindulge in holiday cheer: Did you know your feet can feel the effects of too much holiday cheer? Certain foods and beverages high in purines, such as shellfish, red meat, red wine and beer can trigger extremely painful gout attacks, especially in the big toe joint. This will definitely affect your holiday cheer. Moderation is key – and drink lots of water to help flush out your system to prevent gout.

Be pedicure-safety conscious: Before you head for your holiday pedicure, remember some salons can be a breeding ground for bacteria, especially around very this busy time. To reduce your risk of infection, choose a salon where nail technicians are well trained and follow proper sanitation practices. Make your appointment at a time when they will not be too busy and have time to properly care for your feet. Consider purchasing your own pedicure instruments to take along with you to your appointment.

Watch for accidents and falls: Holiday time can be dangerous with all the decorations, lighting and lots of parties outside in the dark, while wearing high heel shoes. These factors can all add up to falls and accidents that can ruin your holiday. Use caution when traveling outdoors; watch for uneven surfaces and hills as you walk. Falling or twisting the ankle while wearing high heels can make the fall or sprain worse or lead to breaking the ankle or foot. If you do experience a fall, take a break from the holiday activities until you can be seen by your podiatrist. Use R.I.C.E. therapy (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) to help reduce the pain and control swelling around the injured area.

“Listen” to your feet: Don’t let foot pain ruin your holiday fun; inspect your feet regularly for any evidence of ingrown toenails, bruising, swelling, blisters, dry skin or calluses. If you notice any pain, swelling or signs of any problems, make an appointment with your podiatrist as soon as possible. Often, especially for persons with diabetes, what may seem like a simple issue can turn into a big problem if medical care is delayed for too long.

Conquer calluses and corns: Calluses and corns appear when dead skin builds up on the heels, toes and bony areas of the feet. Wearing the right size and style shoes is important for decreasing or preventing calluses and corns. You can also gradually reduce them by gently rubbing them with a pumice stone or foot file immediately after showering. This will relieve some of the pain. Consult a podiatrist if your calluses or corns are especially painful and difficult to remove. Removing corns and calluses will help your shoes fit and feel better for all your holiday events.

Address ingrown toenails and other foot problems: Athletes and dancers tend to suffer the most from ingrown toenails, which are often caused by tight shoes rubbing on the toes during physical activity or walking. It is best to cut the toenails straight across rather than in the corners to reduce the likelihood that the nails will grow into the skin. Wearing new, especially tight high shoes during the holiday time can aggravate or even cause ingrown toenails. Making sure you are wearing the correct size and style shoes can prevent ingrown toenails. Soaking the toe in cool water and vinegar twice a day for about 10 to 15 minutes can reduce pain and inflammation and provide some relief. If the pain continues, it’s time to see the podiatrist. Diabetics are not to soak their feet, but rather see a podiatrist right away.

Put your feet up: Christmas is a time to take a break, relax and spend time with family and friends. It’s time to take a load off, put your feet up and relax. Be sure to treat your feet with love and kindness this holiday season, so they can bring you through all those joyous holiday events and errands with ease.

• For more information email us at, or to see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre, Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates Centre, Hilltop Medical Centre, East Terrace Centreville or telephone 394-5820; or Lucayan Medical Centre, East Sunrise Highway, Freeport, Grand Bahama, every first and third Thursday, telephone 373-7400.

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