Canberra weather is predictable - we all know that we get the lows in winter and extreme heat in summer.
And just as predictable are the foot problems we get walking through our door each summer.
The culprits? It's usually the heat, summer activities and of course those New Year's resolutions.
Today, we're sharing our top four common problems with you - and some helpful tips.
1. Cracked heels
Cracked heels are a real sign of summer. We ditch the shoes and socks to walk barefoot and walk in open-backed (often hard and flat) shoes. When you wear sandals your weight is not distributed as evenly and you're more likely to build up callus and rough, dry skin.
Start by having the hard, cracked skin removed and then moisturise your feet each day. You don't need a fancy or expensive moisturister - Sorbolene will do the trick. But you do need to moisturise every day to give your feet the best opportunity to become soft and supple.
To have the hard, cracked skin removed, see your podiatrist. They have the tools to quickly remove the dead skin and get your feet feeling soft again. It's incredible the difference that just one appointment makes - we're actually able to easily and painlessly remove the hard skin. Your feet feel light and healthy again after just 30 minutes. You'll wonder how you put up with it for so long!
2. Athlete's Foot
Athlete's foot was given this name because athletes are prone to developing this fungal nail infection. The reason for this is that they exercise hard, sweat more, and wear closed-in training shoes. Fungus thrives in warm, moist conditions like their shoes. So if they contract a fungal infection it's more likely to take hold.
In the Canberra summer, you're at risk if you wears closed-in shoes in summer. Your feet sweat in the heat and are just asking for a fungal infection. Tradies that work outdoors are prime candidates. Athlete's Foot can be itchy, red and look like small bubbles on the bottom of the foot and around and between the toes.
Start by drying your feet very well at every chance you get. After your shower, make sure that you've dried between your toes with a towel before putting your shoes on. Dry your feet after you come home from work or when you take your shoes off. Air your feet whenever you can. Try to be barefoot when you're in the house.
You can also buy some antifungal creams and powders to put on your feet and spray into your shoes and socks. Treat it quickly - Athlete's Foot is highly infectious and can spread to other members of your family or your friends - especially if you use the same shower at work, at the gym or at home.
3. Heel pain
We see heel pain, often caused by plantar fasciitis, a few times a day in summer. It happens because we're outdoors more often in summer. We come out of hibernation after a Canberra winter and get back into exercise again. And if it's combined with a New Year's resolution to get back to gym or get fitter, your feet can suffer. Heel pain can last for months if it's not treated, and its a sure way to interfere with your exercise plans.
The sooner you start treating your heel pain, the faster you are likely to be back enjoying your summer again pain free. Start by using ice, anti-inflammatoreis and elevating your foot - up on a chair or couch to reduce your pain and swelling. And see your podiatrist as soon as possible.
Your podiatrist will find out what caused the heel pain and exactly which tissue, ligament, muscle or bone has been damaged. They will show you how to stop the pain from getting worse. And they will write a treatment plan, so you have a clear idea of the exercises and treatment that needs to happen. This may include strapping your foot, fitting orthotics, advice about your shoes, dry needling and other hands-on mobilistion therapies to help the tissues recover.
4. Tired, achy legs
Feeling tired and achy in your feet and legs at the end of a long day? Trust us, you're not alone. Often, this comes down to our flatter and harder footwear choices in summer. Flatter, harder shoes and surfaces mean less shock absorption through your feet. And this is especially the case if you have high arched feet. These forces travel through your bones, joints and muscles instead, leaving you with feet and legs that get tired faster and ache more.
Choose good summer shoes. Don't worry, we're not asking you to wear running shoes all summer! But there are better solutions. We're here to give you footwear advice and while you're here, we'll work on releasing those stuck joints, releasing trigger points, dry needling and looking after your tired, achy feet and legs.
5. Sunburnt feet
We've added this sneaky little extra because it's a real Canberra thing. It's not something that patients come to see us about, but it's really important. Australians have a high risk of damaging sunburn. We chat with many people who get very sunburnt feet because they forget to apply sunblock to their feet. Our feet don't see much of the sun in winter in Canberra, so our feet are at risk in summer. If your feet get burnt, moisturise them often, use aloe vera if you have it, and try to restore that moisture to your feet to help them recover quicker.