Most people find that the heels are especially susceptible to dry skin. And while this problem may seem merely cosmetic, particularly for frequent sandal-wearers, dry skin of the feet can actually cause more severe foot complications, including foot pain and the following problems:
Bunions: These abnormal bony prominences develop on the base of the toe joint, most commonly on the big toes, although some develop on smaller toes. Not all bunions cause problems, although some can cause persistent pain.
Corns/ Calluses: These common skin growths result from pressure or friction on the feet. Corns often appear as thickened skin on the top and sides of the toes, and are typically around one-fourth inch to one-half inch in diameter. Hardened in the center, corns can be painful when pressure is placed on them. Calluses, however, are not painful, and typically appear as rough layers of skin around one inch or more in diameter.
Causes of Dry Skin of the Feet
Although some people have naturally dry skin, many acquire it as they age and the body naturally produces less moisture and loses elasticity. Although dry skin can appear on any part of the body, the feet are most prone to dry skin—more specifically, the heels. Severe dry skin conditions that may also affect the feet include psoriasis and eczema, which often lead to rashes, scaling, and painful cracking of the skin. If you do not have a skin condition but continue to struggle with chronic dry skin on the heels, see your doctor to rule out thyroid problems or diabetes, which may cause poor circulation and skin changes.
Curing Dry Skin of the Feet
No matter the cause of dry skin on your feet, you can drastically improve or cure the condition with a few simple steps.
• Soak your feet in warm water and Epsom salt. The soothing characteristics of chamomile tea likewise make a beneficial soak, which relaxes tired feet and softens dry skin.
• Use a pumice stone to slough off dead skin. Do this immediately after a shower or bath, when skin is supple.
• Thoroughly dry skin with a clean, cotton towel and slather on moisturizer. Foot salve is preferred over lotion because it is thicker and does not contain harsh dyes or perfumes.
• Cover feet with cotton socks so the product absorbs well and feet stay warm and moist.
In addition to these self-care measures, choose well-fitting shoes over stylish heels or slender-toed boots, which may cause skin to thicken as pressure is placed on toes and nerves.
References: Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/
Discovery Fit and Health: http://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/musculoskeletal/everyday-foot-problems3.htm