Q: I have very rough skin on my feet (and hands), with some cracks on my heels. They feel and look horrible and I need to do something before I can wear summer sandals.
A: The biggest problem that podiatrist Margaret Dabbs (margaretdabbs.co.uk) sees in older feet is dehydration. Cracks allow infections to get in and must be treated.
Book in with an experienced podiatrist. One of the many conditions they treat is dry and cracked heels. Find a local podiatrist on scpod.org.
Everyone should moisturise their feet every night. Because the skin on your feet is thicker, you need targeted products. Try Margaret Dabbs Intensive Hydrating Foot Lotion with emu oil, £25. In your case, pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends Cracked Skin Relief Crème by Derma E, £12.95, which is formulated with antiseptic herbs and vitamins, plus arnica and aloe vera. Apply liberally morning and night.
Buff feet once a week. More often will provoke more rough skin.
Don’t wear closed-in shoes without socks or tights. ‘The moisture from your feet drains into the shoes, drying out the skin,’ says Margaret. Instead, wear sandals.
Always cut toenails straight across. Don’t curve and dig down into the outer corners or this could cause ingrowing nails.
STAY CO AWARE ON HOLIDAY
If you are planning a holiday away, please don’t forget to take a portable carbon monoxide (CO) detector. The colourless, odourless gas, which comes from any heating fuel in an enclosed space (including disposable barbecues in tents), can cause chronic symptoms and death; for more information visit becarbonmonoxideaware.com. FireAngel Carbon Monoxide Alarm, £24.99.
SPORT CHANGED MY LIFE
Most of us think of the dance system Zumba as a fun way of getting fit, but for troubled schoolgirl Iqra Shah (pictured), 16, it proved a life changer. Iqra was one of 12 girls at Frederick Gent School in Derbyshire selected to take part in the Living for Sport project set up by Sky Sports. The group had all been identified as disengaged with school life and disruptive to others. ‘I was bad company, disruptive in lessons, and not getting anywhere with my life,’ remembers Iqra. Initially, athlete mentor Anthony Clark, a retired badminton champion, talked to them about how sport can improve all areas of life. ‘Hearing what he had accomplished made me think I could achieve something too,’ says Iqra.
The group identified Zumba as their chosen activity and were so inspired by the initial classes that it was put on the school curriculum. A second visit from Clark prompted the girls to organise a sponsored Zumba session, which raised over £200 for breast cancer research. Daniel Thompson, head of PE, said, ‘Iqra has shown so much commitment to this project. All the girls did a great job but Iqra’s progress has been the most noticeable. This is a direct result of Sky Sports’ Living for Sport and the sense of responsibility it gave Iqra, which brought out the best in her.’ Most importantly, Iqra is much happier now. ‘I’m a better student, I have good relationships with my teachers, my grades have improved – beyond my targets – and I am not getting into fights. I got totally involved with sport and it’s been a wonderful experience.’
Sky Sports Living for Sport, livingforsport.skysports.com, is a free secondary schools initiative that uses sports stars and sports skills to improve the lives of young people across the UK
WEBSITE OF THE WEEK
Mark Williams’s wife Michelle had postnatal depression after the birth of their son Ethan. Mark set up this website to help other fathers deal with ‘the massive knock-on effect for men’. It is full of helpful information.