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How To Avoid Painful Cracked Heels In Winter - 5 Top Tips To Keep You Off Your Toes

Updated on June 29, 2014
Foot care is vital year round, not just when your feet are on show in summer. "Foot Massage" by marin http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=100114072
Foot care is vital year round, not just when your feet are on show in summer. "Foot Massage" by marin http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=100114072

Foot Care Is Important Year Round And Not Just In Summer When Our Feet Are On Display

Many of us, me included, tend to take our feet for granted and only pamper them in the warmer months of the year when they are on display to the world as we trip around in flip flops and sandals.

Failing to care adequately for our feet in winter can be the cause of fissures or cracks appearing, particularly on our heels, and this can lead to pain, problems walking and standing, and infection.

There are many causes of Skin / foot problems and these include eczema, diabetes,thyroid problems,psoriasis and athletes foot. Age can also wreak havoc with our skin as Sebum ( natural oil released by the skin) production lessens, and the skin also becomes less elastic and stretchy.

But I am going to deal solely with Xerosis or dry skin problems experienced in the winter, and how to avoid the pain of cracked heels and infection.

Causes Of Painful Cracked Heels In Winter

Common causes of dry skin on the feet and heels during cold weather, excluding disease or conditions such as diabetes , eczema , thyroid and circulatory problems can include,

Pressure exerted on our feet whilst standing and walking, cold dry weather, lack of moisturisation, hot baths and showers, central heating, dehydration, and insufficient intake of Zinc , vitamin E and essential omega 3 fatty acids.

Following a good foot care plan and eating a well balanced diet along with keeping well hydrated can all help prevent the pain and unsightliness of cracked heels.

5 Top Tips To Help You Avoid Painful Cracked Heels In Winter

1. Moisturise Moisturise and Moisturise Some More.

Whenever you get the chance throughout the day, rub moisturiser into your heels and the soles of your feet. If this is not possible then make sure to apply it at night just before going to bed and slip a pair of cotton socks on to trap the lotion or cream in and give it a chance to penetrate deeply whilst you sleep. If your feet are excessively dry it may be better to apply your product and then wrap your feet in cling film before putting on socks and tucking up in bed.

There are many specific products on the market for dry feet and cracked heels and these include Vitamin E cream, Shea butter, petroleum jelly and lanolin. Beware of lanolin though as it´s made from the oil from sheep wool and some people have a reaction to it.

2. Keep Hard Skin At Bay.

Gently exfoliate hard skin especially on the heels and moisturise always after doing this. You can do this using a pumice stone or exfoliating creams or specially designed foot files. Never attempt to cut or shave off hard skin, leave it to the professionals.

3. Avoid long hot baths and showers.

These will only suck out further moisture from your skin. Also try to stick with mild soaps or moisturising bath and shower oils and gels. Moisturise your feet well whilst still warm from your bath or shower as the pores will have opened and your moisturiser will soak right in.

4. Eat a diet rich in Omega 3 - Zinc - and Vitamin E .

Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids include oily fish such as sardines and salmon, many every day food products like margarine and eggs now contain elevated levels of Omega 3.

Zinc is found in foods such as Garlic, chickpeas, dark chocolate, wheat germ and seeds.

Vitamin E rich foods include Green leafy vegetables, almonds, pine kernels and hazel nuts, avocado, papaya, and raw seeds like sunflower and pumpkin.

Of course if you find it a problem including all these healthy choices in your diet, you could simply take a daily supplement.

5. Keep Hydrated.

Cold weather, high winds and hot central heating all suck moisture from our skin so it´s important to replace that by making sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day .

Prevention Is Better Than Cure.

Following these five easy suggestions should help to keep you on your toes during the cold winter months. Prevention is better than cure , but if your dry skin and cracked heel problem fails to correct itself using these methods, or an infection sets in, there may be more going on than just plain old dryness, and a visit to your doctor or medic may be needed.

Disclaimer

Please note that the author is not a doctor or medic and is in no way associated with those professions. This hub is meant as a guideline only and should you be worried about your health in any way, a doctor or medics advice should always be sought.

Your votes and comments are always appreciated so please do feel free to leave them if you so wish. Thank you :)

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    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Red. I have been hearing from a lot of people, family and friends in Yorkshire that they are knee deep in snow, and my Brother sent me some pics of it from Featherstone, you must be sick to the back teeth of it now love, winter in the UK seems to have been going on forever. Here in Spain apart from a few cold snaps and a bit of snow once it´s been pretty mild, but we have had howling gales almost every day since around Christmas, it doesn´t half wear you down when it goes on for months.

      Apart from all that, I hope some of these tips will help you avoid painful feet, my friend used to suffer from them and honestly I don´t know how she managed walking at times. Nice to hear from you red take care dear :)

    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 4 years ago

      This is an extremely useful article, Anne - we've just gone into an unexpected wild weather period where I am (there's a foot of snow in my garden right now!) so I'm expecting to run into the usual footcare problems of dry skin as I turn up my heating again and take extra-warm baths! I didn't know that a lack of zinc could cause this problem too - but luckily I love garlic :) thanks for such an informative article - really good to know these things :)

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Pastraubi. I´m sorry to hear you have problems with dry feet, but you seem to have found a solution. I presume the vinegar water helps toughen your feet up, Potassium permanganate does the same but may dry them out even more :)

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Great tips. I have a lot of trouble with dry skin on my feet all year as I wear flip flops pretty much 365 days a year. So I purchased a small exfoliator that runs on batteries and it really helps. After I use it I moisturize well and put on socks. I also soak in vinegar water as often as possible.

      thanks for sharing this with us.

