do any chefs have a tip to help my sore feet

Joined Mar 28, 2011
I have been getting badly cracked heels and it can be really sore to stand for 12 hours at a time. Any tips?
Joined Apr 3, 2008
cracked heels? well, that will take a bit of serious attention. You will need some Epsom salts, a pumice stone, a serious moisturizing lotion and a pair of really comfy sandals or flip-flops or open slippers or brand new fluffy socks.

First wash and soak your feet in a  bath of hot water and Epsom salts for at least 20 minutes.

Take the pumice tone and just gently rub your heels and toes and edges of your feet where they are cracked or callused. DO NOT try and remove all your calluses, more like a like sanding and shaping a brittle piece of ceramic. If you get too vigorous your feet will feel like someone took a power sander to them. This knocks off dead skin that is robbing your body of oils and also not letting your skin/feet breathe as well as they could.

Dry your feet , rub lotion in, a lot. your feet should have a nice slick sheen of lotion on them. You can either prop your feet up and just let this naturally soak in, or if you got things to do inside the house put on the sandals or slippers or socks. Do not put your feet back into a pair of shoes for at least 2 hours, you can count the washing and soaking time in that.

If you can do this after every shift you got a lot more time then I do..however at least twice a week I try to treat my feet as best I can and that's pretty much my routine. Quick and easy treat is to always change socks and shoes after your shift, preferably into a pair of sandals that let them breathe. Oh, and walk barefoot whenever you can
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Great tips Gunnar.  I'd go with that too.  Also maybe a change of socks to use half way thru your shift.  This can help refresh your feet somewhat.  Also get the best support and kitchen safe shoes you can afford, they will be worth the investment.

Another tip I've heard of (although it sounds somewhat weird), is just before bed, rub Vaseline jelly into your feet then wrap them in cling wrap.  It's going to feel strange.  Try it a couple of times a week & see how it goes.  Unwrap and wash them off in the morning, then talcum powder before putting your socks on.

I know soldiers in the wars would often be in muddy conditions and very rarely be able to change their socks.  To prevent jungle rot it was recommended they rub their feet with Vaseline, especially between the toes, to avoid this.  Yeah, it sounds icky and squishy, but it worked pretty well apparently.

Hope some of this helps


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
You might also go to a podiatrist to see about custom orhotics. Expensive but well worth the increase in comfort if you're on your feet all day.
Joined Jan 31, 2011
Hubby had the same problem when he was on his feet for a long stretch (everyday. He works in a factory) I got him some Heeltastic. It's sort of ChapStick for your feet. He applied it before bed, then wore socks to sleep in. It worked great for him.

My daughter tried it, too, with equally good results.

I got it at Dollar General, but you can also order it online. If you order online, be careful to use a reputable dealer, since some sites are bogus (like Amazon has it, but it costs more than Dollar General.

Joined Apr 28, 2003
You might also go to a podiatrist to see about custom orhotics. Expensive but well worth the increase in comfort if you're on your feet all day.


I can attest to this.  I have calcified ankles for almost 2 years now but it got overly painful after my accident on my ebike 5 months back.  My doctor recommended me for custom orthotics plus I got electrotherapy and medical massages for my feet, ankles, and calves.  The orthotics would have set me back nearly $500 if not for my health insurance and its only a one time deal.
Joined Mar 20, 2011
I'm a nail technician and come across cracked heels more often than not. Here are my recommendations.

My favorite tool is a Sof' Feet callous smoother/reducer. It's a clear plastic wand with a screen on the end, which is changeable and therefore sanitary. Use it for about a minute on each foot BEFORE getting your feet wet. After showeing/bathing, apply a moisturizing cream that does NOT contain any petroleum ingredients (petrolatum, petroleum jelly, mineral oil, benzene, etc). Use the callous smoother everyday or everyday and you will see an improvement. If you are getting pedicures, NEVER let them use a blade. First of all, it's illegal in most states, and second, it's not solving the problem. Callouses are cause by constant friction, so unless you stay off your feet, you won't be able to prevent them. Cutting away the callouses will only make it worse. Just consistently smooth and moisturize them and they won't get bad enough to crack. I wrote a Squidoo lens on this very topic recently.

Vaseline is a petroleum based product, it will not penetrate your skin, therefore it will not hydrate. Soldiers will put it on their feet to create a barrier. 

I have also studied Athletic Training, and had to learn about shoes. From my understanding, orthotics will only benefit you if your feet are pronated or don't have an arch. They are used for support. So definitely see a podiatrist to determine if you would benefit from them. If you have high arches, look for a shoe that will give you cushioning. 

Hope this all helps!
Joined Jun 14, 2002
I echo the others.

- Wear 'lotiony' socks to bed.

- Get shoes with good support. I have two pair so I can rotate them each day. Allows them to dry out reducing odor, and makes the shoes last longer.

- Changes socks during shift.

- See a poditrist if needed.


- There are stretches you can do on your feet that help alot. Google for em.

- I use a couple of rolled up towels to rest my feet on so they don't stretch the wrong way since I sleep on my front.

- Moleskin for sensitive areas.
Joined Jul 5, 2010
Everything that's been said is good advice IMO. Massaging helps a LOT for soreness as well. If you have the luxury of someone else willing to go near your over-worked tootsies, then, by all means, take advantage of that. If not, rub your own feet well regularly. Keep them clean no matter what. If it grosses you out to rub your own feet, then you're not taking good enough care of them, and don't ask someone else to do it for you if that's the case. I've never had a problem with cracking skin, but I think that's probably because I scrub my feet and hands vigorously with a brush whenever I feel the need/get the chance.

I don't know if it's because of the particular oils or waxes used in the compound, but one product I've come to love is called "Badger Balm". It leaves an oily residue as petroleum jelly would, but (for me, at least), if given an hour + (watch a rented movie or something while your feet are coated), it seems to work better.

Wearing thick socks regularly might help, too. I know some cooks who wear two pairs of socks (and buy over-sized shoes to accommodate the added surface area) for extra moisture-wicking, cushioning, and to reduce friction. I have never made a regular habit of wearing extra socks, but I have noticed that thick socks are nice in general, so long as they don't make your feet sweat even more. I am very particular about how my shoes fit, so maybe that is why I've never felt as though I needed extra socks. If I don't know for a fact that the shoes will break in well, I won't buy them if they aren't comfortable from the very start.


Joined Mar 2, 2006
Three things,


jar of peanut butter

a large dog to lick said peanut butter.


Nah just kidding I have nothing for ya.
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Joined Jun 7, 2011
Everything said so far has been great (I especially thought SpaTreats2U had a very informative post), and I thought I'd give you some perspective from the Shoe Maker side of things. 

When it comes to your shoes, avoid open backs (which you should be anyway, as a chef) because they expose your sock/foot to excess moisture in your environment. In addition, look into an insole with moisture wicking topcloth, and try to find shoes with a moisture-wicking liner to keep your feet dry.

If you're thinking, "Why am I moisturizing and then avoiding moisture?", it's because excess moisture causes increased friction between your feet and your sock/shoe, which leads to foot pain, callouses, and eventually cracked heels.
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