As the winter months creep up, it’s essential to consider how your feet may be affected during this this change of season. Action to prevent complications from arising is beneficial to maintaining your foot health and staying active.

Commonly the colder months can cause or exacerbate many conditions, such as:

  • Dry and cracked skin
  • Circulatory complications, such as chilblains
  • Tinea Pedis or fungal infections on the skin or toenails
  • Ill-fitting footwear complications, such as forefoot pathologies, damaged toenails, and pressure injuries

A Podiatrist can help prevent and treat several winter-related issues and is a valuable resource if you are unsure how to care for your feet.

Dry and cracked skin

Winter can have a significant impact on our skin integrity and can be caused by multiple contributing factors including; dry air, indoor heating, the cooler temperatures and the reduction in hydration.

These factors all result in the feet being drier, increasing an individual’s susceptibility to cracks and subsequent pain. One way to combat this is using creams specific to the feet. They are used to assist in alleviating dry skin and calluses. Creams are a great way to add some moisture to your skin and strengthen the skin cells to prevent callus formation and cracking. Ingredients such as Urea are excellent in combatting dry skin, particularly on heels. Urea draws on moisture to improve hydration and helps with the exfoliation and regeneration of skin, which promotes a smooth and strong protective barrier. Being conscious of your water intake can also assist in combating dryness.


Chilblains are a common condition that occurs during the colder months. They are caused by the body’s response to sudden changes in temperature, causing small blood vessels in the skin to constrict and expand rapidly. This results in inflammation, itchiness, and sometimes pain.

Seeking assistance from a Podiatrist to manage and treat chilblains can be helpful. Podiatrists can advise how to prevent chilblains from developing and offer treatment options for those clients who have already developed the condition. This can include an assessment of the feet and toes to identify underlying conditions that could be contributing to the development of Chilblains. Your practitioner can also recommend specific creams and ointments to alleviate symptoms. Chilblains are not normal and should be attended to if you notice them on your toes or feet.


The cooler change in weather also signals a change in footwear. As boots, sneakers, and dress shoes make a comeback in the closet many have little thought about how these might impact our day-to-day foot health. Unfortunately, complications that can arise from ill-fitting footwear including blisters, calluses, and corns, as well as bursitis and neuroma complexes.

Seeking help from a Podiatrist is vital if you experience foot pain and believe this may be due to your footwear. To prevent complications, Podiatrists can also recommend appropriate shoes by assessing your individual foot structure, daily activities, and goals. They can also safely remove any callused skin or corns that have developed and introduce offloading techniques such as felt or orthotic devices to prevent a recurrence.

This is also a important to consider when returning back to winter sports, such as AFL or basketball. It would be best to consider how long you have had your football boots, basketball shoes, or runners, as this can impact their performance. Replacing shoes can differ for individuals, but you should have your footwear assessed by a professional every six months or approximately every 500km to determine if they require an upgrade or change.

Fungal nail or skin infections

The development of fungal infections, including Tinea Pedis or Onychomycosis, is widespread and, unfortunately, can be challenging to resolve. In addition, the colder weather can increase your risk of fungal infections due to spending most of the day in socks and shoes. This causes an ideal environment for fungus to thrive; warm and moist! Therefore, if you suspect you might have a fungal infection on your skin or toenails, it is crucial to seek professional advice.

Some of the ways Podiatrists can help are:

1 Diagnosing the infection- Podiatrists can diagnose fungal infections by examining the affected area and taking samples for analysis and pathology. They can then determine the appropriate course of treatment based on your activities and goals.

2. Recommend topical ointments or lacquers- there are many different types of nail lacquers and skin ointments that can be found in pharmacies and chemists. Podiatrists can recommend the most appropriate options for compliance and effectiveness.

3. Provide advice on natural at-home care- pantry and at-home staples like tea tree oil, white vinegar, and apple cider vinegar. These can all be helpful for a natural approach to your infection, a Podiatrists can advise you on the safest way to use these by avoiding any contraindications and using a safe dosage.

4. Provide nail care- your practitioner can recommend and provide nail care using sterilised equipment to manage any symptoms or side effects from fungal toenails and skin.

5. Educate on prevention- To prevent infections or reduce the risk of recurrence. They can provide up-to-date knowledge on hygiene, breathable socks, appropriate footwear options, and advice on managing high-risk environments such as communal change rooms and public swimming pools.

Throughout winter, the importance of being aware of our feet and any changes can help maintain good foot health. If you’re unsure if a symptom or complication is normal, seeking a professional opinion from a Podiatrist or appropriate allied health professional is worthwhile. Podiatrists assess, diagnose, and treat all foot health-related pathologies and injuries and get you back to doing what you love!

Disclaimer: This article was provided by Foot Centre Group in Mornington. For an appointment, please call (03) 9553 0044