By JAY MERMELSTEIN, DPM
February 02, 2021
Category: Foot Care
Dry, flaky feet are incredibly common, particularly during the cold, winter months; however, if you find yourself dealing with dry or cracked feet throughout the year, especially around the heels, you may be wondering what you can do about it. Instead of just waiting until your feet become dry and flaky, your podiatrist can provide you with some easy skin care tips to keep your feet supple and free from dry skin all year long.
Wear Appropriate, Supportive Footwear
Certain shoes can leave you prone to cracked heels and dry skin due to friction from wearing loose-fitted shoes. People who wear sandals and other open-heeled shoes are more at risk for developing cracked heels. Instead, opt for closed-heeled shoes that fit properly and provide support.
Lose Excess Weight
If you are overweight, you may be surprised to discover that this could be contributing to your dry, cracked heels. This is because your feet take on all of your weight while standing, walking, and running. By safely dropping that excess weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise you can alleviate some of the pressure placed on your heels to reduce the risk of cracking.
Avoid Hot Showers
While we know just how luxurious it feels to stand in a steaming hot shower, especially during the winter months, this could be contributing to dry skin on your feet and cracked heels. If this is something you deal with regularly you may look at your current bathing or showering ritual to see if that could be the culprit. Simply use warm and not hot water, which can strip the skin of the oils it needs to stay moist.
Apply a Moisturizer
You should moisturize your feet every day to prevent dry skin from happening in the first place. Moisturizers that contain lactic acid, glycerin, or petroleum jelly can help to lock in moisture in your feet. Moisturize every time you get out of the shower and throughout the day, especially before going to bed. If you are prone to very dry, cracked feet, you may wish to moisturize and then wear socks to bed.
If these simple home measures don’t work, then you’ll want to consult your podiatrist to see if they can recommend a prescription-strength moisturizer or cream to reduce dryness and inflammation. Since dry, cracked feet can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health problem like diabetes, it’s a good idea to see your doctor if you’re dealing with this problem regularly.
While dry skin isn’t usually a concern for healthy individuals, if you have diabetes, you’ll need to be extra careful when it comes to treating even minor problems like dry, cracked, or flaky skin. To be on the safe side, it’s best to speak with a qualified podiatrist to find out how to treat cracked skin to prevent infection. Call your foot doctor today.