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Time to get your feet summer ready

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SALT LAKE CITY — Warmer temperatures spark plans for outdoor activities and vacations, and that means more wear and tear on your feet. But following a few simple tips from a podiatrist might keep you on your toes this summer.

"Check your feet every day and that means top and bottom," says Dr. Annemarie Edwards, a podiatrist with Intermountain Healthcare.

Andrea Swensen is getting her feet ready to hit the track, the pool and the beach for the spring and summer seasons.

"And, since you are going to be out in the sun, make sure that you put sunscreen on the top of your feet as well as the bottom," Edwards tells Swensen.

"Why are you putting sunscreen on the bottom of your feet? I've never heard of that," Swensen asks.

"You cannot only get a sunburn on the top of your feet but it would be extremely painful on the bottom," Edwards replies.

Edwards knows that sore feet can put more than a cramp in an active lifestyle. This time of year, Swensen is busy running half marathons.

"My first marathon, I didn't wear the right shoes so both my big toenails came off," Swensen says.

Edwards says the answer to that type of pain is really pretty easy. "Make sure that you buy a good shoe. The best time to buy shoes is at the end of the day when your foot is the most swollen."

Edwards suggests breaking new shoes in before taking them on vacation. But there is one item she believes you should pack. "I always tell patients if they are going to be traveling to carry like a little first aid kit for the feet."

Inside that first aid kit for feet, Edwards recommends packing Band-Aids, antibiotic cream, blister pads, toenail clippers, a pumice stone and sunscreen.

Our feet are sensitive, especially in the summer when they are constantly pounding hot pavement.

"If you're going to be going on vacation and walking a lot, make sure you drink lots of water," says Edwards.

Hydrating will keep leg and foot swelling down. Edwards also encourages her patients not to abandon footwear poolside or even in their hotel room. Sandals and flip-flops are required to keep your feet protected from extreme heat and possible bacterial infection.

"Your feet allow you to walk and have fun on your vacation, so you want to take care of your feet so you have a really fantastic time," Edwards says.

Podiatrists also suggest doing some ankle flexes, toe wiggles and calf stretches to keep the blood flowing through your feet, especially on days when you are on them from sunrise to sundown.

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