Help me help my feets!
August 30, 2010 9:05 AM   Subscribe

My feet are sad. What are the tools and techniques I can use to make them happier?

What products should I buy, what tools should I use, to make my feet happy? They are very calloused and the toenails are banged up. One toe was recently broken. Another got stubbed on a shopping cart wheel and is in the process of losing a toenail. And I'm running a lot. I'm female, and sometimes I wear heels. The broken toe is mostly healed now, but when it was bandaged and swollen it made my shoes fit funny and I wound up with blisters in the arches. Also, my feet are forty-one years old, and have been my feet for a long time.

What can I buy, in terms of pumice stones, brushes, callous removers, softening agents, powders, even polish, that can make them happier? What practices can I incorporate into my daily life to treat them more kindly and make up for the trouble I cause them?

Looking for specific brands, if possible.

Note: my feet are happiest buying products on Amazon.

My feet thank you.
posted by A Terrible Llama to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There's flexitol foot cream for heels. It works pretty well but if theyr'e sandpaper heels, you'll need to get those roughed down then put the cream on 2ce a day (messy so you'll need socks in day then at night too).

For polish, I got with Sally Hansen. For remover, use the ones that have nourishing lotions/oils in them. SH also sells a cuticle oil.

I don't have the perfect answer since I"m in the same boat. All I know is age sucks.
posted by stormpooper at 9:08 AM on August 30, 2010

Best answer: I get serious callouses on my heels, and I got a PedEgg... it works wonders (apologies for the link to an advertisement)! Also, I'm not sure where you are, but I really like Lush's Pied de Pepper foot lotion. They have several products for feet, and I've found their stuff to be pretty reliably excellent (and indulgent). You can't get it on Amazon, but you can order from their website :)

Alternately, you can splurge on a really good pedicure.
posted by torisaur at 9:12 AM on August 30, 2010

Best answer: I know it's not Amazon, and I know I sound like I work for them (but I don't): LUSH has some great products like Fair Trade Foot Lotion, and two of the hands-down and feet-down best products in the world: Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter and Ocean Salt exfoliating scrub. Use the exfoliating scrub and rub in lots of the cuticle lotion all over (not just cuticles) and your feet will be soft and happy.

I like OPI nail polish the best (and it comes in a vast, VAST range of colors). Creative Nail Designs Stickey Base Coat makes the polish last and Seche Vite topcoat makes your pedicure dry faster.

Shoes: as our feet age, they spread a bit too - be sure you are wearing the right size and/or width for your feet. If you need a wide width you need it, and you can find it easily at Zappo's or DSW. There are many brands of shoes like Life Stride, Clarks, Aerosole, etc. that are great for work as well as comfortable enough to walk around in. No, they're not Manolos or Christian Louboutin, but unless you work at Vogue, the comfortable brands are plenty fashion-forward. My job requires bouts of standing for hours and I will NOT subject my feet to ouchie shoes for the sake of appearance.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:19 AM on August 30, 2010

Ths little Burt's Bees Kit. My feet were once unhappy, until I gave them this. Now you too can have happy feet!

Immediately after using the pumice stone, rub in the (freakin' incredible) coconut cream (which smells delicious). Put on the socks (or any pair of cotton socks). I recommend doing this at night, and waking up to softer, smoother feet. I notice a definite difference after one use, but after several days of continued use, one would never tell I had dry and cracked feet just days earlier. It. Is. Amazing.
posted by raztaj at 9:19 AM on August 30, 2010

Best answer: My two favorite things are the Tweezerman Pedro foot file and Queen Helene FooTherapy salts. Per my response in this thread, the Queen Helene stuff looks like it's for old ladies, but it works fantastically in 10 minutes. You can use a dish bucket and some fine-grit sandpaper :D

Pedro has a nice handle and will last forever. The key is actually the finer-grit side; I find that when I'm using the stuff I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I get more off (and more smoothly) with the fine stuff than the rough stuff.

Ped Eggs do work, but oh man can they get stinky. Plus they don't give you that super-smooth finish like the finer grit.

I am not a huge fan of Lush, actually, but I really like their Lemony Flutter stuff as a lotion.

Put lotion on when your feet are still wet.
posted by Madamina at 9:36 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My inflatable foot tub has been my feet's best friend through years of lotions and files.

