Crusty Toes

Crusty toes can make you feel uncomfortable about wearing open toed sandals, walking barefoot or showing your feet in flip-flops. If you have brittle, cracked, chipped or hard toes, fret not as there are home remedies and over-the-counter medications that can help you deal with this problem.

Cracked toes are a very common problem, and if they're not treated they can develop into painful openings and fissures. Many people tend to see dehydrated toes as a small nuisance, but what they do not realize is the fact that these minor problems can go on to become ulcerations and fungal infections.

If there is a particular group of people that needs to be more careful about how they treat their feet and toes, it is diabetic people. Currently, there are numerous over-the-counter medications and home remedies that can be used to combat this problem. Apart from helping you combat the dryness in your toes, they can also assist you with conditions like psoriasis and athlete's foot.

Crusty Toes—What Are The Causes?

One of the leading causes of cracked, dry toes is the parched winter weather. However, there are a number of additional factors that can also have an impact on your toes. Some of the problems that have been known to cause toe fissures include:

  • Excess weight
  • Age
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Skin conditions like psoriasis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease

As you grow older, your skin starts to age. As a result, different parts of your body will start to crack. Diabetes is one of the numerous conditions that make it hard for the body to produce oils. The skin, therefore, ends up being less supple, and becomes more susceptible to dryness.

Thyroid disease, psoriasis and athlete's foot are some of the common disorders and diseases that have been known to cause cracked heels. Additionally, being overweight tends to place additional pressure on your heels and toes.

Ill-fitting shoes and prolonged standing are two factors that further compound the situation. Running water has also been seen to possess the ability to rob your skin of its natural oils. This in turn leaves the skin feeling rough and very dry. Deficiency of important minerals and vitamins can also cause your toes to start breaking down.

Symptoms Associated with Crusty Toes

The most common indication that your toes could be cracking comes in the form of thick, discolored tissue. The discolored callus tissue is formed when too much pressure is placed on the toes when one is running or walking. The tissue may be painful and needs to be treated as soon as possible.

If continuous pressure is applied, and the callus tissues are left untreated, you can expect to start noticing the emergence of deep breaks in the toes, which may eventually start bleeding. Proper care is needed to prevent the occurrence of an infection. With time, the skin on the toes could start to redden, and in some cases could become inflamed.

Home Remedies

1. Scrubbing

You need to scrub the dead, hard skin present on your toes. Scrubbing will assist you to remove the crusty patches. Before you start scrubbing, it is recommended that you soak your feet in warm water, which will help in softening the toes to make them easier to scrub.

  • Prepare a mixture containing warm water and liquid soap
  • Place your toes in the water for at least 20 minutes
  • Grab a pumice stone and use it to scrub your toes. This will help you remove all the dead skin cells that have been loosened by the solution.
  • Use warm, clean water to rinse off your feet
  • Grab a clean towel and use it to dry your toes
  • Apply some moisturizer before wearing a clean pair of socks
  • Repeat the remedy each day until the crusty patches disappear

2. Coconut Oil

This is yet another home remedy that comes in handy when one is dealing with cracked and patchy toes. It is an essential oil that will help you to moisturize the feet while at the same time fighting off bacterial and fungal infections. Coconut oil is able to do this because of its antifungal and antimicrobial properties.

  • Soak your toes in a tub filled with warm water and use a loofah to scrub them
  • Use a towel to dry your toes
  • Apply a generous amount of coconut oil to the affected toes
  • Wear a clean pair of overnight socks
  • In the morning, take the socks off and wash your feet with warm water
  • Repeat this procedure for a few days until you get satisfactory results

Olive oil is a great alternative to coconut oil

3. Mentholated Rub

It contains a broad array of essential oils, which makes it ideal for people dealing with cracked toes. In addition, it can help you deal with toenail fungus.

  • Wash your toes before applying the mentholated rub each night
  • Be sure to wear a clean pair of overnight socks
  • Use warm water to clean your toes in the morning
  • Repeat this daily until the patches start to come off

4. Paraffin Wax

Paraffin wax also comes in handy when one wants to remove the dead, dry skin cells from their crusted toes. This wax also functions as an emollient, which helps you soften your skin while retaining the skin’s natural oils.

  • Place some paraffin wax in a microwave and blend it with an equal portion of coconut oil or mustard oil
  • Take the resulting paste and apply it between your toes
  • Put on a clean pair of overnight socks
  • Wash your toes in the morning using warm water
  • Repeat the remedy for 14 days

If natural home remedies are not for you, try applying some topical creams or ointments on the affected regions. You will need to apply the creams and ointments at least twice each day to see results. In case you do not see any change within a week or two, visit a podiatrist for a detailed diagnosis. A visit to your podiatrist will also help ensure that your toes do not become infected.