Winter Feet

If you are anything like me, with winter just around the corner you are dreading the static infused hair and dry scaly skin. A lot of us are also up against dry callused feet that often lead to dry cracked heels. For most people those dry cracked heels are not only unsightly and embarrassing, but are a major source of pain. I’m here with the good news – most minor cracked heels are easily treated. The soft supple feet are easily achievable with some at home remedies,  but for the best results a Podologist can help remove the dead skin from your feet in as little as half an hour, leaving your feet feeling soft, smooth and moisturized for longer.

It’s important to also understand the root of cracked heels and what is causing the splitting of the skin. There are several reasons why this could be occurring, first it could just be due to dryness or callus (thickening of the skin) that over time cracks due to pressure in the area. The reason behind the cracking is that when our heels become dry and the skin thickens it also loses its elasticity and suppleness. These minor cracks can lead to deep painful fissures just from walking and can sometimes cause bleeding cracked heels.

Some of the Causes of Cracked Heels:

  • Improper footwear or walking in bare feet
  • Heavy pressure on the heels when walking and standing for long period of time(especially on hard flooring)
  • Unhealthy, dry, scaly skin can cause a fungal infection or tinea pedis
  • Circulation issues, hormonal conditions, vitamin deficiency, and diet

Cracked heels are not always a condition caused by wearing ill-fitting shoes, it can be due to genetics. Our skin type is often genetic and some people may experience thick callused heels that never crack, and some have callused heels that crack after a long day of walking. Other medical conditions that can cause cracked heels are; diabetes, venous stasis dermatitis, or dermatitis caused by tinea pedis or athletes foot.

Visiting a Podologist is usually the quickest way to soft, smooth heels. A treatment for dry callused heels typically involves a Podologist safely removing the dead skin – this sounds frightening to a lot of people especially those who have experienced the nightmare pedicure that left them essentially immobile, but as a Podologist I am specifically trained to remove a healthy amount of the hard callused skin. A Podologist can also provide you with information on treatments you could do at home, suggest proper medicated creams best for your skin type and health history, cleaning the dead skin to help the healing process, and treat the underlying cause to your cracked heels.

About the author ...

Michele Sinclair, Certified Pedorthist, is a member of the Pedorthic Association of Canada as well as The College of Pedorthics of Canada. She graduated from George Brown College from the Prosthetic and Orthotic Technician Program with Honors. Through the years Michele has obtained experience performing biomechanical gait analysis, casting using plaster, biofoam, wax and CAD Technology systems.

Keeping on your feet

Foot health is a part of our overall health we typically ignore. We tend to tip toe around its importance. Many people go through the daily routine of disregarding their foot pain, not realizing that it has a major impact on the rest of their health. Those ‘tolerable’ aches and pains in the feet can have many causes, and you shouldn’t ignore them or regard them as a normal part of life. For example; tingling or numbness could be a sign of diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. Our feet are what give us our support and mobility, allowing us to keep active; they also have numerous benefits such as helping us keep weight off, or maintaining muscle strength. Regular foot assessments are important as they can alert you to early signs of more serious health issues.

As a Podologist, my job is to assist you in keeping your feet healthy. Did you know that a lot of the conditions we find unsightly about our feet are often easily treated, or that with a simple gait analysis you could determine the cause of other issues you are experiencing? We tend to be embarrassed about our feet, and a large number of the people I see claim their feet are the worst. There is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, because I assure you, that thick unsightly toenail – I’ve seen it 10 times, just today, and covering it up with nail polish is a temporary fix with detrimental effects to the health of the nail.

A regular medical pedicure or foot assessment is sometimes all you need to alleviate that stress and pain in the feet and to make you feel better. These assessments and treatments will help to maintain foot health, and to feel better!

There are also steps you could take to keeping your feet healthy;

  • Examine your feet regularly for any changes
  • Wear comfortable supportive shoes that fit
  • Keep toenails trimmed straight across, but not too short
  • Try not to wear nail polish for extended periods of time

Foot health is important for all ages, and paying more attention to our feet can help with prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.

About the author ...

Nicole is a fully trained Podologist/Reflexologist with a B.a. in Sociology from York University. Her practical training includes four years of combined clinical and theory experience at a chiropodist office, the North American School of Podology, and Holt School of Natural Healing.