Healing those winter-worn feet

March 1, 2009 7:12:12 AM PST
No doubt, this winter's weather has been rough. And if your feet are as rough as the weather, we've got some tips to get them back in shape.

Every winter, Diane Hocking says her feet become as dry as a desert.

Diane describes it like this," The bottoms of my feet, they get like cactus. They feel like cactus around the edges and the heel."

Podiatrists say it's the number one complaint in winter.

Dry air at home, and constantly going in & out of hot & cold places contribute to the problem.

Laurie Cote, a nail technician at says, "Also, you're taking hotter showers and not drying off properly."

In the winter, our feet also spend more time in shoes, boots, socks, and stockings, so they tend to get ignored.

Dr. Howard Palamarchuck, a podaitrist at Temple University's School of Podiatric Medicine, says, "It's almost like chapped hands of the feet, that's how it would be equivalent to. The same type of little cracks and breaks in the skin are painful."

These cracks, called fissures, are more common along the bottom of the heel.

An open crack can become infected.

People with diabetes and circulatory diseases are the most vulnerable for these complications.

Two other common problems are athlete's foot, and "trench foot," which occurs when a person is exposed to cold moisture for a prolonged time.

For relieving dry skin, you can try a professional pedicure, or do one yourself.

"You can take a foot file home, and use it in your shower 2 or 3 times a week, and that also helps," says Dr. Palamarchuk.

Once you get rid of the old dry skin, nourish the new skin underneath.

Dr. Palamarchuk advises, "Wash your feet well, dry them well, and then apply the moisturizer. That would help keep that under control."

When choosing a lotion for your feet, it's best to avoid scented products.

Your best bet is a cream that's thick, to seal in the moisture.

But if the skin on your heels is cracked and looks infected, you should see a doctor.

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