Matt Wettstein, DPM
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Experienced podiatrist specializing in all foot care including wound care and sports medicine in Twin Falls.

The Downsides of Dry Feet

You don’t need us to tell you that dry, cracked feet can be intensely irritating—ugly, unsightly, itchy, uncomfortable. But the downsides don’t necessarily end there. For some people, dry skin can become severe enough to produce deep cracks underneath the heels and elsewhere. This provides ample opportunity for infections to get in. They may even bleed.

The soles of the feet don’t have any oil glands. Instead, they rely on sweat for lubrication. That’s one additional factor that makes them especially vulnerable to drying out and cracking, particularly in winter.

If you’re sick of dry feet, you’re definitely not alone. Unfortunately, the list of potential contributing causes of dry feet is a long one. That said, there are a number of effective strategies and remedies you can employ to prevent or sooth your cracking soles.

Dry feet on top of a dry desert | Expert Idaho Podiatrist

Caring for Dry Feet

If your feet are already dry and cracked, you’re going to want to treat it now. There are many different tools and products at your disposal, but it really breaks down to three basic steps: soften, exfoliate, and moisturize.

Start by softening your feet and improving your circulation with a nice foot soak for at least 15 minutes. Warm water is really all you need for this. However, if you really want the royal treatment, you can add about a cup of honey per gallon of water. (Honey contains natural enzymes that help bind moisture to the skin and accelerate the healing process.)

Next, exfoliate. This process helps remove dead skin, which can impair the healing process. Once again, you can go simple or can go fancy here. A simple pumice stone will generally do the trick. However, you may prefer to use an exfoliating scrub. You can purchase these at just about any bath goods store, or you can make your own. One popular and simple formula uses a roughly equal mix of brown sugar, olive oil, and (optionally) baking soda.

Finally, moisturize using a cream, lotion, or even applying a layer of heated paraffin wax or petroleum jelly. Put on a fresh, clean pair of sock to lock it in.

Preventing Dry Feet

As we said, there are dozens of potential causes and contributing factors to dry skin on the feet. Identifying these factors and minimizing them will help you soothe dry, cracked feet faster—and prevent them from returning.

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