Women's Health     Healthy Kids     Teen Health    

How to keep feet and ankles in tip top shape this summer



Experts offer tips for you and your family

How to keep feet and ankles in tip top shape this summer

Summer fun and chores alike come with potential hazards to feet. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, here’s how to protect feet and ankles from the most common seasonal hazards:

Be DIY Safe

DIY projects like power washing, roofing and decking require ramped up safety measures. Always wear closed-toed shoes with traction to prevent injuries, splinters, puncture wounds and falls. Mowing can be particularly hazardous. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates more than 37,000 Americans suffer a power mower-related injury annually.

“Lawnmower blades whirl at 3,000 revolutions per minute. Yet we see patients who’ve been hurt operating a mower barefoot,” said Matthew Dairman, DPM, FACFAS, a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon and a Fellow Member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS). “Foot injuries range from dirty, infection-prone lacerations to severed tendons to amputated toes. People need to take lawn mowing safety seriously because the injuries can, indeed, be very serious.”

To avoid becoming a statistic, follow these sensible guidelines:

  • Don’t mow a wet lawn. Losing control from slipping on rain-soaked grass is the leading cause of foot injuries caused by power mowers.
  • Wear heavy shoes or work boots—no sneakers or sandals.
  • Never pull a running mower backward.
  • Keep the clip bag attached during operation to prevent projectile injuries.
  • Use a mower with a release mechanism that automatically shuts it off when hands let go.
  • Always keep children away during mowing.
  • If an accident occurs, even a minor one, consult a foot and ankle surgeon right away.
Wear Sunscreen

Many people skip their feet when applying sunscreen, but did you know that the skin on your feet is highly susceptible to melanoma? In fact, it’s the most diagnosed and fatal site of this form of skin cancer. Other types of skin cancer can also be found on the foot, including squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma. To keep your feet safe this summer:

  • Lather up with sunscreen from head to toe—literally.
  • Check your feet and toes regularly for abnormal looking moles or freckles, even under toenails and on your soles. Promptly schedule an appointment with your foot and ankle surgeon to have suspicious marks examined.
  • Schedule routine exams so your foot and ankle surgeon can track suspicious, changing marks. Early detection is key.
Limit Flimsy Footwear

While it’s nice to let feet breathe in flip flops and they’re a great choice for locker rooms and pools to avoid fungus and athlete’s foot, they shouldn’t be your main footwear of choice all summer. Flip flops lack arch support and stability, so wearing them too often can cause stress on the plantar fascia—the band of tissue extending from the heel to the base of the toes. This can result in plantar fasciitis, causing heel pain upon getting up in the morning and after inactivity. To avoid developing issues, which can take a long time to treat and subside, consider wearing structured sandals with proper shock absorption and arch support. If you can’t live without flip flops, wear them sparingly to keep your feet in good shape. And if you’ll be traveling, pack tennis shoes for sightseeing, hikes and other weight-bearing activities.

Be Mindful of Diabetes

People living with diabetes should never go barefoot, because their nervous system may not “feel” an injury and their circulatory system will struggle to heal breaks in the skin.

“Most patients living with diabetes know they shouldn’t walk barefoot but can be more inclined to disregard this precaution in summer. However third-degree burns on the soles of feet can occur in a matter of minutes,” says Dr. Dairman.

This summer, be smart. Take care of your feet so they take care of you. If you suffer a foot and ankle injury this summer, visit FootHealthFacts.org for valuable foot and ankle health information and to find a physician near you.

(State Point)


Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • Residential refresh

    Personalized touches for your home

    Your home is an expression of you, your personality, and your lifestyle. When it comes to personalizing your home’s aesthetic, try leaning into your senses to inspire change within your space. read more »
  • An elevated sandwich for any occasion

    Your family is going to love this

    They might not be the fanciest of foods, but when you eat a filling, protein-packed sandwich, you are usually left satisfied and full of energy. From ham and turkey to mayo and mustard, the possibilities are nearly endless when sandwiches are on the menu. read more »
  • Graduation party planning

    5 tips to make yours awesome

    Graduation marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, a significant milestone worth celebrating. However, planning a graduation party can be overwhelming. read more »
  • Know as they grow

    How birth defects affect each stage of life

    Birth defects, structural changes that affect one or more parts of the body, are the leading cause of infant mortality. A baby is born with a birth defect every 4.5 minutes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). read more »
  • Almost two-thirds of home fires are due to human error

    Here's how to prepare

    The threat of a home fire is greater than most people think. 40% of people believe they are more likely to win the lottery or get struck by lightning than experience a home fire, yet residential fires are the most common disaster people face in the United States, according to the American Red Cross. read more »
  • How to erase negative self-talk and feel better

    Writing can help

    It’s been four years since the collective trauma of the pandemic created widespread grief, anxiety, and isolation, but the psychological wounds of this period have not fully healed. read more »
  • 7 ways to reduce energy bills during summer heat

    Don't let your budget get smoked during a heat wave

    With temperatures forecasted to run at least 2 degrees higher than historical averages across more than half the country, according to projections from AccuWeather, heat waves may lead to soaring air-conditioning bills this summer. read more »
  • Celebrate Father's Day with exciting outdoor activities

    5 ideas for a day of fun for the special guy in your life

    A thoughtful card or personalized gift can go a long way on Father’s Day, but what many dads (and grandpas) want on their special day is time spent with loved ones. read more »
  • Preparing for your first pet

    5 tips for new pet owners

    Welcoming a new pet into your family can be an exciting addition, but preparation is required to provide a loving home and enjoy the unconditional love of a four-legged family member. read more »
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy 101

    What every student-athlete should know

    Heart conditions may be more often associated with older individuals, but you might be surprised to learn hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common condition responsible for sudden cardiac death in young athletes. In fact, it’s the cause of 40% of sudden cardiac death cases. read more »