Clean and smooth feet are a dream for most people. Often however, you cannot avoid a puddle of dirty water during a rainy season. But dirty feet are at risk of contracting infection. Extra care is therefore necessary to maintain healthy feet, away from problems such as itching and other foot diseases, which we see on a recurring basis at our Clinic.
Fungi and bacteria grow rapidly because of high humidity. This is the case in our tropical environment; especially during the rainy season, that in our case lasts 6 months of the year. Odour of the feet can result too, as the feet are also susceptible to fungal infections of the skin, especially between the toes.
Other problems caused by fungus and bacteria are itching, stinging sensations, skin softening, and peeling.
Patients with diabetes have to take special care of the feet; since, if injury occurs, it takes a longer time to heal, including plantar warts (fish eyes) on the soles of the feet. These are more common among people who walk barefoot and more so on wet surfaces. A doctor should be seen if the condition worsens.
Why special care in the rainy season?
The rainy season is characterised by the humid, wet and sticky climate and this translates to sweaty feet, wet mucky shoes, fungal infections, athlete’s foot, and many splash puddle water that leads to other foot diseases. In fact, we are more prone to other typical rainy season diseases if we do not keep our feet clean.
The roads are full not only of water but mud, which enter our foot wear. To make things worse, we wear the wet and dirty shoes in office for hours, and then return home with swollen, unclean and smelly feet.
The feet smell because bacteria feed on the sweat from them. During the rainy season the bacteria also breed in dirty water, mud and other waterborne substances, which come in contact with our feet.
These factors make it difficult for us to maintain good foot hygiene, but it is in the rainy season that we must give more importance to foot care.
Simple foot care guidelines for the rainy season
1. Do not wear closed shoes too long when it rains. Try to get the wet shoes/sneakers off as quickly as possible.
2. Always wash and dry feet after exposure to water or being trapped in a puddle.
3. Ensure that you dry between the toes to avoid athlete’s foot from occurring.
4. Do NOT apply moisturising cream between the toes.
5. Use an antifungal wash/cream twice daily.
6. Clean under your toenails regularly to avoid accumulation of dirt.
The first and foremost necessity is to wear appropriate footwear for the season. Many women and men may opt for shoes more for fashion than comfort or season requirement. They therefore end up wearing the wrong kind of footwear that can harm their feet. The wrong kind of footwear can also splash water and mud on your clothes making them dirty or spotted. Another place that can pick up a fungus is the calf area if shorter clothing is being worn and water splashes up.
During the rainy season you need footwear that will give you good grip and will keep your feet as clean as possible, such as:
- Plastic/rubber sandals – Typical rainy season footwear that is usually always available. But make sure they fit well, as your feet need to breathe, and they need to be comfortable while travelling.
- Whole shoes – are excellent in terms of not getting your feet wet; however, it could occur in instances of heavy rains or flooding.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Don’t use canvas shoes, they soak up water and can get spoiled easily.
- Don’t use formal suede or leather shoes; the rain and puddle waters can damage them.
- Do watch the high heels; you can slip and fall as they sometimes have poor grip and can slide against the moss and fungus covered roads.
- Do wash your feet with an antiseptic every time after returning home.
- Do wash your sandals with a disinfectant, and put them in the sun to dry. If that isn’t possible, ensure that they are fully dry before further use.
- Do try to have two pairs of shoes so you can shuffle between them to avoid wearing wet shoes/sandals.
- Do opt for regular pedicures; if not in a spa or clinic, at home.
- Do ensure that nails don’t get/stay dirty. Cut them regularly. As well, try to keep them short so that dirt won’t get deposited in them.
- Do clean your footwear thoroughly before wearing.
- Do dip your feet in warm water after returning home.You can put some drops of essential oils in the water; it will help to refresh you and get rid of smelly feet.
- Do use a moisturising lotion and massage it into your feet.
There is no need to hate the rains. As long as you keep your feet clean to rid them of those infectious bacteria and dirty/muddy waters, you can enjoy the rainy weather, probably even more than the dry!
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!