Wet Feet in Portland

The Importance of Proper Foot Care in Portland’s Wet Climate

What’s the worst that can happen if your feet get a little wet traipsing through Portland’s damp climate? When your feet remain in soggy conditions, they can develop uncomfortable and even downright painful health issues. 

From fungal infections to a scary cold injury that can occur even when the temperature is above freezing, the Portland podiatrists at Northwest Extremity Specialists have seen it all. We treat a comprehensive array of foot conditions to give you relief and advise you on proper foot care to minimize future recurrence. 

Health Problems Linked to Wet Feet 

If you’ve ever been stuck in soaked socks and waterlogged shoes, you know how uncomfortable wet feet can get. What you might not know is that allowing your feet to stay wet for an extended period of time can contribute to foot health issues.


In the moisture that gets trapped in your shoes and socks, fungus and bacteria grow and multiply, infecting your feet. 

Athlete’s foot is an infection characterized by a scaly, red rash. Fungi, known as dermatophytes, cause this itchy and uncomfortable condition, which can spread over the feet and produce severe blisters. Although athlete’s foot can often be treated with over-the-counter medications, professional medical intervention may be necessary for persistent or recurrent conditions.

Wet feet can also contribute to fungal nail infections, also known as onychomycosis. This fungal infection may cause toenails to become discolored, brittle, ragged, or misshapen. In people with poor immune system function, this condition may pose more serious consequences. Common treatments for nail fungus include antifungal medications and laser treatments

Trench Foot 

When your feet are stuck in wet socks and shoes, they often feel cold. Prolonged exposure to wet footwear can lead to a cold injury called trench foot syndrome. In this condition, the tissues and skin of the foot begin to break down, and the blood vessels in the feet become narrower. Itching, numbness, swelling, pain, and changes in skin color, sensitivity, and temperature can all result from trench foot syndrome. 

Trench foot syndrome also puts you at risk of infections, blisters, and sores. 

Blisters, Rashes, and Sores (Oh My!) 

Even relatively mild foot health problems can compromise your quality of life. The friction of wet shoe linings rubbing against the skin of your feet, even if you’re wearing socks, can cause chafing and irritation. 

Mild blisters, sores, and rashes may improve on their own or with over-the-counter home treatments. However, persistent, painful sores and rashes may necessitate medical intervention, especially if they get worse instead of better. 

Who’s Most at Risk of Wet Feet-Related Health Problems? 

Promptly treating even minor foot wounds is particularly important for people with diabetes. Patients with diabetes are at an increased risk of dry skin and diminished blood flow to the legs and feet. This makes them more susceptible to blisters and foot sores that take a long time to heal, as well as infections from even minor wounds.

How to Avoid Health Problems Caused by Wet Feet

With proper foot care, including care from a doctor who specializes in podiatry, you can treat these health conditions and avoid future wet feet-related problems. 

Dry Off Your Feet… 

The simplest way to avoid the health problems that result from wet feet is to keep your feet as dry as possible. 

Consider strategies like the following: 

  • Remove your wet shoes and socks right away 
  • Allow your feet and footwear to dry out
  • Keep alternate footwear and a towel to dry your feet with you on rainy days
  • Choose shoes and socks that fit properly and are in good, undamaged condition 

… But Keep Feet Moisturized, Too

Conversely, keeping the skin of your feet hydrated can help prevent them from developing blisters and sores when stuck in wet conditions for a short time. Dry, cracked heels are more prone to wounds and, in turn, infections. Make moisturizing a regular part of your foot care routine. 

The Portland podiatrists at Northwest Extremity Specialists generally recommend using paraben-free lotions made from shea butter, mineral oil, or glycerin daily after bathing. 

Why You Need to See a Podiatrist 

Foot health symptoms can quickly impact your life, whether because it hurts to walk or because you’re continually distracted by itchy skin. If you suffer from any foot problems that negatively affect your health or your life, it’s a wise idea to see a podiatrist

Podiatrists diagnose and treat all conditions of the feet, from rashes and infections to issues concerning the tendons, bones, and nerves. Instead of being passed around from doctor to doctor, consulting a podiatrist means turning over your care to a specialist in all aspects of foot health. 

Contact a Portland podiatrist if you have persistent foot health symptoms that aren’t improving. 

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