Re: Cracked, thick skin on heels of mature feet. I don’t wear high-heeled shoes and I wear padded athletic shoes. I am careful to use mild soap and moisturize. Still, the heels of my feet are thick, cracked skin. With sandal season here, what should I do to treat this problem? Summer is on the way. We actually had a week of nice weather here in Seattle in April no less!! 🙂 Feet are more front and center.
So here are some problems and some solutions:
Cracked heels. Very common and can be painful. Just fyi …..there are genetic forms of thickening (keratoderma) and also some forms associated with diabetes, obesity and several other diseases. If you’re not sure, please see your doctor or a dermaologist. Factoid: skin thickens in response to rubbing. Sometimes we make this worse by over exfoliating too harshly and too often with sand paper like tools. Better is to gently soften and then gently exfoliate. Try the Replenix Heel, Knee and Elbow Ointment. Apply nightly for 7 days with socks, then soak your feet in concentrated Epson salts for 10 min, then gently pumice off. Repeat as needed. OTC Lamisil cream works well if there is any question of fungus (tinea pedis).
Fungus on your feet. Speaking of fungus. It’s sneaky. Some people get inflamed, very itchy and even develop small blisters on the bottom of the feet. Some people just get funky white stuff between the toes. And some people just get pink and a bit thick over the entire sole of the foot. You can try the Lamisil (terbinafine) cream mentioned above for several weeks. If after that though, it’s not better, please see your doctor.
Nail problems. Please, please, please don’t let these become chronic. What looks like some flat white spots on your nails may be the beginning of fungus that causes those big, thick, crumbly toenails later. If you’ve had them for longer than 2-3 months, please see your derm. We are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of skin, hair and nail problems. A good podiatrist can help also. There are some treatments now that don’t involve taking difficult oral medications. Other nail problems like hang nails, ingrown nails (if not too bad), or splits can often be addressed by a good nail technician at a salon. Look for salons that autoclave their nail instruments rather than just use the chemical solutions.
Hope this helps,
Dr. Brandith Irwin
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