Although our winter months have been more on the mild than previous years, old man winter is slowly creeping upon us.  Before the dead of winter arrives it is important to take preventative measures to avoid foot problems.  One of the most common complaints from patients during the winter months is dry feet.  How can you stop from getting dry feet? What can I use to moisturize my feet?  These questions and more will be answered in the paragraphs below.

There are many reasons why skin gets dry in the winter months.  The main cause is due to the lack of humidity and moisture in the air caused by turning on the heat in our homes.  Certain diseases such as diabetes, eczema, and thyroid or circulatory issues can also cause dry feet.  Other factors that can cause dry skin are from large amounts of pressure due to standing and walking for long periods of time.  The cold dry weather can cause cracked feet, as well as showers and baths that can be too hot for too long.  This causes the natural skin oils to be washed away causing dehydrated or “dry /ashy” feet.  Vitamin deficiencies including zinc, vitamin E or omega 3 fatty acids can also cause dry skin abnormalities.

Signs and symptoms of dry feet can present with but not limited to itchiness, redness, rough skin, flaky skin, peeling skin, a rash, which can worsen in winter months.  If the skin continues to be a problem and becomes more painful and tender, other issue may be considered, that’s why it is important for you to follow up with your podiatrist for a comprehensive foot evaluation.  Diabetics have a more serious issue that causes dry feet.  This is due to problems with their nerves called peripheral neuropathy which can cause numbness in your feet.  Your skin may be dry and cracked because of your diabetes, which will damage the sweat glands in your feet.  A deep crack called a fissure can be very painful and makes it easier for bacteria to get in through yours skin which can cause an infection.  To help prevent problems be sure to use a heavy cream on the bottoms of the feet rather than lotion.  Always apply after bathing while the skin is damp so the cream can penetrate better.  If your skin continues to stay dry you can use a piece of plastic wrap to place over the cream on your foot and hold it in place with a sock when you sleep at night to help the cream be more affective.  If your feet continue to have problems there may be some other cause other than “dry” skin.  If you are having these problems call us to make an appointment to be evaluated further.  Sometimes it is necessary to take a culture or specimen of the skin to evaluate it for other causes.  

Dr. Theall’s office at Gentle Touch Foot Care is a unique experience because of his expertise in treating a wide variety of skin conditions in the lower extremity.  If there are any other questions feel free to contact Dr. Theall’s Gentle Touch Foot Care office for all your foot and ankle needs and concerns at 973 673 – 3668.  Remember to always support your feet .