After having your feet hidden away in winter shoes/boots it can be a scary when it comes time for summer sandals. Lack of sunshine as well as ill-fitting winter footwear causes friction which leads to unsightly corns and callous’. Closed in shoes also don’t allow the foot to ‘breath’ properly. This creates the perfect environment for bacteria and fungus to flourish. The effects of this can be as mild as slightly ‘smelly’ feet, but also lead to unsightly looking fungal toenails.
Colder temperatures cause most of us to have hotter showers than normal. This can strip the skin of natural oils that provide moisture. Therefore hard ‘cracked’ heels are more common throughout the winter season. .
How to manage dry/cracked heels – Apply a heel balm or foot cream that is urea based twice daily. This is best done immediately after a shower when the feet are still slightly ‘damp’ to help lock the moisture into the skin and ‘soften’ the skin. Using a callous file or emery board 1-2/week will help to reduce the build-up of cracked heels. If your cracked heels become too hard to manage or become painful seek the help of a Podiatrist.
How to manage corns/callous’ – Corns and callous’ are a build-up of dead skin on the outer layer of the skin. This is typically a response to stress/trauma. While not obvious trauma, light rubbing and friction from footwear over a matter of days and weeks will cause the body to respond by building up a dead layer of skin to protect itself. Avoiding footwear that seems to be the culprit will help!
Moisture! Although a lot of creams say ‘heel balm’ they are in fact designed to be applied to the entire sole of the foot. Moisturisers will help to soften the skin making corns and callous’ easier to manage. The use of a callous file/emery board 1-2/week can also help to lightly file down corns/callous’. If painful corns/callous’ persist make an appointment with a Podiatrist to have your corns and callous’ professionally debrided and managed.
How to manage fungal nail infections – Fungal toenails occur when a fungus penetrates through the nail plate and into the nail bed. The result is unsightly yellow, thick and brittle looking nails. Whilst not life-threatening it can cause distress and embarrassment due to the cosmetic appearance of the nail. To avoid fungal toenails be sure to alternate your footwear regularly. Avoid tight-fitting shoes that cause trauma to the nail. Dry feet thoroughly after showering especially between toes. Always wear thongs when in public showers. Avoid nail salons/nail varnish. If a fungal nail is suspected make an appointment with your Podiatrist where a range of treatment options can be discussed including topical ointments and laser therapy. For further information on fungal toenails see our info sheets on Fungal Nails and Fungal nail laser Brisbane.
How to manage ‘smelly’ feet – Smelly feet are usually the result of hyperhidrosis or excess perspiration in the feet. This leads feet prone to bacterial and fungal infections. Again whilst not life-threatening it can cause embarrassment and distress. To avoid and manage use an anti-bacterial soap such as Detol to wash feet daily to control bacteria and perspiration. Alternate footwear and let feet air-out and ‘breath’. Address any fungal infections with an anti-fungal cream which can be purchased over the counter from most chemists. Address any hard skin or callous’ that are a perfect breading ground for bacteria. For more detailed information read our info sheet on Sweaty feet/smelly feet.