I was sick as a dog this past week with a rhinovirus (nasal cold) that blocked up my nasal and sinus passages. I am now in a post nasal drip state which causes such an itchy throat that I go into coughing fits. I have worn a mask the entire time and have been washing my hands. At this point, might I suggest to my readers that you get your flu shot this year and every year.
Let’s go back to the nasty winter and how it can wreak havoc on your heels. As I write this, the weather outside is quite frightful and the although indoor heat can be quite delightful, it will suck the moisture out of the air and subsequently your skin.
Marinade And Moisturize
A quick way I’ve developed to jump-start your feet so that you can be back in ‘maintenance mode’ with respect to moisturization, is to do a marinade. Yes a marinade. I want you to take your shower or bath, take off any excess skin with an emergy board of pumice stone (as best you can). Don’t worry about getting it all perfect but try your best at removing as much as you can. Then coat your fissured heels with petroleum jelly or a cow udder balm like Bag Balm. Then take a small piece of plastic kitchen wrap and wrap that around your heel. Now you have a marinade of your skin to the moisturizer! To keep this on, use a sock but since fungus and wet toes are always a concern of mine, I want you to cut the end of the sock off. Make sure this is an old pair of socks now! So essentially you end up with an ankle warmer! That’s ok if you’re used to sleeping without socks. If you’re used to sleeping with socks, then don’t bother cutting the toe part off the socks. I just mention it to help prevent my patients who are at risk for fungus to get an infection.
If you do this at least once a week with regular moisturization twice a day on all the other days of the week, you will notice big pieces of dead skin fall off and wonderful new baby soft skin come from below!
Excessive Pressure Can Cause Cracked Heels
Did you also know that the cracking of the skin is not only from the dry skin but from excessive pressures below your feet? 9/10 times I ask my patients with fissured heels if they go barefoot in the house and the answer is yes! My wonderful patients may love their feet, but they sure love to punish them with walking on hardwood floors and ceramics all day long in the house on evenings and weekends when they are home. That’s a lot of punishment! Take your hand and slam it against a table with 120lbs-200lbs (based on average body weight) of force several hundred times an evening and then several thousand times a weekend. Not only does this cause bone problems like heel spurs and foot damage as mentioned in my previous blog about plantar fasciitis, the skin will get hard and split just from the wear and tear. Skin is an organ and it is alive. As a result, it will react to forces and get thicker so that it might have a chance at protecting your poor foot against the ground! My analogy is a little off since a hand is not designed for pressure as a foot is, but the essence of the idea is to question why you would put your feet through any unnecessary punishment when you have good sandals and indoor slippers to wear?
Next week, I will talk about good footwear…indoors and out. There are many good shoes to wear both indoors and out but I will touch on some generalization on what to look for. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!