Cracked heels, dead skin, and calluses — these are just some of the unsightly (and sometimes painful) conditions that may plague our feet. The thing is, we are more inclined to neglect our feet because unlike our face, they get to stay hidden from the world for most of the day. Avoiding slippers, sandals, and open-toe shoes might save you the embarrassment but they surely will not cure your hideous feet. If you can take care of your face, why not show your tootsies the same amount of love?
Common among women, cracked heels are mainly caused by dry skin, which stems from your skin not being able to expand or breathe when pressure is being exerted. Besides a lack of moisturising, other causes of heel fissures include long baths and excessively scrubbing your feet dry. The deeper your heel fissures, the higher chance there is for bacteria to enter the body, leading to infection or illness.
Treating Cracked Heels
The main goal is to restore moisture to your dry heels and allow healthy nutrients to penetrate into the fissures and cracks. Petroleum jelly is an inexpensive product to add moisture to your skin and can be slathered on abundantly. Apart from foot lotions which you can get from pharmacies and supermarkets, you should also consider making foot masks at home. You can mix a spoonful of oatmeal with several drops of jojoba oil and massage into your feet, leaving it on for 20 minutes before rinsing and drying with a clean towel.
Coconut oil can also be massaged into your feet and be left to soak overnight with your clean, cotton socks on. Lastly, nourish your feet for 15 minutes with a wholesome combination comprising three tablespoons of rice flour, three tablespoons of honey and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
Calluses are the formation of hard skin on your feet caused by intermittent pressure. Yes, this means that almost everyone who walks and moves about will likely experience foot calluses at some point in their life. Athletes, runners, hikers, and those who commute for long hours are more prone to foot calluses. Factors such as obesity, flat feet, and high foot arches can cause uneven pressure on the soles of feet, and this can lead to calluses.
Eliminating Foot Calluses
Fortunately, a foot callus is easy to get rid of. After all, it’s merely your feet’s way of naturally exfoliating and shedding dead skin cells. These are some routines you can adopt:
- Soak feet nightly in warm water and baking soda to break down dead skin cells and soften calluses
- An Epsom salt bath for your feet can soothe your skin as it softens
- Remember to dry your skin completely as lingering moisture can invite fungal infections
- To break dead cells down overnight, rub lactic-acid foot cream on your feet and wear socks to bed
- Use electric callus remover or pumice stone on your callus just before morning shower
- Upkeep footcare with lotions that contain moisturising ingredients like shea butter and vitamin E
Although corns are smaller as compared to foot calluses, they can be rather painful if left untreated. These small and hard lumps of dead skin have a core and are commonly found between or on top of the last two toes. Corns are caused by excessive friction and typically stem from bad-fitting shoes that keep rubbing against the skin.
While cracked heels and calluses can be mitigated on your own, removing corns often requires professional help. Do not attempt to remove corns at home using sharp objects as this can cause serious infections.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
It is always better to prevent these conditions from occurring, as treating them can be time-consuming and troublesome. Not forgetting the painful sensations you may feel when you’re up and about!
Wear The Right Shoes
We sometimes sacrifice comfort for a fashionable pair of shoes, but if you want to prevent painful corns from forming, make sure to get shoes which do not feel too snug. If you really must wear a stiff pair, be sure to get your shoes expanded or stretched out sufficiently before wearing them.
Use Moisturiser Daily
Just like how you would moisturise your face and body daily, extend the same courtesy to your feet too!
Whether you are waiting for a callus to heal or want to prevent future ones from developing, cushioned inserts can help to absorb the strain from each step you take.
Correct Your Gait
Being born with flat feet or high arches can be a challenging and painful experience. It may be worthwhile to seek help from a physio or podiatrist, who will be able to provide you with special insoles which can even out the pressure on your soles.