This is a very common foot problem that is most often a minor annoyance, but it can worsen and become extremely painful and debilitating. The cracks can get deeper and turn into fissures making it painful and difficult to walk and even stand. The fissures can also lead to bleeding and possible infection. Cracked heels are formed by large calluses and are often a result of having very dry skin, but other factors can contribute to their formation.
The Causes of Cracked Heels
Some of the causes of cracked heels include the following:
- Genetic predisposition
- Standing on hard surfaces
- Carrying extra weight that can cause your heel to split
- Underactive thyroid
- Estrogen imbalance
- Peripheral neuropathy contributes to drying of the skin
- Psoriasis and eczema
- Wearing shoes with an open back
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Circulation issues
Easy things you can do at home to treat your cracked heels include using an oil based moisturizer twice a day, and trying to decrease the thickness of the skin in the heel area using a pumice stone or skin file. Keeping hydrated by drinking enough liquids will help keep your skin supple, and fortifying your diet with omega 3 fatty acids also helps.
Treatments for Cracked Heels
Some treatments include the following:
- Cause determination—Determining the underlying cause of the cracking in order to provide proper treatment.
- Skin removal—Removing the hard skin carefully to avoid bleeding. This is best left to the expertise of your foot doctor.
- Crack consolidation—Strapping the cracks together will help them heal faster.
- Orthotic inserts—Such as a heel cup can be very effective at preventing the heel from expanding sideways and splitting open
If home care options for your cracked heels are not providing the relief you need, contact a podiatrist to do a complete exam and to provide recommendations for proper treatment. Dr. Scott Nelson of Foot and Ankle Medical Clinic in Garland, TX, is a board-certified and highly experienced podiatrist who has helped people suffering from all types of foot and ankle injuries and deformities. From bunions, to diabetic foot problems, sports injuries and fungal nails, you can trust that Dr. Nelson and his staff are wholeheartedly devoted to your foot health. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment by calling 972-414-9800.