To everything in primary care there is a season. Winter, for example, to me will forever be associated with runny noses, the flu, and the smell of Purell. Summer is filled with poison ivy and sunburn. Autumn brings allergies and sports physicals.
Spring for me is feet.
As soon as the flip flops and sandals come out, patients start showing me their flakey and discolored toe nails; cracked dry heels; and their athlete’s foot. If you have a fungus among us-either in the toenail or the skin-then you need to see us for some of our prescription mojo. But those dry, rough heels? You can deal with those yourself.
Dry skin on your heels is just a build-up of a lot of dead tissue, and it needs to come off. You’ll need a little elbow grease and a good, thick emollient. Go to your local grocery or big box store (i.e. Target) and pick up something to grind that tissue away, preferably something with two sides like sandpaper: a coarse side and a fine grit side. In fact, you can use actual sandpaper! Ideally, 60-grade aluminum dioxide sandpaper on a sanding block, which basically makes a giant emery board. It’s cheap, one package lasts forever, and it gets the job done.
Gently attack those rough, tough, thick areas on your heels, a little at a time. Wash off the powdery stuff that is left with soap and water in the shower, or soak your feet for 10 minutes or so in warm water. When you’re done, apply a very thick emollient, like petroleum jelly, Eucerin (in the tub), Aquaphor, or something with lanolin. If you have time, throw on a thick pair of cotton socks for a few minutes to let that stuff work its magic.
Do this a few times a week and after a month or so you’ll have feet worthy of your finest gladiator sandals! If you’ve been toiling away at foot perfection and it just isn’t working, come on in to see us. We’ll set you up with a lotion that will help eat away that dead skin.
If you’re diabetic, have problems with your circulation, or have open wounds or pain in your feet – don’t try this at home. You should have a foot specialist take a look to make sure nothing more serious is going on and you don’t do any damage to vital structures.
If you have questions or aren’t sure about the low down on your feet, get on the horn and make an appointment with your health care provider – we’re here to help you out.
Victoria Rentel, MD (OSU SHS)