      Sending Angels your way :) ps

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Effer. Poor baby, I do feel for you. Although my skin does get dry in the winter I have never had cracked heels, but one of my best friends used to suffer so badly with this it amazed me that she could actually stand or walk. Try moisturising at night and then wrapping in clingfilm and socks when you go to bed ( I think you call it saran wrap or something in the states, it´s used to wrap food) If I haven´t wished you a happy new year already, I send best wishes now to you and yours Effer, and hope your feet are better soon. Take care my friend :)

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi PS. Oh you poor thing. I understand about open shoes, I hate my feet being enclosed too, but it does add to the problem. I hope you find some relief :)

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi ehealer. Wow, thank you so much, this is really sharing the love and very much appreciated :)

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi sarah. Many thanks for your great comment :)

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Rivierarose. I understand your problem, I have the same thing in Spain sometimes, I overcome this by asking someone to bring or send me products from the UK or order online, I do find Amazon really good for this and often things are cheaper even with shipping than I could buy them here, specially electrical items. Hope you find a solution.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      bac2...You DOLL, you. I love you. My poor feet are soooo bad...so dry and cracked....YUK.. I run around for 9 months in sandals and get a pedicure once a month.....why I don't continue, through the winter, I don't know...except to save the money.( Cheapskate!) But, that's probably a mistake.

      You may have just helped me to get my "Cinderella" tootsies back!..UP++

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Thanks for this info...I do have this problem...and use all kinds of tricks to remedy the problem. Part of the problem is my fault as I where open shoes all of the time unless it is really really cold.

      I do appreciate your tips though and will be trying at least some of them.

      Sending Angels your way :) ps

    • eHealer profile image

      Deborah 4 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks for this info Bac2Basics, this is an excellent hub with very good advice! I have pinned you to my health and wellness board and facebooked you to share this great article!~~

    • sarahshuihan profile image

      Sarah 4 years ago from USA

      Great advice. You are right, prevention is much easier than a cure. Not too many people learn this important lesson!

    • Riviera Rose profile image

      Riviera Rose 4 years ago from South of France

      I've been suffering especially badly this winter - in the UK they have great heel balm but here in France I can only find some pretty basic stuff - smells nice but not as effective. I'm now moisturising like crazy, morning and night! Very interesting/useful hub, thank you!

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Lynda. Lovely to hear from you too. My friend who just died suffered from cracked heels and very dry skin every winter, she used to use E45 cream and pop a pair of socks on too to go to bed. Sometimes I don´t know how she managed to be on her feet for 5 minuets let alone all day, but she did and it never stopped her running about here there and everywhere either bless her heart. Good to hear from you and thank you for taking the time to read and comment, I hope you are well :)

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi KJ. Good to hear from you again, 2 days on the trot is not bad going. I think health feet are happy feet should be changed to healthy feet happy all over because once your feet start playing up it really does affect your whole body and mental state, I know after working jobs where I am on mine all day. Many thanks for reading and commenting once again, as we say in Yorkshire " You´re a good un"

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Annie. You have been to some of the same partys as me I think, although the hemorrhoid cream was suggested as a face lift and caused a great deal of hilarity as you can imagine, all that red wine helped it along of course. If you don´t mind I think I would rather stick to body shops Shea butter, I just love everything about it. Happy new year to you and yours too Annie and lets hope Spain has a few less fires this year, I don´t know if you are aware but I was hit very hard by the Cortes de Pallas one and have done a hub on it. I hope you avoided the ones in your neck of the woods.

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Billy. My friend used to suffer terribly with this condition in winter, honestly there were times when I don´t know how she managed to walk. Nice to hear from you Billy and I wish a very happy new year to you and yours :)

    • craiglyn profile image

      Lynda 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very good hub Anne. I am guilty of not drinking enough water, a bad habit learned from my mother. So your hub has reminded me of this, and here I sit with a nice cup of cold water. I am also guilty of wanting to have too hot a bath, so I am going to try to remembe not to do that. I do use a pumice and/or scrub on my heels and do moisturize. So important. I have an aunt who used to just put vaseline on her feet at night, put on socks and go to bed. And her feet were always in good shape. Lots of tips out there. Hugs!

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 4 years ago from Florida

      back2basics..Great hub..very helpful suggestions..and living in a tropical climate people wearing sandals /flips environment I have seen some really nasty feet

      ( especially men)..and as you say our feet DO take a beating..thanks for bringing this to attention.." healthy feet, are happy feet "..have a great day..

    • Healthyannie profile image

      Healthyannie 4 years ago from Spain

      Please don't laugh but if you do suffer cracked heels - try using hemorrhoid cream. Nelson's do a really great organic one which is also great for dry skin on elbows and knees. Yes, I can hear you laughing

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have never had this; wasn't even aware of it. Now I am, and I will remember it should I experience this. Thanks for the information!

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