The holidays are coming fast, and the snow seems like it is here to stay. Many are excited for all of the fun things the snow brings with it whether it’s skiing, sledding, or just building a snowman! Unfortunately, when the temperatures turn cold and the snow falls, it brings with it an increased risk for foot or ankle injuries . Throughout the winter months, some hospitals report up to a 500 percent increase in emergency room visits, in part due to injuries from slips and falls. As the holidays approach, you don’t want an injury to ruin your yuletide glee! The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) offers some tips and guidelines to help you keep your holidays happy and your feet healthy!

1. Wear the Right Shoes – Wear shoes or boots with traction to prevent slipping. Avoid high heeled shoes or boots when walking outdoors. Wearing the wrong shoes while shopping can cause blisters, calluses, and ankle injuries. Choose safety over fashion!
2. Keep Your Feet Dry – Wet feet are cold feet and can be harmful. Moisture-wicking socks and water resistant footwear can help keep your feet warm and dry.
3. Watch For Ice and Snow Along Your Path – Keep areas around your home free from snow and ice. Keep your home well lit so visitors can see any ice or snow patches that remain. Check for slippery spots before getting out of the car and while walking along the path.
4. Stretch Before Winter Activities – Skiing, snowboarding, and even shoveling can be hard on the body. Make sure to warm-up and stretch before doing any physical labor or activities.
5. Prevent Frostbite – Limit your time outdoors in the extreme cold temperatures. Keep your feet as warm and as dry as possible. If frostbite occurs, immerse them in warm water. Avoid hot water, vigorous rubbing, massaging, or using hot air to dry the feet if they are numb. This can cause more injuries.
6. Be Picky About Your Pedicure – Choose only a salon that is licensed and follows proper safety precautions to reduce your risk of bacterial infections.
7. R.I.C.E – If you injure your foot or ankle, follow the R.I.C. E. protocol.
R est: Stay off the injured area. Walking can make injuries worse.
I ce: Ice the area for 20 min, then let it rest for 40 minutes, then ice the area again. Do not put ice directly on skin.
C ompression: An elastic wrap can be used to control the swelling.
E levate: Keep the foot elevated above the heart if possible to avoid swelling.
8. Seek Help – If a fracture or ankle sprain is expected, do not delay treatment. Early intervention can lead to a quicker recovery, while waiting for treatment can make the injury worse. Contact your foot and ankle surgeon for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
9. 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, or calluses. If you have any issues, contact your foot and ankle surgeon.

By following these guidelines, it can help keep your feet happy and healthy all winter long. If you are experiencing any pain in your feet or ankles, contact Dr. Kylin Kovac! He can help you get back on your feet to enjoy all the activities the winter can bring!

Some content provided by The ACFAS.