Heel cracks can become painful, itchy and sometimes embarrassing- especially in the warmer weather where we look to change out footwear into something less enclosed.
What are the causes for heel cracks?
- Footwear; walking barefoot or in shoes such as thongs, sandals or any open backed shoes, which dries the skin out. Also poor fitting shoes can place extra pressure on the heels.
- Increased weight, causing extra pressure on the heels and more hard skin formation.
- Fungal infections/tinea.
- Dry and scaly skin that cause be caused by changes in climate, such as low humidity during dry summers or cold winters.
- Metabolic and hormonal conditions, such as thyroid or hormonal imbalances (estrogen), diabetes & neuropathy, dermatitis, kidney disease and psoriasis.
- Reduced Circulation.
- Deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and zinc
- Age- as with getting older the skin can become thick, dry and scaly which loses its elasticity.
Can I manage my heel cracks at home?
- Most cases of minor dry and cracked heels will respond quickly to home treatments.
- These should include daily application of foot cream, giving special attention to the heels and bottom surface of the foot.
- While in the shower or bath (the skin is softer), gently remove the excess dead skin with a file or pumice stone.
- Improvement should occur within a few days.
Please note home care should be avoided or precautions should be taken with diabetes, poor blood supply or if you have a weakened immune system.If the cracks remain or your feet start to get worse- it is time to see a podiatrist!
What does a podiatry treatment for cracked heels involve?
- Safe removal (debridement) of the hard skin with specialised and sterilised podiatry instruments.
- For large heel cracks we may be able to dress or tape these areas to help adhere them back together and provide long term management advice.
- For elderly people who have heel cracks, podiatry attention is crucial to help prevent ulcerations and bed sores.
- Information regarding what sort of creams or emollients will be best for your skin type.
- Advice on how to keep your heels in good and healthy condition.