Winter foot health

this photo shows red chilblains on the toes


Winter foot health problems include painful chilblains.

Feet are mostly “put away” in winter, stuffed in shoes and boots until spring is upon us. Just because they are out of sight they should be out of mind. Chilblains, cracked heels and corns that have miraculously improved in the summer return with a vengeance in the winter. This causes pain, misery and a loss of mobility and independence for the elderly, especially those with circulation issues, diabetes and arthritis.

Here are a few suggestions for improving winter foot health

  • Chilblains

Chilblains are painful, itchy swellings on the toes which occur as a normal reaction to the cold, particularly those with poor circulation. Outbreaks should be taken seriously as the skill surface can break causing ulcers to develop.

If you care for  someone who is susceptible to chilblains it is important to maintain a steady temperature. This can be done by wearing warm socks and shoes with  lambswool insoles. Wearing slippers in the home and bed socks at night is also a useful idea.

Encourage someone elderly with reduced mobility to wriggle their toes if they sit for a long period of time. If they do have cold feet warm them slowly. Putting them in front of a direct source of heat can make matters worse.

  • Cracked heels

Another common winter foot health problem is cracked heels. Left untreated they can also cause infections and or ulcers to develop. Moisturising the top and bottom of feet daily  can help prevent this painful condition. This may involve help from visiting carers if they are in place.

  • Corns and callous occur due to high pressure over prominent bony areas. Wearing different shoes and ensuring they are the correct length and shape for the foot helps avoid them.

I have free room thermometers available to help the elderly keep their homes at the correct temperature and avoid winter foot health problems.



Award-winning blogger and former care columnist for Devon Life magazine. I am passionate about helping elderly people and people with dementia live purposeful and independent lives.
Designer of the Dementia Assistance Card and Points Of Light award recipient, Caron hopes to help carers when resources are limited and demand is ever-increasing. I am here to support you.

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