Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cracked Dry Heels - A Silent Plaguette

The art of dealing with cracked bleeding heels. Good advice on restoring your feet to a youthful healthy glow.

By Bill Zimmermann
Zimmermania Health

Feet need moisture to heal, most drugstore emollients will do. The trick is to remove the offending callouses so the moisture can reach the live skin underneath then keep the calluses at bay.

Start by soaking feet in a warm salt water bath. Sea salt or Epsom salts is best due to their nourishing mineral. Add a few drops of essential oils, such as tea tree, peppermint or lavender, to help clean and disinfect deep into the cracks. Peppermint oil helps cool hot, tired feet while lavender works to heal skin irritations. Tea tree is a great antibacterial and antifungal agent. To keep it simple just soak your feet in hot water will do fine. Even table salt works in a pinch.

Dry feet and file with a small to medium size foot file. A kitchen quality microplanes are great and work well but they also work fast. Go slow with them and be sure to disinfect immediately after micro-planning your calluses with hydrogen peroxide. The best ones look a bit like a cheese grater. These files catch the dead skin inside rather than allowing the debris to fly around the room or mound up on the floor. File off as much callous as you can but stop well before you get to the pink skin especially if it is the first time you've exfoliated that area. If this is too much for you there is always the professional pedicure. The professionals can help you get started though they are not prepared to deal with cracks the bleed.

IMPORTANT: When using a microplane start with dry skin that has not been moisturized or soaked. Plane with the length of the cracks as not to spread them or disturb them. Go lightly and after soak your heel or the area of the foot you are treating in hydrogen peroxide for about three minutes. Dry and bandage the foot with the large 2"x 2" Band Aid brand bandages or the equivalent. If you have an infection or pain indicating the probability of an infection it may be wise to use antibiotic cream. Neosporin makes one with a painkiller that works great on heel pain.

WARNING: Exfoliating with a microplane or a pumice stone may be extremely painful if your feet are cracked and bleeding. You may need to attempt this over several days or get someone to help you. Quite often the first step is not to exfoliate but to heal cracks and moisturize first for a few days and always at night. I use an old pair of low rise socks and apply just before I get into bed a lot of moisturizer. You can remove the sox in less than an hour and if you're in real bad shape you can reapply several times each night then slip the sox back on and go back to sleep.

Once you are healed it is time to file as much callous as you can then soak in hydrogen peroxide and then hydrate with a rich emollient moisturizer. You can use a sealant product like Vaseline products made for human skin (not regular Vaseline - it is made with petrochemicals and should never be used on the body), use a product that traps moisture and softens skin. Several foot creams and balms, such as Flexitol Heel Balm, contain urea. Swaddle feet in thick socks or wrap with plastic wrap to allow maximum penetration for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Burt's Bee's makes a good foot cream. Any good foot cream will do. It's consistency and your preferences that matter. Timing is everything. Once you are on a roll and all healed up regular coconut oil is excellent. You do not want to use antibiotic cream too much. It's really not good for you and be sure to discontinue use as soon as there is no pain and the wounds are healed.

This condition if left untreated can spiral into more serious conditions. Learn to take care of your feet. Most people don't have a clue.

Again I can't stress this enough. If cracks are deep and painful, you can apply a dab of Pain Relief version of Neosporin antibiotic ointment then wrap with an ace bandage until the broken skin underneath the callous begins to heal. You may need to wear the bandage for a day or more. See your doctor if pain does not go away, increases or if redness or swelling occurs. If you are a diabetic, see your doctor before wrapping with bandages as they can cut off circulation if wound too tightly.

Soak and file feet once a week, moisturizing at least once a day. You should begin to see softer, smoother heels and feet in just a few days.

See your doctor if you experience fever, swelling or red streaks up your foot or leg. These symptoms could signal a serious infection.

Please see your doctor if you suspect you've let this condition go too far or if the antibiotic cream does not heal. Spare no expense. Buy quality bandages and wraps if you need them. And go slowly. If done correctly you'll be on your feet pain free in a few days. Afterwards wear good shoes, fresh cotton socks and avoid going bare foot. Always wears shoes. Avoid sandals high heels and the like until you're better. A good pair of broken in clean sneakers will be your best friend through the process.

Finally drink plenty of natural spring water. Start with a quart of warm spring water each morning and sip another 1 to 2 quarts during the day as best you can. Stop around six p.m. to avoid night time trips to the bathroom.

Recommended product: Flexitol Heel Balm

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