Cracked heels are often associated with dry calloused skin build up, where the skin has lost its suppleness and elasticity. This can cause the skin to split, become very painful, bleed and become infected if not appropriately treated.
Causes of Cracked Heels:
- Wearing a particular type of footwear that exposes the heels (e.g thongs, sling or open backed sandals, or bare feet).
- Prolonged standing.
- Deficiency of vitamins, minerals and zinc.
- Continual exposure to water, as it strips the skin of its natural oils.
- Anhidrosis (dry skin) as a result of diabetes or other medical condition (i.e Psoriasis, thyroid dysfunction, tinea).
Symptoms of Cracked Heels:
- Itching due to excessively dry skin.
- Red flakey or peeling skin.
- Superficial or full thickness cracks or splits.
- Bleeding and discharge from full thickness cracks.
- Pain on weight bearing.
- Infection from exposed full thickness cracks.
Treatment for Cracked Heels:
- Debridement of callouses and cracks by a podiatrist.
- Appropriate footwear should be worn. Avoid the prolonged use of thongs or bare feet, and wear sandals with enclosed heels where possible.
- Use of pumice stone or foot file daily.
- Emollient therapy.
- Wear stockings or socks when possible.
- Adequate water intake and essential fatty acids within your diet (e.g. Omega 3 fatty acids) may assist in preventing dryness and cracking by helping to keep the skin hydrated.
Well Heeled Podiatry can remove all the hard skin and heel cracks, using safe and sterile instruments to return them to their original supple state. They will provide you with some handy tips on how to prevent cracked heels and help you keep your feet smooth and feeling great.