Body Glide on the feet is supposed to be good for preventing blisters for running.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:49 AM on August 30, 2010

Best thing that makes my feet happy is just warm water in a bowl of some sort, almond oil, and some sort of good smelling essential oil - I mostly use lavendar. I sit and soak my feet while reading. If the mosquitoes aren't too bad, sometimes I do it outside. 15 or 20 minutes later I do a quick pedicure and dry off with a fluffy towel. I find it is a nice stress reducer as well as foot relaxer....
posted by Leah at 10:03 AM on August 30, 2010

I spent years with heels that would crack and bleed and make it incredibly painful to walk. I pumiced and lotioned and all that, but the thing that has really made my feet happy is regular pedicures. Really getting your feet in good shape is actually a lot of work, and you probably won't spend 45 minutes taking care of them the way a person does who you're paying.

Every two or three weeks - go to a cheapy nails place, and get a pedicure. Best 20-30 bucks you'll spend.
posted by Kololo at 10:41 AM on August 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

Do you go barefoot a lot? I've always been the person that kicked off their shoes when they walked in the door but when I began wearing socks whenever I'm at home during the day, even without any lotion, my feet have become almost baby soft. It's just something extra to think about in addition to pedicures (which I believe are mandatory to a woman's mental health).
posted by hollygoheavy at 11:23 AM on August 30, 2010

I have this terra cotta foot scrubber. I really, really like it. It rinses off better than the pumice stones I've owned and it lasts for years even though I use it regularly.
posted by aabbbiee at 11:55 AM on August 30, 2010

My feet are quite happy as long as they get rubbed down with their Scholl foot file when I have a bath and get smothered in bodybutter before I go to bed. You can also use your normal body scrub on your feet. If your heels are badly cracked use cream with urea in it. Personally I love Rimmel Pro nail polish because it is good value, has a nice brush which makes it very difficult to get polish anywhere other than your toe nails and it lasts forever, like 3 weeks, as my nails don't grow very fast. At that point the polish is still fine, but my nails have grown enough for a noticeable gap so need attention.
posted by koahiatamadl at 12:12 PM on August 30, 2010

Nthing the regular pedicures. I don't get them as regularly as Kololo, but they help a lot. I also mention where my feet are building up walking calluses when I'm walking regularly. My tootsies (which are slightly older than yours) have also lost toenails or had them separate, and a good pedicurist can help a lot with making them look and feel better as the nails grow back. Ask for a recommendation from your friends.

I slather Bliss body butter (available on Amazon) on my feet daily between pedicures to keep them soft. The Bliss isn't cheap, but it comes in a tube so I don't scoop it out of a tub, and it's the least greasy-feeling of the body butters I've tried after I rub it in.
posted by immlass at 12:39 PM on August 30, 2010

As someone else trying to evaluate various tools & products on the market - does anyone have any clear info on whether (or which type of) foot files/stones/scrubbers are likely to increase future callus build-up? I keep seeing anecdotal comments to this effect - mostly Ped-Eggs bad, pumice stones good - but haven't found any good data in my (admittedly limited) searching.
posted by deludingmyself at 2:19 PM on August 30, 2010

Response by poster: These are all great, thanks. I Best Answered items I actually bought today or will buy tomorrow. But I'll look out for all of these in the future.

Re. pedicures - my feets have various little problems that make going to get a pedicure hygienically and socially iffy. For them, not for me.

(I didn't buy Metroid Baby's inflatable foot tub but I love the idea and will look for it. Instead I came home and treated my feet to a long soak in an icy kiddie pool, some time with the pumice board thingy, and two glasses of wine. The last for me, not my feet. Okay, three. )

My feets say thank you.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:43 PM on August 30, 2010

Response by poster: does anyone have any clear info on whether (or which type of) foot files/stones/scrubbers are likely to increase future callus build-up?

Wait, what? ;)
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:44 PM on August 30, 2010

To soften your feet, slather vaseline jelly all over the bottoms of your feet and put thick (gotta be thick like athletic!) socks on, and then sleep in that. Overnight the vaseline jelly will work its miraculous magic. Especially recommend doing this in the winter time, when the air is so dry and unforgiving.
posted by contessa at 2:54 PM on August 30, 2010

Ped Eggs can damage the feet, says spa professional (scroll down to read Lynn Dang's opinion). And I've heard about feet damage anecdotally from friends and MakeupAlley as well. It's metal, like a cheese grater, and normally you really shouldn't file your feet with metal (I will only use metal to clip my toenails). Pumice, salt scrubs, terra cotta etc. are much gentler and don't have the potential to cause damage. Plus, they're more hygienic (a plastic container full of skin debris? EW. GROSS. Think about it!). The really high-rated nail spa I use when I can afford it - voted "Best" in the area - only uses salt scrubs and pumice, and my feet feel plenty soft and silky.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:54 PM on August 30, 2010

Nthing Lush's Lemony Flutter. The stuff is amazing! (I just finished slathering some on my hideously dry, cracked heels)
posted by SisterHavana at 6:09 PM on August 30, 2010

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