Cracked Heels and Dry Skin
Cracked heels develop when the skin around your heels splits apart. A mixture of dryness and pressure lead to cracked heels. If left untreated, these tears can grow into deeper cracks.
What causes cracked heels and dry skin?
Cracked heels develop when the skin around your heel splits apart. A mixture of dryness and pressure lead to cracked heels. If left untreated, these tears can grow into deeper cracks.
Who gets a cracked heel and why?
Anybody can suffer from cracked heels. Dry thickened skin around the rim of the heel is the very first step towards cracking. Increased pressure on the fat pad under the heel causes it to expand sideways, leading to splitting or cracking of the callus. Some factors that contribute to cracking or splitting include:
Excessive weight or obesity
Prolonged standing, especially on hard floors
Open-back shoes and sandals, as they provide no support to hold the fat pad under the foot
What are the signs of symptoms of cracked heel?
The first sign of getting cracked heel is the development of dry, hard, thickened skin around the rim of the heel. This is called a callus and may be a yellow or dark brown discoloured area of skin. Initially, small cracks over the callus are visible. If left untreated and as more pressure is placed on the heel, these cracks become deeper and eventually walking and standing will be painful. The cracks may be so deep that they begin to bleed.
In severe cases, cracked heels can become infected, and lead to cellulitis. This must be treated with the elevation of the area, debridement of dead tissue, and antibiotics.
Cracked heels are of particular concern for diabetic patients, who may suffer neuropathic damage (loss of feeling, particularly of the feet), as the fissures may lead to diabetic foot ulcers.
What are the treatments?
The best form of treatment for cracked heels is to prevent cracks from occurring in the first place. This can be achieved with regular maintenance visits to your podiatrist as well as simply rubbing the feet with a moisturising cream on a regular basis to keep the skin supple and hydrated.
For severely cracked heels or if no improvement is seen after a week of self-treatment, a visit to a podiatrist may be required. Treatments may involve the following.
Debridement – cutting away hard thick skin (this should not be attempted at home using scissors or razor blade as there is a risk of removing too much skin and infection occurring)
Strapping – bandage/dressings around the heel to reduce skin movement
Insoles, heel pad or heel cups to redistribute the weight of the heel and provide better support (prevent the fat pad from expanding sideways)
Call us today on 01279 438444 to find out more about cracked heels and dry skin or to book an appointment at our well established, friendly Chiropody & Podiatry clinic located in Old Harlow. We are well located and are happy to see patients from any area including Sawbridgeworth, Bishop's Stortford, Epping, Roydon, Nazeing, Broxbourne, North Weald, Loughton, Ongar, Stanstead and beyond.