This past week, I had many patients that came in for pain in their feet due to dryness. Dry, Callused skin can actually be intensely painful if left untreated. It can also lead to an infection if a break in the skin (fissure) occurs; it becomes the perfect portal for such things as bacteria, viruses such as warts, and fungal infections to occur. Dry skin can also be seasonal. You may notice your skin cracking more so in the winter time when the weather is dry, and some patients notice dry skin in the summer time due to wearing open sandals and flip-flops which cause a lot of rubbing of the feet on pavement and dirt.
Dry, callused skin can be caused by many other issues. It can be an underlying imbalance of the bones. When the foot is putting pressure in a certain area, it is natural for the body to develop hard callus to protect the bones and soft tissue underneath. These pressure calluses typically occur on the bottom of the feet, as well as on the toes. If the toes are curled (hammer toes) then they can rub on shoes and socks and form calluses/corns. A lot of times, the pressure from the skin build up can lead to pain. The pressure can also lead to ulcers or open wounds underneath the dead dry skin. The buildup of pressure can cause a break in the skin, especially in diabetic patients, and cause the skin to ulcerate. You may notice brown or red spots inside your callus, which is a sign of blood that has entered through a break in the healthy skin underneath the callus. It is very important to maintain calluses to be thin to prevent any ulcers from forming.
Another reason dry callused skin can form is through a clogged sweat gland. The bottom of the foot has a remarkably large number of sweat glands and it is very easy for one of them to get clogged. It is nothing you, the patient, does to make it clogged. The body will just form a plug of dry skin into the sweat gland. It may feel like you’re stepping on a needle or sharp object in the area where you have a clogged sweat gland.
Treatment of calluses, corns, and dry skin can vary depending on the cause of them. Trimming the calluses down professionally can help prevent a lot of pain and future problems. There are certain creams and enzymes that can be used to help break up the dead skin and make if soft and supple. Padding and use of orthotics can help alleviate the pressure areas and prevent the buildup from happening as quickly as it normally would.
If you notice dry, cracked or callused skin, make sure you come see us at Advanced Podiatry. Our doctors are highly trained in conditions regarding the foot and skin and we can tailor a custom treatment plan to fit your needs! Call us at 813-875-0555 for your appointment today!