Agony of de feet :(
June 13, 2008 8:30 PM   Subscribe

Grody summer sandal feet, cracked heels, yada yada. I know what I need to do (pumice, shea butter, etc.), but in the summer I'm already burning up even before I try to put socks on at night! Is there anything else I can do?

I already try to file my feet in the shower about twice a week. I've tried dry sloughing and wet sloughing. I know there are soaks and creams with lactic acid in them, so maybe that's something that could work better/improve the situation.

However, it's really the incredible warmth that drives me nuts. Even now, when I've been sitting by a nice cool window with dry, bare feet for several hours, my feet are red and hot. Now, slathering them with shea butter and sleeping in socks has definitely helped, but UGH, the prospect of doing that when I already have enough trouble falling asleep in this weather does not intrigue me. I've tried it a couple times in the last few weeks, and I was pretty uncomfortable.

As for shoes, I wear Chacos pretty much every day. I would love to have something like my old Birkenstocks, which had the most wonderful worn-in leather footbeds that got cool when I took my feet out, but I won't wear Birks anymore because they're too flat.

So. Are there any creams that would work particularly well to cool my feet down? (I've got a peppermint cream by EO which doesn't do anything.) How about those wacky gel socks? Buying sandals with slick leather insoles that AREN'T Birks? This problem seems to be partially genetic, so I don't see it going away soon, and any assistance would be much appreciated.
posted by Madamina to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
First, you should get a pedicure. You can't get sandal feet on your own, and regular pedicures will make a world of difference in how your feet look and feel. As for cooling - all you need is menthol gel! It's blue, any drugstore has a cheap generic, and it (chemically, somehow) immediately cools any place you put it - I use it for sunburns and bug bites, and I'm sure it'd work for a case of the Hot Feet as well. Plus - it moisturizes! Win/win.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:38 PM on June 13, 2008 [3 favorites]

OK, here ya go - keep a bottle of aloe in your fridge, and when you get home (or whenever your feet are really bothering you), rinse them off quickly in COLD water, then slather on e VERY thin layer of the cold aloe. Prop them up and read a magazine for 5-10 minutes.
posted by tristeza at 9:03 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Buy one of these. Microplane foot file - basically a foot zester, but they work like a dream. QVC carries a popular model.
posted by ersatzkat at 9:05 PM on June 13, 2008

I don't have any ideas about foot cooling that are particularly brilliant, but for getting rid of calluses and roughness, I cannot recommend strongly enough Eucerin Intensive Foot Repair Creme. I've recommended it around here before because it's seriously awesome. It has lactic acid and urea and soaks in fast enough you don't need to wear socks. I suffer from hot feet myself and can't stand sleeping be-sock-ed. The Eucerin stuff it nearly miraculous. Combined with regular sloughing (files work better than pumice, I think) it makes my gross rough feet insanely soft in just a week or two of nightly use.
posted by mostlymartha at 9:29 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yep, I use a microplane already, and yep, I get pedicures, at least once every couple of months or so.

Thanks for the Eucerin idea; keep 'em coming!
posted by Madamina at 9:47 PM on June 13, 2008

First, you absolutely can maintain nice feet without professional pedicures. Pedicures are lovely. But when I was broke my feet looked good without that expense. You need to be religious with the application of cream - I'm a fan of Carmol 20.

Now about those cracked heels. If they're really deep cracks, then here's the secret weapon. Super Glue. Last year I cut my foot just weeks before a marathon. I didn't want to drop out of the race, but I was worried it wouldn't fully heal and I'd have a painful crack in my foot. Turns out that there's a medical grade super glue to heal body surfaces. I just used the regular stuff. Clean very, very well first because you don't want anything nasty trapped in there. The super glue will close the crack so that it's not painful and it will heal in a day or two.

I know - it sounds absolutely wacky. If it didn't work so well, I'd assume it was a hoax.
posted by 26.2 at 10:13 PM on June 13, 2008

Try using the creams or ointments for athletes foot on your heels. You have to use it for a few weeks before you see a real difference but it works. Sometimes the cracks are caused by athlete's foot. They even sell "nice smelling" versions of the cream now.
posted by tamitang at 11:35 PM on June 13, 2008

Oh, and I almost forgot. Slather the stuff on your feet before you go to bed and then put on thin cotton footie socks.
posted by tamitang at 11:36 PM on June 13, 2008

This stuff is fantastic. Not sure how widely available it is at different stores but I've been getting it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
posted by fuse theorem at 11:55 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Um -- how about a scientific attack? What is best for your skin -- your own natural skin oils or shea butter? What is sleeping slathered in shea butter doing to your own natural production? How about giving your own body a chance and cutting right back to only adding a little bit of extra oil/cream when special circumstances demand it? It is amazing how quickly your own body can adjust. (Of course your feet get somewhat de-greased as they stand in the bottom of your shower -- you might consider how many chemicals you really need to use on the top half.)

It sounds as though your feet feel that the best response to the way they are currently treated is to grow thicker skin than you like. A harsh removal regime is probably just encouraging the growth. Had you better just accept the tradeoff? Either cut down on the sandal-wearing or accept the protection of the extra skin?

The cooling aspect seems to particularly need evaluation. Just how is a dab of cream or a rub of liquid going to supply lasting cooling? They are not going to be able to absorb much heat themselves, and even evaporation won't provide long-lasting relief. My first thought was that maybe a cream could shrink blood vessels, then I realised that probably isn't helpful. Having plenty of blood close to the surface allows the blood to lose heat to the air. Did you say your feet are red? Your body really is trying to help!

For more cooling you are going to have to provide a means to transport away quite a lot of heat. A dime-store icepack is going to be far more effective than an expensive pot of cream, or you could soak your feet in cold water or just splash water on for evaporative cooling, renewing it often.
posted by Idcoytco at 6:53 AM on June 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I sometimes get hot feet and have found that washing them thoroughly with soap and cold water cools them down. Oddly, cold water without soap doesn't work. This may not solve your problem, but it's simple enough to try. If you can't stick your feet in the sink at work, maybe you could put some soap on a wet paper towel and go at 'em discreetly that way.

SuperGlue has been used for battlefield medicine since the Viet Nam War, when medics used it to glue the skin of wounded soldiers together so they didn't bleed to death. It's not FDA-approved, though, since it irritates the skin and generates heat (!). I've used the regular stuff occasionally with no ill effects, but there's a medical-grade version that's probably worth looking for if you think you'll be using it a lot.
posted by Quietgal at 7:12 AM on June 14, 2008

I used to get hot feet to the point where they would keep me up at night and my only relief was propping them up way higher than my head. Have you tried elevating them when they get bad? The gel gloves and socks tend to make my appendages even hotter.

I've had good luck with Pretty Hands and Feet to get the dead skin off.

One thing I did notice is that my feet were much worse when I was a smoker. Once I quit, I hardly ever have "AAH HOT FEET!!!" episodes.
posted by Addlepated at 10:39 AM on June 14, 2008

Try these heel wraps from Footsmart. They have a washable felt liner inside and are wonderfully cool for summer nights (I can't bear those socks either). If you get the pack with the heel treatment cream, this will last for at least two years. It fixed the problem for me!
posted by Susurration at 1:54 PM on June 14, 2008

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