With the start of Summer here, we are getting into our sandals and flipflops, now is the time where many of us are embarrassed about our feet. Here at The Foot and Leg Clinic there is no judgement, we seek to make all of our patients feel at ease and leave feeling great.
Heel fissures, or cracked heels, are a common problem. They tend to be caused by dry skin and may be become more troublesome when the skin around the heels has thick callous.
Many people do not notice they have cracked heels until they become painful and may also bleed. If these cracks are not cared for properly, the wounds may become infected which can lead to more significant and ongoing problems.
There are a number of over-the-counter remedies, but If self-treatment isn’t helping, you may want to see a podiatrist. Podiatrists can safely remove any thick and hardened skin, which will help existing cracks to heal and allow any moisturiser to be absorbed more easily.
Thickened dry skin or callus around the heel is more likely to crack when certain mechanical factors come into play, for example the way you walk.
Other factors that can be involved in the cause of cracked heels include:
- Prolonged standing
- Being overweight
- Wearing backless shoes
- Walking barefoot
- Certain medical conditions which predispose to dry skin such as hormonal imbalance, neuropathy, hypothyroidism etc.
- Skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema
- Athletes Foot
- Excessive washing and scrubbing of the feet
- Lack of drinking water
- Soap and detergents
Why see a podiatrist?
- The will perform manual debridement of thickened skin and buff away any dry skin.
- Assess if the skin is infected, properly dress wound.
- Give advice about self-care options
- Apply padding and strapping or skin adhesive to help bring cracks together while they heal.
- Assess your current footwear and/or orthotics and provide necessary adjustments.