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Help Yourself Soothe Your Soles

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Help Yourself Soothe Your Soles

Your pretty painted toenails match your new spring sandals, but the rear view of your foot doesn’t look so appealing. Footwear can be serious fun for many women, but dry cracked heels may spoil the joy. Those discoloured and dry heels can be unsightly, uncomfortable, and even painful.

Your pretty painted toenails match your new spring sandals, but the rear view of your foot doesn’t look so appealing. Footwear can be serious fun for many women, but dry cracked heels may spoil the joy. Those discoloured and dry heels can be unsightly, uncomfortable, and even painful.

Cracked heels, also known as heel fissures, are brought on by a combination of dry skin and excessive pressure on the soles of the feet, such as standing for long periods, obesity, walking barefoot, and even those beautiful new sandals.

On the sole of the foot is a fat pad, our body’s shock absorber. Every day, whether standing or walking, we burden this small region with the concentrated weight of our entire body. For the most part, it holds up pretty well. But if the skin surrounding the pad is rough, dry, and unsupported, eventually it will crack under pressure–literally. If left untreated, deep fissures form, cracks bleed, and possibly become infected. Sometimes we can’t even see the fissures through the callused skin. At the first sign of callusing, take action to prevent further damage.

Treating Your Feet

To nurse cracked heels, you need to cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize your feet twice a day for one week. After a week, discontinue the evening footbaths, as excessive water actually dries out the skin.

In the morning, cleanse with soap, and exfoliate the heels with a pumice stone. Don’t use a razor or scissors; you’ll only increase the chances of infection. Dry your feet well, and moisturize. This is important. The pad is unable to produce and retain moisture, and is prone to dryness and cracking. To nourish your skin, select natural oil-based moisturizers made from shea butter, beeswax, or coconut oil infused with lavender to heal or peppermint to soothe. Coat and massage your heels with the moisturizer, moving your fingers in a circular motion to ensure deep absorption.

In the evening, prepare two foot baths, one cold and one warm. Add a drop or two of soap, and alternately soak in each for 10 to 15 minutes. Dry and moisturize your feet. Wear loose cotton socks to bed.

Unfortunately, those slinky, open-heeled, thin-soled sandals may have to go. Your soles need support. Choose shoes with a good shock absorber, and you’ll have reason to kick up your heels.

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