By: Dr. Anna Marie Chwastiak, Spa Marbella Podiatrist
Dry, cracked heels are a common problem, especially during the summer when feet are exposed to more sun, and during the winter when the excessively dry air can sap heels of their natural moisture. Cracked heels are unattractive – they can ruin the carefree look of sandals and strappy backless heels – but if they’re not treated properly, they can become much more than a cosmetic issue. Cracked heels can also become entry point for fungal and bacterial infections of the skin, resulting in pain and other symptoms and requiring intensive medical care to treat. The best way to avoid the need for care is to prevent dry, cracked heels before they occur. What causes dry, cracked heels? Dry air and sun are the primary culprits for most people, and going barefoot and wearing flip-flops or other strapless shoes can also contribute. But while everyone can suffer from heels that become dry and leathery, some people are more prone to developing the condition, including those who have thyroid problems or diabetes, people with atopic dermatitis (eczema), and those with psoriasis. Some types of dry skin conditions can even be inherited.
How to heal cracked feet Practicing proper foot care is the best way to heal cracked feet and heels. Use these simple foot care steps at the end of each day to relieve dry skin and restore supple, soft skin to your feet:
*Cleanse your feet with a mild soap each day and dry them thoroughly to remove pathogens that could enter cracks and cause infection. Follow up with a long soak to soften skin and make it easier to remove. Warm water with a few drops of essential oil will leave feet softer and feeling more refreshed, or add some Epsom salts.
*Use a pumice stone to remove dead skin. There are plenty of products on the market to help you sough dead skin from your heels and other areas of your feet, including ones that are battery-operated and electric. Just be careful you don’t overdo it and injure new, healthy skin beneath the dead skin.
*Pamper feet with an overnight dose of moisturizer. Slather your feet with a generous amount of moisturizer, then don a pair of cotton socks to prevent the cream from being wiped off by your bedding.
Foot care doesn’t have to be time-consuming; in fact, pampering your tired feet can make your whole body feel refreshed. Make it part of your regular routine and see just how easy it is to heal cracked feet in no time.
For More Healthy Feet…Active Life Tips-call Mission Inn’s Spa Marbella at 352.324.3924 to make an appointment with our podiatrist Dr. Anna Marie.