Best Summer Socks To Keep You Cool

Best summer socksTransitioning into the warmer weather means switching out of boots and into airy sandals. However, for those sporty days you need the right socks. And of course no one likes sweaty feet!  Which is why breathable socks are a must. Many of us make sure to choose the easier and breezier fabrics for our shirts to help reduce underarm perspiration when it’s hot out, but feet need love too. Especially because this is one of the more dangerous areas for sweat to accumulate.

If too much sweat is trapped on your feet for too long because your socks or shoes don’t allow enough air to pass through, it could actually lead to some pretty uncomfortable situations. That dark, warm, and damp environment is ideal for bacteria and fungi to grow and thrive. Eventually, your feet could develop skin rashes, yeast infections, athlete’s foot, fungal toenails, and warts. So to make sure your feet can breathe better on days when socks are a must, here are seven of the best pairs to sport when the weather is warm.

1. Go With Wool

It may sound counterintuitive to wear wool socks on a hot summer day, but more and more outdoor experts understand this natural fiber’s benefits, especially when it comes from merino sheep, a breed common in New Zealand.

Miraculously, the same tiny crimped merino wool fibers that keep you warm in winter also cool you in sweaty conditions through the process of “evaporative cooling.” They act as perfect little wicks to pull moisture off your skin, move it across the face of the fabric, and expose it to the outside air, where it can evaporate quickly. These wicks make wool a better moisture manager than many other fabrics.

In response, merino wool is ideal for those long summer days or hot hikes that will get your feet perspiring. What’s more, the material also keeps odors to a minimum and is extremely stretchy, staying snug against your foot without bunching up in the toe or heel. When combined with synthetics, it has greater wicking properties, keeps your feet dry, and even airs out quickly if that puddle ends up being deeper than you thought.

2. Avoid Cotton

Even though cotton is a cool, soft material, it quickly drenches your feet in sweat. Once this happens, don’t expect them to dry quickly, either.

When it comes to warm-weather activities like long walks or hiking, experts say to avoid anything labeled “100% cotton,” as this combination absorbs rather than wicks away sweat, gives no insulation, and, while lightweight, rubs against your skin to create blisters.

This isn’t to say you should completely stay away from anything with cotton in it. The lighter feel proves to be an asset in hot and wet conditions, so, instead, look for a sock with a low percentage of cotton.

3. Go Light

In summer heat, the average pair of feet sweats a shot-glass worth of water a day. To keep things cooler and to reduce perspiration, go with a lightweight sock. Though they’re thin, lightweight socks specifically built for hiking are still designed with extra cushioning in the heel and ball of your foot.

4. Sock Height

Warm weather makes you feel freer and that might mean going without socks at all to stay cool and fashionable. However this is not a good idea as you can damage the sensitive skin on your feet by rubbing inside your shoe, bring on funguses due to the dark dampness, and also wear out your shoes prematurely. It’s best to look for low cut socks that sit below the ankle or no show socks that give you the best of both worlds, and keep you cooler.

To help eliminate odor, bacteria and fungi, you might want to try the summer-friendly, thin “copper sole technology” sock by Aetrex. These comfortable dress or sport socks have been clinically proven and utilizes copper ions embedded in the yarn. Go to aetrex.com/women/aetrexcoppersocks for a wide selection to choose from.

Conditions That Cause Heel Pain In Adolescents

Is it growing pains or something else?

Heel pain is a very common symptom in adults, but children and teens may also complain of it. Most often the discomfort is short lived, caused by a growth spurt, especially in active kids. However, there are several other conditions that can cause heel pain in young people. Try to determine when it may be normal growing pains and when heel pain may indicate a more serious condition.

Address pain early, avoid long recovery

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons stresses that athletes should never “play through the pain” in their feet. Left untreated, heel pain can lead to difficulty in walking that will require complicated therapy.

