Please note: These guidelines are not for Diabetics patients as they may have further complications.
At Podiatry Africa, we understand the importance of maintaining soft and smooth feet, especially during the harsh winter months. Dry and cracked feet can be uncomfortable and unsightly, but fear not! We have curated a comprehensive guide to help you keep your feet in top condition, even when the temperatures drop. Follow these tips and tricks, and you’ll be stepping into winter with confidence and comfort.
Hydration is Key
The first step to achieving soft and smooth feet is to keep them properly hydrated. During the winter, the air tends to be dry, which can cause your skin to lose moisture. To combat this, drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydrating from within will help maintain moisture levels in your feet and prevent dryness.
Additionally, it’s essential to moisturize your feet daily. Look for a rich, emollient foot cream or lotion that contains ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter, or coconut oil. These nourishing ingredients will deeply penetrate your skin, providing intense hydration and preventing dryness and cracks.
Exfoliation is a crucial step in keeping your feet soft and smooth. During winter, dead skin cells tend to accumulate, leading to rough patches and calluses. By exfoliating your feet regularly, you can slough off these dead cells and reveal healthy, radiant skin underneath.
Invest in a gentle foot scrub or a pumice stone to exfoliate your feet. Gently massage the scrub in circular motions, paying extra attention to areas prone to dryness, such as the heels and the balls of your feet. This process will help remove dead skin cells, promote cell renewal, and leave your feet feeling silky smooth.
Warm Water Soaks
Treat your feet to relaxing and moisturizing warm water soak. Soaking your feet not only helps to soften the skin but also provides a soothing experience, particularly after a long day battling the winter chill.
Fill a basin with warm water and add a few drops of your favourite essential oil for an extra touch of luxury. Soak your feet for 10-15 minutes, allowing the warmth to penetrate your skin and soften any rough areas. Afterwards, pat your feet dry and apply a generous amount of moisturizer to lock in the hydration.
Wear Proper Footwear
Your choice of footwear can significantly impact the condition of your feet. In winter, opting for shoes and boots that provide adequate insulation and protection against cold and dampness is crucial.
Look for footwear made from breathable materials that allow your feet to stay dry. Moisture-wicking socks are also essential to prevent sweat buildup and potential fungal infections. Remember to choose shoes that fit correctly to avoid friction and pressure points that can lead to discomfort and calluses.
Socks and Gloves for Overnight Nourishment
For an intensive moisturizing treatment, apply a thick layer of foot cream or petroleum jelly to your feet before bed. Then, slip on a pair of clean cotton socks. This technique helps to seal in the moisture and allows the cream to penetrate deeply overnight, leaving your feet incredibly soft and supple in the morning.
Similarly, you can apply this method to your hands by wearing moisturizing gloves overnight. Your hands will wake up feeling rejuvenated, and any dryness will be significantly reduced.
Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Maintaining soft and smooth feet also involves adopting a few healthy lifestyle habits. Proper nutrition plays a vital role in the health of your skin, including your feet. Incorporate foods rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, such as avocados, nuts, and leafy
greens, into your diet. These nutrients contribute to overall skin health and help keep your feet moisturized from within.
In addition to a healthy diet, regular exercise improves blood circulation, which promotes healthier skin. Engaging in activities such as walking, jogging, or yoga can have a positive impact on your feet and enhance your overall appearance.
Avoid Hot Water and Harsh Soaps
While a warm water soak is beneficial, it’s important to avoid using hot water on your feet. Hot water can strip away the natural oils from your skin, leading to dryness and irritation. Stick to lukewarm water for foot baths and showers to maintain the optimal moisture balance.
Similarly, harsh soaps and detergents can be drying and damaging to the delicate skin of your feet. Opt for mild, moisturizing soaps or cleansers specifically formulated for sensitive skin. These products will cleanse your feet without stripping away their natural moisture.
Regular Professional Pedicures
Treating yourself to regular professional pedicures is a fantastic way to keep your feet in excellent condition, especially during the winter months. Professional pedicurists have the expertise to address specific foot concerns and provide treatments tailored to your needs.
During a pedicure, your feet will undergo a thorough cleansing, exfoliation, and moisturizing treatment. In addition, nail care and cuticle maintenance will be taken care of, leaving your feet looking and feeling their best. Consider scheduling a pedicure every few weeks or as needed to maintain soft and smooth feet throughout the winter season.
Protect Your Feet Outdoors
When venturing outside in the winter, it’s crucial to protect your feet from the elements. Cold temperatures and wet conditions can be harsh on your skin. To shield your feet, wear waterproof or insulated shoes and boots. These will keep your feet dry and provide an extra layer of insulation.
To further protect your feet, consider wearing moisture-wicking thermal socks to keep them warm and dry. Don’t forget to apply a water-resistant moisturizer or a protective balm to create a barrier against the cold and moisture.
Consult a Podiatrist if Needed
If you have persistent foot issues or concerns, it’s always wise to consult a podiatrist. A podiatrist is a medical professional specializing in foot care and can provide expert advice and treatment options tailored to your specific needs.
Whether you’re dealing with severe dryness, cracks, or any other foot-related condition, a podiatrist can offer guidance and recommend appropriate treatments. They can also provide insights into any underlying health issues that may be affecting the condition of your feet.
By following these tips and incorporating them into your winter foot care routine, you’ll be well on your way to maintaining soft, smooth, and healthy feet all season long.
Mohammed Zaid is the only BHPC registered Podiatrist practising in Botswana. As a devout family man, my interests extend to family health as I have served at the Rahima Moosa Mother and child hospital. Passionate about the patients I do and the health of their feet, I have a specific interest in Diabetic foot care and can be of excellent service to these sufferers.