Don’t Let Skin Problems Ruin Your Foot Style

Dr. Corey Fox
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Director of Massapequa Podiatry Associates

The famed designer Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”

The latest clothes or shoes may be considered top tier now, but eventually their luster will fade in light of something new (until everything cycles around and they come back into vogue, but that’s another matter).

What doesn’t change is how we work with what we wear. If you feel truly comfortable and confident in how you look, that’s going to come across loud and clear to others. Owning your style means it is an extension of you no matter what is currently “in.” It’s not just some kind of interchangeable wallpaper for your body.

So let’s talk about shoes. You don’t have to place your feet in cramped, high-heeled torture chambers to be “fashionable.” In fact, we would prefer you didn’t. We’ve seen the results of this kind of footwear on feet over the years, and it isn’t pretty!

You can look great in modest heels, comfortable flats, or supportive sandals—as long as you feel comfortable in them.

If you have skin problems on your feet, even if they’re concealed by your shoes, it can still be a hit to your confidence. And if your skin conditions are causing you pain or discomfort, that’s nearly impossible to hide over the long haul!

You shouldn’t have to hide it, though. That’s not what style is about. Style is taking the steps to address your problems so you can present your full, healthy self to the world!

What kinds of skin conditions can crimp your foot style, and what can we do about them?

Dry Skin

Dryness in feet is very common, largely because they don’t contain as many oil glands as other parts of our bodies.

A rough, dried out appearance is unwelcome enough. However, dryness can also result in cracked skin that can make walking painful and even open the way to infection.

While some cases of dry or cracked heels may need professional care, many cases can be treated at home. (However, you should always see us about heel fissures if you have diabetes)

A good first line of attack is a heel balm. The best brands will not only moisturize, but help to soften the skin and exfoliate dead cells as well.

When looking at heel balms, check the ingredients label for any of the following:

  • urea
  • alpha-hydroxy acids
  • salicylic acid

These active ingredients help thin thickened skin and help remove dead skin. Urea in particular also provides some moisturizing properties.

After moisturizing at night before bed, add a thick layer of petroleum jelly or mineral oil over the top. These coatings prevent moisture from evaporating, effectively “locking in” the moisture. You will definitely want to wear a pair of socks over all this to keep it from getting all over, though. A pair of cotton socks will work well while still being breathable.

Calluses

A callus is a thick, dry area that forms as a response to friction. It is basically a shield your skin throws up to try and protect itself. That means that the best game plan for treating a callus is putting a stop to whatever is causing that friction!

Treating the callus itself is another matter. A standard at-home treatment involves:

  • Soaking the area in warm water. This softens the thickened skin. 5-10 minutes should do the trick.
  • GENTLY file the callus with a pumice stone. You are looking to gradually reduce the callus over time, not take it all down in one go. Start by dipping the stone in warm water, then using gentle circular or side-to-side motions. Do not grind, and stop immediately if you feel any pain or start to bleed.
  • Moisturize daily. Use creams or lotions with the same ingredients recommended for dry skin above.

Again, you will likely need to take measures to keep the callus from coming back. This may mean a change of footwear, or the use of padding to reduce friction against the area. We can help you find the best course of action.

Plantar Warts

Not many things can make you feel as self-conscious about your skin as warts. Even if they are a common happenstance of life at one point or another, they can still make one feel “sullied” somehow.

The truth is that plantar warts (the ones that appear along the bottom of your feet) are caused by a virus. This is often picked up around pools or locker rooms that have the damp, warm conditions the virus loves, but sometimes it’s simply unavoidable.

The bad news with warts is that, while they often don’t cause any pain or real trouble, they can take a long time to disappear on their own. Some cases last up to 2 years or more!

There are plenty of home remedies suggested out there, but none of them are medically proven. The best way to get rid of your warts sooner than later is to see us about them. We provide treatments that work.

Let Your Best You Shine Through

Skin problems are never fun to manage, but you’ll always feel better when you take action to control them—guaranteed! Our doctors have the experience and knowledge to help you through any of the peskier problems you might have—from corns to fungal infections.

If you need help with a stubborn problem that isn’t going away no matter what you try at home, it’s time for some friendly professional intervention. Give our office in Massapequa a call at (516) 541-9000 to schedule an appointment with us! If it’s after hours or you just prefer the written word, please feel free to use our online contact form instead and a member of our staff will reach out to you.

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