9 Tips For Moisturizing Your Feet

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McDermott Footcare nursing foot care clients enjoy a moisturizing foot rub as part of our services. The reasons are two-fold: a foot rub is a soothing finish to excellent quality nursing foot care and it is a good opportunity to give the feet some much-needed moisture.

Skin is an important barrier that prevents infections in the body. Skin that is dry is more prone to itchiness, rashes and infection. Extremely dry skin, especially in the heel area, can develop painful cracks called fissures. These fissures are susceptible to bleeding and becoming infected.

Dry skin is also more prone to developing painful calluses.

For these reasons, moisturizing the feet is very important. Here are 9 tips for adding much needed moisture to the skin:

1) Wash feet daily with a mild soap and warm water.

2) While feet are still damp use a pumice stone to gently scrub areas that are dry and flaky, especially the heels and callused areas.

3) Dry the feet and immediately apply moisturizer. For moderately dry skin, a regular moisturizer is effective. For extremely dry skin, including skin that has cracks (fissures), use an extra rich moisturizer that contains urea. These moisturizers are available over-the-counter in well-stocked drug stores and department stores.

4) Do not apply moisturizer between the toes. Excess moisture that builds up between the toes encourages the development of athlete’s foot fungal infection.

5) Soaking the feet once to three times a week in a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar in a shallow basin of lukewarm water helps to improve the condition of the skin. Soak for only 10 -15 minutes since soaking for long periods dries out the skin. Apply moisturizer after towel drying.

6) For an effective night treatment try this: apply a rich emollient moisturizer to your feet and put on breathable cotton socks. The heat from the socks will help skin soak in the moisture.

7) For people who have difficulty reaching the feet, try this trick: put some moisturizer on a plate or other suitable tray. Move your feet around the plate or tray being careful to rub the moisturizing cream into the feet. Step on a towel and gently blot your feet to wipe off excess cream.

8) Alternatively, apply moisturizer to feet using a long-handled paint brush. Wipe off excess cream.

9) Ask your certified foot care nurse to recommend an effective moisturizer.

Related posts:

Vinegar Is Good For Your Feet

8 Tips For Dry, Cracked Heels

Vinegar is Good for Your Feet!

A mainstay at McDermott Footcare, white distilled vinegar is reliable and inexpensive.  If you google the many uses of vinegar, you’ll see claims for everything from cleaning windows to controlling blood glucose.  I don’t know about its use in controlling blood glucose, weight loss or other medical conditions,  but  from my experience,  I know that vinegar is helpful in treating certain foot care concerns.  

Some people like to use apple cider vinegar, organic vinegar or  flavour-infused vinegar.  If you want to use fancier vinegar, go for it.  But for me, a big  jug of simple, plain, white vinegar is just fine.

Athlete’s Foot:

For mild, uncomplicated Athlete’s Foot a.k.a. Tinea Pedis,  a daily vinegar and water soak works well.  For more detailed information on Athlete’s Foot, read my blog on this topic.  Uncomplicated Athlete’s Foot looks like this picture.   There is slight peeling and scaling between the toes, especially the 4th and 5th toes.  It may spread to the back of the toes.   It may  be itchy or have a burning sensation.

Mix up a solution of  1/4 cup white vinegar in a basin of warm water, enough to cover the affected foot.   Soak daily for 15 minutes until the peeling, scaling, itching and burning sensation are gone. 

If your Athlete’s Foot is more complicated –  if the itching, scaling and redness have spread all over the bottom and maybe the sides of your foot –  it’s a good idea to see your doctor for a prescription anti-fungal cream or lotion and use it along with the vinegar and water foot soak.

Dry, cracked heels:

The same 1/4 cup white vinegar-water soak as above is also great for treating those rough, dry, cracking heels so many of us have.  Here’s my blog on dry, cracked heels.   The acid in vinegar, acetic acid, is very gentle and softens rough heels really well.  Gently scrub the feet while soaking for 10 – 15 minutes, 3 times a week.  You can scrub existing calluses at the same time.  Soaking too often or for too long will dry out your skin.

Smelly Feet:

Admit it.  This happens to you.  It happens to me.  Especially in the summer when my feet sweat during hiking.  Or after a long day at work.  Even in my breathable socks and shoes.  Smelly feet, or bromhidrosis,  is caused by a mixture of sweat and bacteria. 

Our all-purpose vinegar and water foot soak works here as well.  Vinegar has disinfecting properties that help to get rid of the bacteria.  Of course, proper foot hygiene is important too.  Wash your feet with warm, soapy water first, then soak.  

 Take a closer look at that humble bottle of white vinegar lurking in the back of your kitchen cupboard before going out and spending  your hard-earned money on fancy foot products.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how vinegar can help your feet.

  

8 Tips for Dry, Cracked Heels

With the colder weather, I have seen an increase in very dry feet when visiting McDermott Footcare clients.  Dry, cracked heels are the most frequent concern.  If these cracks, called fissures,  become severe, they may cause bleeding, infection and pain when standing or walking.

What causes dry, cracked heels?

  • cold weather and indoor heating
  • ill-fitting shoes and boots
  • improper daily care of the feet
  • standing on your feet all day

It’s not just my clients who are asking for help.  Their caregivers and family members want advice too.  Since this is such a common problem, here are some tips that may help:

8 tips for dry, cracked heels:

  1. Heels will move around in shoes and boots that are too big.  This causes friction which forms dry calluses around the ridges and surface of the heels.  Make sure your shoes and boots are properly sized so that heels don’t move but at the same time, toes have wiggle room.
  2. Wash feet daily with warm, soapy water.  Don’t use hot water because it dries out skin.  Hot water is also harmful to diabetics and anyone else with impaired circulation to the feet.
  3. Exfoliate the feet, especially the heels, while washing.  Use a wash cloth, pumice stone, or loofah and rub the skin gently to slough off dead skin.
  4. Dry the feet thoroughly.  Dry well  between the toes since fungus and bacteria like to grow in warm, moist, dark places.
  5. Moisturize daily with body lotion.  If you feel you need something more emollient, ask the pharmacist to recommend an over-the-counter body lotion that contains urea.  Urea is naturally present in skin cells, but in dry skin, urea levels are lower.  Using a lotion that has urea increases the skin’s ability to hold in moisture.  Avoid moisturizer between the toes.  Put on cotton  socks.
  6. Foot soaks are relaxing and helpful if done properly.  Limit foot soaks to 10 – 15 minutes, 3 times a week.  Soaking for long periods dries out the skin.  Use a solution of  1/4 cup white vinegar and enough warm, never hot, water to cover the feet up to the ankles.  Mild acetic acid in vinegar softens dry skin.  Exfoliate.  Dry thoroughly.  Moisturize.  Put on clean cotton socks.
  7. For an overnight treatment, try the following:  massage olive oil mixed with a bit of white vinegar or lemon juice over the feet, concentrating on the heels.  Honey is a natural moisturizer so if you want, put some in your mixture.  Put on cotton socks.   In the morning, wash it off.  Exfoliate.  Dry thoroughly.  Moisturize.
  8. Over-the-counter callus softeners often contain ingredients that irritate the skin.

If dryness and fissures are severe with no noticeable improvement in a couple of weeks, see your family doctor.

Some factors that affect the skin on our feet can’t be helped, like the climate or a job that requires standing for long periods.  However, the tips I’ve given you are all easy and don’t take much time.  Try them and start seeing an improvement in the health of your feet.

Related post: 9 Tips For Moisturizing Your Feet