I’d say for about 32 of my 33 years on this earth, I had great feet. Normal feet. I didn’t have any calluses or dry feet. I’d been regularly getting pedicures since I was 15. That is, until the disaster of October 2019 happened.
I was sitting down at a pedicure station at my nail salon, when I was assigned a new-to-me nail technician. I didn’t mind—apparently my usual guy was out for the day. No biggie! I put in my headphones and started scrolling on my phone when she tapped me on the leg.
“Remove your calluses?” she asked.
“Uhhh, sure?” I replied. I didn’t think I really had any calluses, but my heels were a little rough from a summer of walking around in sandals and flip flops. I looked back down at my phone, but soon flinched as she brought what looked like a cheese grater against my heel. I’d never seen anyone in the nail salon use one of these things before, and I’d never had one used on me, but it was quite painful. By the time I asked her to stop, she was nearly finished with scrubbing down my feet. She completed my pedicure and I paid and went home.
Later that evening, I noticed my feet felt incredibly sore—like someone had shredded my feet into pieces. I took one look at them and my predictions were correct. Instead of the smooth, soft feet that I normally had, my feet looked like the scene of a crime. They were cut up, slightly bloody and felt actually awful. I went back to the nail salon the next day, and they refunded me my money, but my feet still felt and looked awful. And there started my year-long journey of trying to repair my feet.
Cracked feet and heels were completely new territory for me, and let me tell you, I tried EVERYTHING. Pumice stones, vinegar soaks, Vaseline and Aquaphor, socks at night (which killed me, I HATE wearing socks while I’m sleeping). I tried using a Baby Foot mask, one of those AHA foot peeling masks, and that weirdly made it worse. I spent all winter with my feet covered up, so I didn’t really worry about it *too* much, but when spring came around I was determined to get my feet back to its original soft and supple glory.
My feet were getting to the point where the heels were cracked, bleeding, and painful, and no matter what I did, the cracks were just getting worse.
I had to come up with a game plan, and fast. My feet were getting to the point where the heels were cracked, bleeding, and painful, and no matter what I did, the cracks were just getting worse. So, I looked online for blog posts and YouTube videos and came up with some new ideas that I hadn’t tried, and miraculously, they started to work. I was able to wear sandals and go sock-free for the first time in almost a year last summer (not that I went anywhere fun, but still!).
How did I do it? Very simple!
1. Soak in the Bathtub
Soaking your feet softens up the dead, cracked skin and makes it easier to slough off with a foot file or pumice stone. My mistake going in with a pumice stone in the shower—your feet need to actually soak in water, not just get wet. I decided that I’d schedule a day each week to soak in the tub and listen to an audiobook or a podcast and chill. Not only was I helping my feet, but I got a bit of a brain break too.
2. Gently Use a Foot File
I think my biggest mistake is that I would go to town on my feet using the foot file. I mean, just scrubbing away like my life depended on it. In reality, it only made my situation worse. Once a week, while I was in the bath, I’d take my file and very, very gently use it on my feet. It still removed the dead skin but without causing further damage to my feet.
3. Moisturize the Right Way!
Before, I was using only regular lotion and Vaseline, a combination that was just not very effective. And then I read about O’Keefe’s Healthy Foot Cream in an article for The Strategist, and put in an order the same day. Once I got it, I was shook. I assumed it would be a deeply rich, thick cream, but it’s actually incredibly silky and lightweight. It has a high level of allantoin, an ingredient that helps penetrate thick, rough skin and softens it, so over time, your heels will be restored to their former glory. I didn’t have high hopes, but WOW. It really worked!
4. Heel Socks
I discovered heel socks when I was on Amazon looking at the foot cream—I gotta say, they truly know how to maximize the algorithm. Heel socks are vented, toeless socks that only go over your heels and have a piece of silicone gel in the heel. Why silicone? Well, silicone keeps moisture locked in to your feet, instead of regular cotton socks which just absorbs the moisture. I ordered four so I could rotate them out daily, and wore them at night while I slept. Within a week and a half, my feet had softened considerably, and within a month, my feet were cured! I couldn’t believe it.
View this post on Instagram
Have you ever dealt with dry, cracked heels? What are your recommendations? Let me know in the comments!