What are Cracked Heels


 

Cracked Heels are a common skin condition where the skin surrounding your heel becomes hard, dry and begins to crack.

In this article we will discuss why we get cracked heels, the treatments available for cracked heels and measures you can take to prevent getting cracked heels in the first place.

 

Causes of Cracked Heels


The skin on the heel is subject  to constant trauma during walking and standing, and is no doubt under a lot of stress.

Due to this, the skin is naturally thicker and harder as it also has a protective role.

It requires a degree of moisture to keep it supple, flexible and pliable to perform its shock absorbing function.

The heels however can be prone to dryness due to a number of reasons:

  1. Advancing age – As one gets older, skin can lose its natural moisture;
     
  2. Heel exposure – Wearing open footwear that exposes the heel can make it prone to dryness;
     
  3. Skin conditions - like psoriasis or eczema can cause skin to break and crack;
     
  4. Diabetes mellitus – This can cause dry feet and make it prone to cracking;
     
  5. Athletes foot or Tinea Pedis – This is due to a fungal infection, but can also result in cracked heels; and
     
  6. High load - putting excess stress on the area due to being overweight or long periods of standing or exercising.

 

Patients who suffer from cracked heels can unfortunately suffer from occasional bleeding or infection from the cracks due to continuous trauma and open wounds. 

           

Cracked Heels Treatment


Managing Cracked Heels primarily involves conservative methods.

What this means is that it usually involves simple measures at home that can help.

Some of them are listed below:

  1. Moisturise – Dry skin is the primary cause of cracked heels. Keep skin moisturised using a good moisturising lotion. Apply this at bedtime and also during the day, every day. Creams that are urea based will be most effective when there is many layers of thick skin.
     
  2. Remove dry skin – This can be done by gently using a foot file having pre-soaked the feet in warm water. Doing so softens up the skin and enables the foot file to remove any dry skin off the heel. This can also be done after a shower.
     
  3. Clean any bleeding areas with antiseptic solution to prevent infection. Keep open wounds covered with a suitable dressing.
     
  4. See a Podiatrist – Podiatrists are experts in managing patients who suffer from cracked heels. They provide sound advice on what works the best, and will advise on the best products that will work to help heal the heels.  In addition, they can advise on the right footwear to wear, and what home remedies can be the most useful in treating cracked heels. Any infections will be treated with suitable antiseptics and if required antibiotics.

 

Prevention of Cracked Heels


A little care is all that is required...

...ensure that feet are covered and moisturised regularly.

Wear well-fitted shoes and natural fibre socks to ensure adequate foot protection.

See your Podiatrist or doctor if you suffer from athlete’s foot or tinea.

 

Further Resources on What are Cracked Heels

 

Conclusion on Cracked Heels

Cracked heels are a common problem, especially in the hot dry weather of summer.

Simple home remedies can help treat it effectively, and even prevent it in most cases.

However, in case of persistence, Podiatrists are always available to provide effective treatment and advice.

 

 

BOOK ONLINE!

click here

 

Dr Leah WatersWritten by Leah Waters

Leah Waters is a Melbourne Podiatrist and founder of Pivotal Podiatry Clinic. A Melbourne based Podiatry Clinic.

You can find Leah on
Google+ and Facebook. Make an appointment call (03) 9939 3339.