Podiatrist Joseph Frenkel shares his advice on how to ward away chilblains, fungal infections and dry skin this winter.

female legs in woolen socks close up

As we pull up the bed covers, crank up the heating and pop some soup on the stove our feet are the furthest thing from our mind. But just because the temperature has dropped doesn’t mean your foot health should.

Here are my top 10 tips for keeping your feet in great shape for winter

Got air?

Although it’s cold, our feet need some fresh air and barefoot time everyday. Kick off your shoes and socks for at least 20 minutes a day to reduce sweating, fungal and bacterial infections.

The daily moisturise

Cold winter weather, translates to more time indoors. Household heating can be very drying on skin, especially hands, face and feet. Keep your skin hydrated and supple by moisturising regularly.

MORE: 7 essential winter skin care tips

Keep it natural

Socks and hosiery are standard winter dress, but synthetic materials can increase sweating and the likelihood of fungal and bacterial infections. Switch to natural fibres containing cotton and wool and your feet will thank you.

Massage your circulation problems away

Chilblains are very common in cooler weather and a good foot massage can help relieve the pain. Massage is also great for any foot aches and pains, and keeps your circulation moving.

Watch your step!

Winter doesn’t mean you should stop exercising, but it does mean you need to take a little more care when performing any outdoor exercise. Slippery surfaces and less sunlight can increase the chances of injury, so take care when enjoying the great outdoors.

MORE: 6 winter exercises to try with friends

Not too hot and not too cold

Keeping warm in winter is essential and a hot shower or bath is a great way to feel toasty. Aside from overheating leading to dry skin, high water temperatures can be dangerous around children and those with reduced sensation. Always remember to test the water first.

Switch your soap

Winter is a great time for a clothes overhaul, but have you thought about a soap or shampoo overhaul? Use a mild PH-balanced non-soap cleanser which will help keep your skin healthy and hydrated.

Study your shoes

Enclosed shoes keep out the elements during winter. Shoes should be waterproof and your soles in good conditions to help protect your feet from rain, hail and snow. Any tired looking footwear should be given the boot!

Stretch away stiffness

Snuggling up when its cold is one of the simple joys of the cold season. But hunching during cold nights can cause stiffness. Start each day with a good stretch of every muscle to keep loose and flexible.

Hit the nails

Nail growth slows in winter with a decrease in peripheral circulation. Nails are often out of sight during winter, hidden in socks and ugg boots. So make an effort to have a good look at them every day and seek professional advice if anything is bothering you.

MORE: How to care for your feet as you get older