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Inflammed cracked calloused feet

A 62 year old woman has what TCM might call damp heat and yin deficient heat…in the form of large red skin areas and calloused areas that started first with cracking then the body protected it with callouses. I see a yellow (heat) tint to the callouses. I would like to know besides a formula if you would suggest soaking in salt water and using fine sandpaper to take down the callouses, cut the dead skin away or leave it and work internally first?
Thank you

As a TCM practitioner you are nearly universally going to want to focus on the internal issues. I would start by clarifying your diagnosis as it is difficult to both have dampness and yin deficiency - or at least one is the deeper root. Regardless you don’t want to start cutting away skin (more than likely outside of your scope and a referral to an MD would be more suitable), but foot soaks with warm water and baking soda will likely help initially and perhaps later epsom salt soaks. Follow the soaks with deep moisturizing lotion (or possibly something like coconut oil if lotions are not readily available). If the only area affected is the feet you want to look at footwear choices (not too small, poor fitting) and other issues that may be putting too much pressure on the feet. The internal diagnosis (if it is only the feet) is likely important for them as a whole but not entirely related to just the feet callouses as they are almost always from structural/footwear issues and not necessarily from deeper internal issues (although that does play a role). Also look deeply at anything that may be affecting the smaller blood vessels of the body (diabetes, smoking, etc.).

hello, and thank you for your reply to stimulate my brain…it is the damp heat that is prevalent yet she is post menopause and has yin deficient heat signs of sleeplessness and no thirst mostly.
this is a person i can not see as she lives far away from me. i await her photo of her tongue which i suppose will confirm the dampness and other things i suspect.
something i notice is that the skin will get thicker at the corners of the nails and around the feet especially. i have begun to use the fine sand paper instead of what a podiatrist and the beauticians use which is more pumice related. it is a gentle way each person can care for their dry skin. and so this is what i wanted to teach her. no it is not the scope per se of an acupuncturist but it is self care and that is what i like to offer.
i also was thinking there must be ways to encourage less damp creating foods be introduced or at least damp foods to be avoided.
what do you site as the main cause of inflammation in aging, Chad? is it not a type of yin deficient heat as well as yang def spleen plus each person’s individual root one way or the other: more kidney or more liver spleen?
so back to your idea to stay tcm focused and find the root: inflammation is? plus dampness…
this is a woman who has been over weight all her life and does not restrict her diet although she will say she thinks she eats rather healthily. healthy depends on how our body reacts to food: are we gaining fat? are we digesting slowly? are we eating late or too quickly and not chewing? etc
thank you for this site, once again. you need to win a community award.

I don’t believe there is a singular cause of inflammation nor that everyone has to have some imbalance of kidney or spleen energy in any real sense. On average dietary choices seem to be the most important contributing factor to inflammation as a whole, particularly overuse of sugar, processed foods, carbs, alcohol and excessive dairy. What these will do to the body on some level is generic and on other levels will depend greatly on the person. This is often worsened by lifestyle factors (no exercise, lack of sunshine, etc.). So to some degree a person who exercises but eats poorly would like fair at least mildly better than one who eats poorly and has poor lifestyle choices.

Besides the fact that death is inevitable, no other processes of “aging” are as set in stone as we like to think. Many of these processes can be at worst be slowed and at best even reversed with proper lifestyle and dietary choices. The role of Chinese Medicine in these cases is ultimately to help offset poor choices, unforseen life events, etc. and to push the body towards responding with its healing responses (lack of inflammation, promoting circulation or blood and fluids) and not with its destructive processes (inflammation, circulatory restriction, etc.).

With regards to each individual, there are only base rules and everything has to be adjusted to their particular circumstances. Many people feel they eat well, but when you really lay out what they eat it is not really that good (perhaps better than their surrounding peers, however). Some do eat well and have other issues such as hormonal issues, thyroid problems, digestive/assimilation issues, etc. that can lead to poor metabolic functions and this is another place where Chinese Medicine has a role in helping to resolve.

Habits such as chewing your food (saliva greatly helps digestion), never overeating, proper lifestyle activities, proper social activities, etc. all help the body. Ultimately its about limiting damage. Texts such as the blue zones - where they went through areas of the world where they have the highest concentrations of people living over 100 years of age - found that in general the two most important factors were societal/familial engagement (i.e. self-worth and according activities) and not overeating.

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