by Jeddie Russell
Cracked heels and dry feet, like anything else, are never caused by one thing. Genetics and environment are two main causes. However, even though you inherited your mother or father’s feet doesn’t mean you have to have the same outcome. While reading this, stop and take a moment to think about the environments your feet are exposed to. When are your feet at their best? What do you think is contributing to your dry cracked feet (assuming you’re reading this because you have dry feet or cracked heels)?
Is your foot environment care free, maybe with sandals all summer, tight socks and dark, dank boots all winter? Feet take the brunt of our lifestyle and could use a little extra attention; especially in dryer conditions. When discovering ways to care for your feet this winter consider the following tips.
One: Do not over soak your feet.
Especially in salts. Did you know that soaking for more than 10 minutes increases the fragility of the skin while dehydrating it? While salt soaks are widely promoted for their virtuous claims of helping to rid impurities this practice can be dehydrating. You can see this dehydrating effect by soaking a potato in salty water. The water is “sucked” osmotically out of the potato cells making the potato limp and without the plumpness we desire in a potato.
Two: Feet need attention.
Causes of cracking and callus build up is most often a foot wear problem and not a foot problem. For example, the heel strikes the ground first – what exactly is your heel doing when striking? What is your heel and foot’s striking environment; does your heel slide around?
Toes, by gravity alone, are the endpoint of the skin’s elimination and may collect and shed a lot of debris – which needs to be cleaned away regularly.
Shaving and aggressive buffing of wet skin – which is fragile – promotes cracking. Instead, before they get wet, gently dry buff your feet regularly.
Wash your feet and each toe with a soft washcloth and a mild, pure soap. Rub well around each toenail, and scrub the soles of your feet. While your feet are still damp apply a thoughtfully selected product sparingly, blot your moisturized feet dry. Just before putting your socks dry well between each toe (floss your toes!).
Note, sweaty feet may feel moist and can also become dry and cracked.
Three: Skin products.
Skin is a lovely, huge organ of absorption and elimination. Consider your product use: soaps, creams, oils, butters, and lotions. Products can build up in a layer on the skin that needs to be washed off. Products are seductive in their claims. Moisture is best delivered from inside out, does your diet contain enough hydrating and nourishing foods?
Caring for your feet takes attention. Greet your feet everyday, it pays off. In closing, for a good night sleep try washing your feet before bed.
For more information visit WalkOnFootCare.com.
Jeddie Russell, R.N., BScN, MEd is a Certified Foot Care Nurse based in Whitehorse. She owns and operates WalkOn Footcare to help increase the capacity of individuals and organizations to care for feet. When not working, you can find her Walking On. For other things up with feet, visit WalkOnFootcare.com.