While we know that there are a lot of reasons why someone might have dry, cracked feet including being on your feet all day, long-distance running or winter weather, your thyroid might also be playing a role. Many people with hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, complain of dry, cracked skin on the soles of their feet, particularly the heels. You may also notice that you get deep, painful fissures or that your skin seems almost leathery in thickness and appearance. This could be a sign to have your thyroid checked.
Since your thyroid is responsible for your metabolism it’s not too surprising that an underactive thyroid slows the metabolism, which in turn causes the body’s temperature to drop. This is why you notice that your feet and hands always seem to be cold to the touch. You may notice that this problem is made worse during cold weather. Some people with hypothyroidism deal with a condition known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, in which the feet and hands are so cold that they go numb and turn blue or white.
Again, there are a lot of things that can lead to swollen feet; however, if you notice swelling in your feet and ankles rather regularly then you may want to have your thyroid checked. Since people with hypothyroidism are also prone to developing tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can lead to permanent nerve damage if left untreated, you must have a podiatrist you can turn to for regular care if you have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder.
Why is foot health important?
People with diabetes are at a much greater risk for developing serious problems such as nerve damage, loss of sensation, ulcers, and decreased circulation. This chronic condition also increases your risk for infections. Even small cuts and minor blisters can lead to a serious infection if left untreated.
This is why it’s important that any changes to your feet, even minor ones, are addressed and treated by a podiatrist rather than trying to treat the problem yourself. By turning to a podiatrist you can prevent further complications from happening.
How do I care for diabetic feet?
There are many things that you can do every day to maintain healthy, happy feet. This is something that your podiatrist can discuss with you when you come in for a comprehensive evaluation. Even if you have your diabetes properly controlled with medication, it’s still important to have a foot doctor that you can turn to for routine care, nail trimming, and more. Some tips for keeping diabetic feet healthy and problem-free include,
- Washing feet with warm water and soap at least once a day. Make sure that you also clean between toes. Once your feet are thoroughly clean, also dry them off completely before applying moisturizer.
- Never go barefoot, even indoors, as this could lead to an injury. Make sure to always check your shoes before putting them on to ensure that dirt or small objects may not be inside (as this can lead to injury).
- Wear shoes that provide the proper fit. There are shoes designed specifically for those with diabetes; however, as long as you wear shoes that provide protection, optimal support, and the ideal fit, this is all you need.
- You should always have your feet examined by a podiatrist at least once a year to check blood flow and to make sure that there are no issues. If you have trouble trimming your nails properly, you can also turn to a podiatrist who will do it for you.
When you bring your child into the podiatrist’s office, the specialist will examine your child’s walk and gait. They will also observe how your child stands to see if their feet turn inwards or to look at how your child’s hips are positioned. Your podiatrist may also recommend imaging tests to look at the alignment of the bones.
While a pediatrician may be the first person to look at and diagnose your child’s pigeon toes, a pediatric podiatrist is going to be able to provide your little one with the specialized treatment and care they need.
Most parents are relieved to find out that many children grow out of mild to moderate forms of pigeon toes. While this may take a few years, this is nothing to worry about and children won’t require special treatment or care.
However, if this issue is detected in your infant, they may need to wear a cast on the feet to fix the alignment before your child begins walking. A podiatrist can also show you a series of stretches and massages that can help the bones grow into the proper alignment.
If your child’s pigeon toes are still causing them issues by 10 years old, then you may want to talk with your podiatrist about whether surgery may be necessary to correct these bone alignment issues.
- Seek immediate medical attention (head to your local ER)
- You may need a tetanus shot if it’s been more than 10 years since your last shot
- Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist within 24 hours of the injury
- Your podiatrist will provide you with a variety of care instructions to keep it clean and disinfected (make sure to follow all of these instructions)
- New or worsening pain
- Skin that’s warm to the touch
Certain shoes can leave you prone to cracked heels and dry skin due to friction from wearing loose-fitted shoes. People who wear sandals and other open-heeled shoes are more at risk for developing cracked heels. Instead, opt for closed-heeled shoes that fit properly and provide support.
If you are overweight, you may be surprised to discover that this could be contributing to your dry, cracked heels. This is because your feet take on all of your weight while standing, walking, and running. By safely dropping that excess weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise you can alleviate some of the pressure placed on your heels to reduce the risk of cracking.
While we know just how luxurious it feels to stand in a steaming hot shower, especially during the winter months, this could be contributing to dry skin on your feet and cracked heels. If this is something you deal with regularly you may look at your current bathing or showering ritual to see if that could be the culprit. Simply use warm and not hot water, which can strip the skin of the oils it needs to stay moist.
You should moisturize your feet every day to prevent dry skin from happening in the first place. Moisturizers that contain lactic acid, glycerin, or petroleum jelly can help to lock in moisture in your feet. Moisturize every time you get out of the shower and throughout the day, especially before going to bed. If you are prone to very dry, cracked feet, you may wish to moisturize and then wear socks to bed.
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