Do You Have Cracked Heels? What Can You Do About It?
How Cracked Heels Can Affect You?
Other than the visible cracked skin, you may experience:
- Bleeding from the cracked heels
- Flaky skin
- Pain and discomfort especially while standing
- Redness and swelling may occur if you have an infection
What Causes Cracked Heels?
You can see the growth of calluses, or dry, hard skin surrounding the heel. That is your first indicator,
The fat pad ends up expanding sideways as you walk and put more pressure on the area, leading these calluses to form little cracks.
While dry skin may be the main thing that causes cracked heels. It can also be influenced by:
- Standing for long periods, especially on hard floors
- Walking without shoes
- Dry, cold weather
- Having cold, dry skin
- Not wearing supportive footwear like open back sandals
- Wearing poorly fitting shoes
- Skin conditions like athlete's foot, eczema and psoriasis
- Using harsh soaps
How Do I Treat Cracked Heels At Home?
Your treatment options includes using a heel balm to moisturise your feet daily.
You can also use alpha hydroxy acids, salicylic acid or shea butter on the thickened skin to help retain moisture and remove dead skin cells.
You can try letting your foot soak in soapy water for 20 minutes and use a pumice stone to gently scrub the dry cracked heels.
After drying your feet, you can apply petroleum jelly and wear socks to intensely hydrate your heel pads.
You may also try liquid bandages. Cover the cracked skin with liquid, gel, or spray bandages. They act as a barrier over the heel cracks, reducing discomfort, preventing dirt and bacteria from entering the wounds, and speeding up the healing process.
If you have severely cracked heels, you may want to visit a podiatrist.
As a podiatrist, we can aid in the management of cracked heels by the followings:
- debridement. A medical professional removes the thick, hard skin on your heels during this operation.
- prescribing you with stronger creams containing higher percentage of salicylic acid or urea cream.
- recommend shoe inserts, heel pads or heel cups. Insoles can help act as a cushion to provide better support for most cases of cracked heels.
- medical skin glue. This is glue designed to use on skin to help hold the edges of the heel fissures together.
What If I Ignore It?
You'll experience prolonged painful heel cracks, discomfort and bleeding.
Left untreated, you could even develop an infection from the open wound.
How do I prevent heel cracks?
Check your feet daily for any signs of cracked heel or thick skin.
Moisturise your skin to prevent cracks.
Use warm water to wash your feet daily.
Wear shoes that are supportive and avoid prolonged standing.
Having trouble with your cracked heels?
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