Growing Pains Affecting the Heel

During a growth spurt, your child’s heel bone grows faster than the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in her leg. In fact, the heel is one of your child’s first body parts to reach full adult size. When the muscles and tendons can’t grow fast enough to keep up, they are stretched too tight.
If your child is very active, especially if she plays a sport that involves a lot of running and jumping on hard surfaces (such as soccer, basketball, or gymnastics), it can put extra strain on her already overstretched tendons. This leads to swelling and pain at the point where the tendons attach to the growing part of her heel.
During growth spurts, a bone may grow faster than muscle, resulting in muscle or tendon strain that causes mild pain or discomfort. It tends to occur late in the day or at night, after a busy day of activity.

Calcaneal Apophysitis

The calcaneus, also known as the heel bone, has an area where bone growth occurs (known as an apophysis). It is located at the back of the heel bone, near where the Achilles tendon attaches. This growth plate is subject to pulling and tension from the tendon, which can lead to a painful heel.
Calcaneal apophysitis, which is also called Sever’s disease, usually occurs between the ages of 7 and 14. The condition can be aggravated by increased activity, especially if there has been strain placed on the Achilles tendon from such activities as jumping or sprinting. Examples include heel pain from soccer and basketball.

Achilles Tendonitis

Like calcaneal apophysitis, Achilles tendonitis is brought on by strain on the Achilles tendon, either by increased activity or tightness of the calf muscles, which kids commonly experience during growth spurts. The tendon is painful with activity (especially running and jumping) and in the morning there is often pain and stiffness.

Bursitis

Bursitis can also cause pain and swelling near where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone. Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa, which is a pocket of fluid adjacent to the tendon. Bursitis is caused by tendon strain or irritation of the tendon from rubbing against a tight shoe.

Plantar Fasciitis

Pain on the bottom of the heel may be caused by plantar fasciitis. The condition is caused by inflammation on the underside of the heel bone, where a band of connective tissue called the plantar fascia attaches. Plantar fasciitis is often caused or aggravated by problems with foot function, such as flat feet or high-arched feet. Children will usually say that their heel pain is worse in the morning and with activity.

Less Common Causes

Seek a medical evaluation if treatment for the common causes of heel pain does not result in improvement. Here are less common, but more serious conditions that can cause heel pain.

Treatment

What all of these conditions have in common is that they are caused by physical stress on the feet. Once a diagnosis has been made, the treatment plan will likely involve rest and daily stretching of the ankle and foot. Sometimes physical therapy is recommended to improve flexibility and strength.

If structural or functional problems with a child’s feet are contributing to the heel pain, a podiatrist may prescribe or recommend shoe orthotics or some other change in footwear. An ankle brace or support may also be prescribed.

How Nutrition Can Affect Your Feet

How Nutrition Can Affect Your Feet

Eating certain foods can reduce the risk for inflammation and other diseases that can affect your feet.

A healthy diet can help manage chronic conditions that cause foot problems. When most people think about nutrition and health, they typically associate the food that they eat with weight management or heart health. But diet plays many important roles in overall health and can affect different parts of the body, even our feet, says Sherri Greene, DPM, a podiatrist in New York City who practices holistic foot care.

“When I explain to people that your feet are connected to the rest of your body, and what you put into your body is what makes up your body, then they get it,” Dr. Greene says.

Inflammation, Diet, and Your Feet

Medical research, including a review of studies published in October 2015 in the British Journal of Nutrition, suggests that what we eat can affect inflammation in the body, which is a risk factor for many chronic conditions.

“Generally, inflammation is a defense mechanism in the body that helps stop growth of abnormal cells, promotes healing of injured tissues, and signals cells to fight off viral and bacterial infections,” says Shilpi Agarwal, MD, a family physician in Washington, DC. “But when inflammation persists, it requires the body to recruit different mediators to protect the cells. When these mediators are present for prolonged periods of time, they can destroy healthy tissue and trigger disease.”

