Q Dear Auntie Pearl, I’m only 26 but my feet are looking like ouma voete already.
My heels are cracked and sore, and I actually don’t like hot weather because wearing open shoes and showing off my cracked hakke for the world is so embarrassing for me.
Some days it’s so sore I don’t even want to walk my son to school.
My friend tells me my feet are fugly and I’ve got vrotpootjie, and I laugh, but it’s true. Now, is there anything I can do about my cracked heels?
From Vrotpootjie in Ottery.
A Dear Vrotpootjie, although sore and cracked feet are no laughing matter, Auntie wants to commend you for tackling this often embarrassing and unpleasant problem with a sense of humour and grace.
Getting worked up, angry or feeling sorry for yourself is mos not going to help this situation, so good on you.
Auntie can promise you, you are not alone and a few other vrotpootjies all over Cape Town are very thankful you’ve asked for advice on this matter.
Now the rough, cracked skin on your voete is enough to ruin a lekker summer’s day, spoil an outfit that needs sexy sandals, and it just makes one feel morsag.
Now obviously a pedicure will help those fugly voete of yours look a bit better but it’s expensive and it doesn’t last so we need to figure out how you can get smooth heels and mooi voete at home.
Before we get to that, you mentioned your heels or feet are sometimes so sore you don’t want to walk your son to school, now this could be a bit more serious hartjie.
A lot of the time heel pain is caused by plantar fasciitis.
This is when the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes becomes inflamed.
Heel pain can also be caused by a stress fracture, tendonitis, arthritis, nerve irritation or sometimes even a cyst.
So, get to a doctor if you skeem its not getting better.
In the meantime, you can try to rest your feet as much as possible, apply ice to the heel for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day, wear shoes that fit properly, wear a night splint (ask for one at your pharmacy) and use heel lifts or shoe inserts to reduce the pain (these you can also find at a pharmacy).
Now for those sore and cracked hakke, here’s what you can try at home:
Make time to pamper your feet at least once a week.
Soak your voete in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes after you’ve had a bath.
You can put some Epsom salt in the water, or even your favourite essential oil if you’re feeling fancy.
Now you need pumice stone, also available from a pharmacy, that you need to scrub against your feet to get all the dead skin off.
You’ve got to keep those voete soft with cream, so a good moisturiser is very important.
You can also use oils you might have at home like olive oil or coconut oil.
You can also use Vaseline, and then wear thick socks and straight to bed.
Now you have to look at your shoes - tight shoes that restrict movement like boots or skoene that have a stiff heel can cause feet problems like this.
You want shoes with soft materials and flexible soles.
Now hartjie, like with everything in life, there’s no one-size-fits-all remedy, so see if the exfoliating, resting and dinge helps, and if not, rather see a foot doctor.
If you leave sore and cracked heels untreated, and put more and more pressure on them every day by walking, standing, running and so on, these cracks become deeper and more painful.
The cracks could also become so deep that they begin to bleed - and in severe cases, cracked heels can become infected.
So as Auntie mentioned, do what you can and what your money and time allows, but please watch it carefully.
Your health, even the health of your feet, are very important.