Could my old floors be drawing moisture from my feet?

Strange question, I guess, but one that’s bugging me.

Nearly two years ago I started experiencing a foot problem wherein the the callouses on my soles crack open, down to the “virgin” skin below. It happens in two places most frequently: the spot where my little toe joins with the rest of my foot, and on the outside end of the balls of my feet. As you might expect, this is rather painful.

The reason I question whether my floors might have something to do with it is that these problems started not long after I moved into my current apartment. This is in a small apartment building that is fairly old. I don’t know exactly how old, but I’m guessing pre-WW2. It’s old enough that my kitchen has a genuine, built-in icebox. My downstairs living room floor is painted wood and the kitchen has linoleum, but the upstairs, where I spend most of my time, is carpeted (aside from the linoleum in the bathroom).

I never experienced this particular problem before moving into this apartment. I live alone, and don’t share my shower with anyone else, nor do ever go barefoot where other people do (e.g., public swimming pools, gym showers, etc.), so I’m ruling out athlete’s foot. Besides, I don’t have any other symptoms of AF. Also, I can usually “fix” the problem fairly quickly by applying Bag Balm ointment to my feet; no other medication necessary.

I don’t wear shoes indoors; I’m usually in my socks. And the locations of the cracking callouses are precisely where my feet are most frequently in contact with the floors at home. Most of my time at home is spent in front of my computer, and I usually sit with my ankles crossed, which means that the outside edges of my feet are almost constantly touching the floor. The problem also tends to pop up most often on my days off from work, when I get to spend most of two days in my socks at home. I suspect I don’t get the cracking very often on work days because I’m on my feet all day and they’re sweating inside my shoes, keeping the callouses soft.

Granted, two days of shoelessness could simply be providing enough time for my soles/callouses to dry out and crack, but again, I never had this problem before moving into this apartment.

So could there possibly be something about these floors that is sucking all of the moisture out of my soles? I realize that correlation =/= causation, but the timing here is suspicious.

Considering that another poster on this board (sorry, on mobile ATM, hard to search) got chilblains by doing just that, it wouldn’t surprise me if this were possible as well.

By doing just what?

This happens all year round, as well, not just during the cold seasons.

He ripped out his carpet and refurbished his hardwood floors, making them colder to walk on.

I have to say, your problem sounds a lot like athlete’s foot, particularly if it’s happening in warm weather as well as cold. I don’t share my shower, or go barefoot in the places you mention, yet I still have recurring bouts. Are your feet sometimes itchy, even with no visible cracking? The fungus can hang around without actually causing the characteristic peeling and cracking.

It comes about with age.

The human genome has all sorts of problems , one is that there are various skin disorders that occur with middle age. If you don’t wear socks on days with dry air, your feet dry out… in the dry air. When air is below freezing, it becomes perfectly dry … any moisture falls out as snow (etc). Anyway heaters also reduce the relative humidity…

Yeah, sorry, I thought the “walking around barefoot” bit would be easier to understand in context.

I agree on the age thing. Get some heel balm and invest in some gel socks as a preventative

Have you used a fungicide in the shower and tub? Or tried shower shoes for a few weeks?

Only a medical professional can rule out fungus. Get it checked out and cultured before throwing out that baby.

If you don’t have athlete’s foot, then apply lotion religiously and get a humidifier or two. I never heard of gel socks, but it sounds interesting (if it works).

No itching issues. The cracks on the balls of my feet occur precisely where my foot bends when walking, and are always perfectly straight, exactly as if the thick callous simply dried out and split open.

Until I can track down some heel balm, I’ll try keeping my feet slathered in Bag Balm :smiley:


Alas, I can’t afford a trip to the doctor right now (newish job, insurance hasn’t kicked in yet).

This doesn’t answer your question, but try slathering them in a moisturizer before bed and then putting on socks to sleep in. The socks seem to hold in the moisturizer and make them extra soft in the morning.

I had the same problem and I’m sure it had nothing to do with the floor because I hadn’t moved. It does only happen when my calluses get thick. Try the moisturizer/sock method, but with Kerasal which also softens up the callus.