Whether you’re slogging through deep snow and sub-zero temperatures in the north, or contending with dampness, chill and muddy conditions in the south, it’s important to take care of your feet all winter long.
The American Podiatric Medical Association offers some advice for keeping feet healthy in common winter scenarios:
• Winter is skiing and snowboarding season, activities enjoyed by nearly 10 million Americans, according to the National Ski Areas Association. Never ski or snowboard in footwear other than ski boots specifically designed for that purpose. Make sure your boots fit properly; you should be able to wiggle your toes, but the boots should immobilize the heel, instep and ball of your foot. You can use orthotics (support devices that go inside shoes) to help control the foot’s movement inside ski boots or ice skates.
• Boots are must-have footwear in winter climates, especially when dealing with winter precipitation. Between the waterproof material of the boots themselves and the warm socks you wear to keep toes toasty, you may find your feet sweat a lot. Damp, sweaty feet can chill more easily and are more prone to bacterial infections. To keep feet clean and dry, consider using foot powder inside socks and incorporating extra foot baths into your foot care regimen this winter.
• Be size smart. It may be tempting to buy pricey specialty footwear (like winter boots or ski boots) for kids in a slightly larger size, thinking they’ll be able to get two seasons of wear out of them. But unlike coats that kids can grow into, footwear needs to fit properly right away. Properly fitted skates and boots can help prevent blisters, chafing and ankle or foot injuries. Likewise, if socks are too small they can force toes to bunch together, and that friction can cause painful blisters or corns.
Number to Know
75,000: Most Americans will have walked 75,000 miles by the time they turn 50, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. Is it little wonder, then, that the APMA’s 2010 foot health survey found that foot pain affects the daily activities — walking, exercising or standing for long periods of time — of a majority of Americans?
Get outside as a family. Build a snowman or a snow fort. Or how about sledding? It’s a workout when you have to hike up a hill in the snow, help your kiddos get on the sled or up from the snow and lug that sled up the hill over and over again.
— Life Fitness
According to the Coalition for Medicare Choices, Medicare Advantage is a health benefits program available to individuals who are 65 or older or those with permanent disabilities. The coverage is provided through private health plans rather than the government and is required to meet or exceed the standards set by the original Medicare program. In addition to hospital and physician coverage, Medicare Advantage plans often include other benefits such as prescription drug, vision, hearing, dental, fitness, mental health and management of chronic illness.
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