Inflammation is a common cause of foot pain associated with types of inflammatory arthritis such as psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. It can also strike the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot, causing the intense heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

Many common foods are believed to encourage inflammation, such as the refined grains, sugar, and trans fats in baked goods and junk foods; the saturated fat in red meat; and the omega-6 fats found in many commonly used vegetable oils, such as corn, soybean, and sunflower oils, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

People may also develop increased levels of inflammation in their bodies due to chronic allergies to common foods such as wheat, Greene says. One 2014 case study suggests that eliminating the protein gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye may benefit patients with plantar fasciitis. The study reported the case of a woman whose plantar fasciitis went into remission when she maintained a gluten-free diet, but it did not prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship and only included one patient.

Another dietary factor that can contribute to inflammation is eating too many foods that cause your blood sugar to rise quickly, such as sweets, white flour, and pasta.

To reduce inflammation, Greene advises patients to eat more omega-3 fats. Fatty fish such as salmon, as well as fish oil supplements, are good sources of omega-3s, she says. Most people’s diets provide far more omega-6s than omega-3s, so a fish-rich diet can address this imbalance.

A healthy diet with anti-inflammatory benefits is rich in green vegetables and other fresh plant foods, and eliminates refined grain foods and sugary treats.

Osteoporosis, Diet, and Your Feet

Many chronic conditions that affect the feet can be better managed by eating right. One such condition is osteoporosis, a disease of progressive bone loss.

Osteoporosis is associated with an increased risk of fractures, and one of the first signs of the disease is often a stress fracture in the foot. Increasing your dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D can decrease the risk of a fracture, as can other lifestyle changes like regular exercise.

Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are among the best dietary sources of calcium. But remember that saturated fats, which are found in full-fat dairy products, are on the list of things that can increase inflammation.

You can also get dietary calcium from some green vegetables; and many products such as certain cereals, breads, and juices contain added calcium. Vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium, can be found in fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna.

Peripheral Artery Disease, Diet, and Your Feet

Two common conditions that affect millions of Americans’ feet are peripheral artery disease and diabetes. These conditions can damage arteries that bring blood to your lower extremities.

One of the ways peripheral artery disease (PAD) is diagnosed is by comparing the blood pressure in your feet to the blood pressure in your arms. This test, known as an ankle-brachial index (ABI), determines how well blood is flowing. According to the American Heart Association, the ankle pressure is normally at least 90 percent of the arm pressure, but with severe narrowing it may be less than 50 percent.

Common symptoms of peripheral artery disease may include discomfort in the muscles of your feet. In severe cases, patients have extreme pain or tingling in the feet or toes.

A diet that is low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium, while also rich in fruits and vegetables, can help reduce your risk of peripheral artery disease, according to the American Heart Association. A January 2015 study published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery also recommends consuming omega-3s as a way to lower the risk of peripheral artery disease.

Diabetes, Diet, and Your Feet

Like peripheral artery disease, diabetes can cause many types of foot problems, from skin changes to nerve damage, or neuropathy. According to the National Institutes of Health, as much as 70 percent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy. Symptoms may include burning pain, tingling, or weakness in the feet.

An estimated 1 out of every 3 people with diabetes over age 50 also has peripheral artery disease, according to the American Diabetes Association.

A healthy diet is one of the keys to controlling blood sugar levels and managing your diabetes. A diabetes diet, like any healthy eating plan, means eating fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and moderate amounts of whole grains and healthy fats.

Weight, Diet, and Your Feet

Given that your feet bear the weight of your entire body, it’s not surprising that being overweight can lead to foot problems. Excess body weight increases your chances of a variety of painful conditions in the feet.

Besides the other benefits of a healthy diet, weight management can help avoid or manage conditions affecting the feet. “Even 25 extra pounds can tip the scales to more problems in the foot and ankle,” says James Mahoney, DPM, an associate professor of podiatric surgery at Des Moines University in Iowa.

Credit / view source: https://www.everydayhealth.com/foot-health/nutrition-and-your-feet.aspx

By  Eric Metcalf, MPH

Medically Reviewed by  Justin Laube, MD